Four Cutting Techniques for Your Steel Construction Supplies

Steel is a valuable building material in the construction industry. This metal has high strength and a prolonged lifespan which means that it can be used in load-bearing and other structural applications. Moreover, the material can be modified using metal working methods and decorative coatings. Regardless of your potential application, you will need to have the steel cut into appropriate and useable units. It is important to choose the right method because this will determine project costs and even the quality of the steel. Here are the most beneficial cutting techniques to consider for your steel.

Laser Cutting

The laser is essentially a concentrated beam of light which is emitted at high temperature. This beam can be used to cut steel plates of diverse thickness with high precision. Generally, the laser is controlled with a computer program, so the accuracy of the cuts is extremely high. Unlike mechanical cutting techniques, laser creates clean cuts, so there are no waste materials. In addition, the technique can be used for creating decorative shapes for structures such as facades.

Water Jet Cutting

The water jet cutting technique is highly advantageous if you want clean and accurate metal cuts. In fact, this method is more precise and visually appealing compared to the laser alternative because there is no heat distortion or damage. As implied, the cutting process uses a stream of water which is released at high pressure from special equipment. The flexibility of the water stream allows diverse cutting actions to be performed. The main disadvantage of this method is the high cost associated with the operation.

Flame Cutting

If you are dealing with thick steel plates or bars, you should consider choosing the flame cutting technique. This method uses an oxy-fuel torch to produce a hot flame which can make cuts on the metal. When this equipment is properly set up and adjusted, it can make considerably smooth edges. However, there is usually slag remaining after the task is complete. You can use plasma cut steel directly in structural applications. If you need decorative materials, you will have to invest in finishing services or machinery.

Plasma Cutting

The plasma cutting technique is similar to the oxy-fuel alternative, but this uses an accelerated jet of plasma instead of a flame to cut the metal. This option is more favourable because the speed of cutting is considerably faster. The edge quality is not great, but the plasma arc is relatively accurate. Unfortunately, the cost of plasma cutting services or even purchasing the equipment is high.