If you own a plasma cutter there are a variety of accessories that can help you make cleaner and more precise cuts on your projects. If you find yourself making a lot of straight cuts on sheet metal then having a magnetic straight edge can prove to be an awesome investment. They can be used in variety of applications in your shop, but they are especially useful for acting as a guide for the torch of your plasma cutter when cutting straight lines on sheet metal. There are a couple of different options when it comes to using a straight edge as a plasma guide and we are going to look at those today.
Who Makes The Best Magnetic Straight Edge For Plasma Cutting?
Hypertherm has a set of magnetic blocks that we find work the best and are most adaptable to a variety of projects. With these blocks you can cut a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of steel in minutes. They really do work well. The idea with the blocks is that you insert a piece of 1/8″ flat bar steel into the blocks to create whatever length straight edge you need. You can then use the flat bar as a straight edge while it’s been securely held to the metal with strong magnets. What’s great is the blocks are fully adjustable and with a few pieces of inexpensive flat bar you can have a straight edge from 1 foot all the way up to 4 feet within a few seconds. Personally I keep four pieces of flat bar in 1 foot, 2 foot, 3 foot and 4 foot lengths. I find that when using lengths of flat bar longer then 4 feet I use 3-4 magnetic blocks to secure it to the metal. This means you will need two sets of magnetic blocks. I keep these blocks on my cart at all times and find myself using them all the time.
Hypertherm Torch Guide Blocks
One of the best magnetic blocks I have used. Easily adjustable to accept multiple different lengths of 1/8″ flat bar. They include a tool to tighten the hex bolts onto the flat bar so it does not slip. Very easy to adjust their position with on-off magnets. If using with pieces of flat bar longer then 4 feet we recommend using two sets of blocks.
Standoff Guides For Plasma Cutter Torches
If you’re using a straight edge its also worth purchasing a stand off guide for the tip of your torch. This allows you to easily rest the tip of the torch on the metal and follow your straight edge without damaging your consumables by directly touching the metal. These torch guides are fairly universal and can be found in generic brands as well as specific models that fit your exact machine.
Miller Standoff Guide
Inexpensive and easy to adjust to fit your machine. I find that even though this is made specially for a miller machine I can easily adjust it to my other machines without a problem. Helps save consumables and is easier on your back when leaning over to cut.
If you have never used a plasma cutter before be sure to read our comprehensive beginner’s plasma cutting guide. This will help walk you through the entire process of getting your machine hooked up correctly and making cuts safely.
If you are looking for help finding a new machine be sure to check out our list of the best plasma cutters that we recommend. If you need a plasma cutter with a built in air compressor you can view the machines that we recommend here.