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What is the Best Process for Removing Dross? 5 Tips for Removing Plasma Dross

Plasma Dross

Dross is the nemesis of plasma cutting system operators everywhere. It ranges from a mild inconvenience to a downright pain in the you know what. Here are some tips for effective dross mitigation.

What is Dross?

/drôs,dräs/

noun

  1. Something regarded as worthless; rubbish.
  2. Foreign matter, dregs, or mineral waste, in particular scum formed on the surface of molten metal.

Both of these definitions seem very appropriate with regard to plasma cutting.

What’s better than easily removing dross? Avoiding it altogether. Our first three tips may help you do just that.

best process for removing dross

Best Process For Removing Dross

1. Use an anti-spatter spray, such as Clean Strike.

Anti-spatter spray is inexpensive, fast, and easy to apply and some formulas are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. This will help inhibit dross from adhering to the plate and make it far easier to remove. Anti-spatter spray can also be applied to torches, table slats, and anywhere else you want to keep clean.

2. Adjust your cut speed.

Cutting too fast or too slow will cause the plasma arc to stretch and can result in dross that is both greater in volume and more difficult to remove. A few inches per minute (IPM) up or down can have a big impact here. Don’t be afraid to make an adjustment to dial in your program and find the sweet spot.

3. Pay attention to your consumables.

The nozzle in particular has a big effect on the shape of your arc. A worn or damaged nozzle can cause the plasma arc to become erratic and lead to lower quality cuts and increased amounts of dross. Nozzles should be replaced when the orifice becomes damaged or out of round.

4. Let it cool.

Dross typically cools quickly and is easier to remove once it does. You also don’t want to be sending hot chips of metal flying around your shop and potentially igniting fuel sources. Letting it cool will also help you remove only the dross without damaging the plate if you are using power tools such as a grinder.

5. Select the right tool.

Here are some commonly used options:

  • Putty knife – Cheap, handy, pocket-sized.
  • Chisel – Stronger than a chisel. Low-tech, but powerful.
  • Hammer – Effective, economical, and unlikely to damage the cut part.
  • Needle scaler – Like a chisel on steroids. Highly effective for light dross on large parts. Won’t remove material.
  • Slag grinder (Time-saver) – Expensive, but worth it. Produces a perfect surface finish.
  • Angle grinder with a flap disc – Highly effective and fast.
  • Angle grinder with hard disc – For more aggressive dross removal. Be careful not to gouge the cut part.
  • Angle grinder with a wire brush – Works well for light dross. Wear long sleeves.
  • Oscillating multi-tool – Good for very light dross.
  • Pneumatic die grinder – When equipped with some abrasive discs, this can be a handy, fast option.

Work smarter, not harder. If you find that the dross on your parts is very difficult to remove, you should consider what is causing it and if you are using the most appropriate tool to remove it.

30 seconds with a flap disc vs. 30 minutes of banging away with a hammer can save a lot of time, energy, and money.

 

Want to mitigate dross and have cleaner cuts? Visit our website or call 800-342-8477 to learn more about our efficient plasma cutting technology.

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