Flame Cutting vs Plasma Cutting

While plasma cutting has become more popular recently due to its precision and cut quality, there are still applications that gas cutting makes sense.  Flame cutting is still widely used when a higher degree of portability and maneuverability is needed.  This is great and useful when it comes to thicker metals that need cutting.  Learn more on the use of plasma cutting and flame cutting and when they are applied below.  

What is Flame Cutting?

When flame cutting is taking place oxygen and fuel gas are utilized to preheat the metal to the ignition temperature.  The process uses a high powered oxygen jet that gets directed at the metal, creating a chemical reaction between the metal which forms iron oxide.  This is also known as slag which the jet assists in removing from the kerf.  When using flame cutting cut quality, metal thickness, and preheating time are all influenced by the type of gas that you use.  There are four common gasses that are used: acetylene, propane, propylene and natural gas.

What Is Flame Cutting Used For?

The main reason that flame cutting is used is when a metal is too thick to be cut by plasma or other methods.  Flame cutting is very useful when it comes to cutting iron type metals.  Many oxy-fuel cutting systems also play a role when it comes to welding, braising, and soldering.  

Main Benefit of Flame Cutting

The main benefit that you will notice when electing to go with flame cutting is the upfront cost.  This is something to keep in mind when deciding between flame cutting and plasma cutting.  Flame cutting will also give you an edge when having to transport said metal after the cut.  A major asset that we have already mentioned is the ability to precisely cut through thick metals quickly.  

What is Plasma Cutting?

At a basic level plasma cutting uses a high velocity jet of ionized gas.  When the high velocity gas and plasma work together it creates electricity in the torch of the plasma cutter.  This results in the metal being heated and melting away the material.  While the melting is taking place the ionized gas plays a role in blowing away the melted metal.  

What Is Plasma Cutting Used For?

Plasma cutting is versatile and can be conducted on any type of conductive metal.  That includes mild steel, aluminum, and even stainless steel.  Plasma cutting is ideal to cut steel and non-ferrous material that is less than an inch thick.  One case that plasma cutting really shines its glory is cutting expanded metals.  Flame cutting would never be able to cut through expanded metal properly.  Plasma cutting is typically great at cutting fast and making non-linear cuts.  

Main Benefit of Plasma Cutting

The main benefit of plasma cutting is the ease of use for it.  In results it turns out to be a great high quality cut with less risk of user error.  The whole cutting process is quick too from start to finish.  The great part is that it does not rely on oxidation to set in letting it be able to cut aluminum, stainless steel and the other conductive metals.  It is ideal for maintenance work or projects that require large cutting volumes.  

Contact Markham Metals

If you are still not sure what cutting method is best for you and your project, reach out to Markham Metals.  Our expert team has years of experience with both cutting methods and are happy to answer any questions! To get started give us a call at 978-658-1121 or by filling out one of our contact forms!

galvanized steel

Sheet Bending Basics

Sheet bending is an effective way to make products with different shapes used for different processes.  It is an operation that includes using pressure and force to change the shape of a sheet.  Normally done to achieve the desired shape or form that is necessary for the manufacturing process.  When the external force is applied it alters only the external features of the material.  While being conducted this does not change the parameters of the length or thickness of the sheet.  With the sheet having malleability it allows for sheet bending to be possible to undergo various shaping processes.  

Applications of Bend Sheet Metal

When it comes down to metal production sheet metal bending is one of the essential processes.  For example, the automotive industry relies on it heavily to produce cars that work with their designs.  Such as making big engine parts or even little replacement parts to the same engine.  While there are many processes when it comes to metal bending they all follow standard techniques to ensure precision across its production.  

Sheet Metal Bending Methods

The end goal for all sheet metal bending is the same.  It is to transform a sheet into a desired shape or form.  However, they do differ in operation as there are factors that go into each bending with different materials. Understanding the factors such as thickness, size of the bend, metal bend radius, and the intended purpose will help you determine the method needed. 


This is the most common method of sheet bending.  When conducting the v-bending method there are two components that allow the sheet to be bent.  The punch and v-die allow you to bend the sheet metal at the desired angle you want.  During the process the punch will press on the metal that is placed over the v-die.  The angle is determined by the pressure point of the punch.  There are three common bends for v-bending, bottoming, coining, and air bending.  

 Roll Bending 

As the name suggest this method is used to bend metals into a roll or curved shapes.  This process utilizes a hydraulic press, a press brake, and three sets of rollers. This method is very useful when looking to make cones, tubes, and hollow shapes.  This is helpful as they take advantage of the distance between rollers to make the desired bends and curves.  


In terms of the principle applied, u-bending is very similar to v-bending.  They utilize the same instruments and processes.  The only difference being the outcome of shape. U-bending has become very popular even though other methods can produce similar shape flexibly.  

Wipe Bending 

Wipe bending is another method that is effective for bending sheets or metal edges.  The process is dependable on the wipe die.  The metal must be properly pushed on to the wipe die for it to work.  The wipe die can determine the inner radius of the metal bend.  

Rotary Bending

This bending method has an upper hand compared to v-bending or wipe bending.  It is more elegant and will treat the metal nicer.  Rotary bending is great for not leaving behind scratches on the sheet.  This method is ideal when looking to bend metals into sharp corners.  Especially anything that needs to be bent beyond 90 degrees.  

Contact Markham Metals

If you are looking for metal bending done professionally to ensure the best outcome for your product Markham Metals is the place to go.  Our team of experts have the experience and skill to carry out each bend with precision to fit your needs.  Get in touch with us by calling us at 978-658-1121 or by filling out a contact form on our website!