Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tool Time

On one of my recent walks around the area around my house, I walked by a very intriguing sign. It was for the local Airgas dealer, and it proudly proclaimed that they were selling "Radnor Plasma Cutters." Now I don't know about you, but as a guy, whatever that is, it sounds really dang cool.

I always thought of plasma as either something in your blood, or something on a science fiction TV show. One of those words that the science guy on a spaceship would throw in to add some authenticity... "Sir, the plasma inducer has stopped inducing, we are going to have to reverse fire the Gimmelstob engines or the ship will blow up." You know that kind of thing.

I never thought the common man could own something that apparently uses plasma as fuel. So like all American's with a healthy curiosity and an internet connection, I then spent two hours researching something that I would never, ever purchase or probably even use. Here is the concise entry from Wikipedia:

"Plasma cutting is a process that is used to cut steel and other metals (or sometimes other materials) using a plasma torch. In this process, an inert gas (in some units, compressed air) is blown at high speed out of a nozzle; at the same time an electrical arc is formed through that gas from the nozzle to the surface being cut, turning some of that gas to plasma. The plasma is sufficiently hot to melt the metal being cut and moves sufficiently fast to blow molten metal away from the cut. Plasma can also be used for plasma arc welding and other applications."

How cool is that. I think I might throw it on my Christmas list..why you might ask. I have no idea. Happy plasma cutting...

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