What is the difference between a clean and severance cut?

What is the difference between a clean and severance cut?

How will it affect your work and how do you go about achieving the desired finish?
Take a look at a quick definition of both below, and how to go about avoiding one or the other!

Clean cut

Simple explanation. Clean cut leaves a nice finish  when cutting at a reasonable speed.

A Clean Cut is where the machine will cut all the way through the material and the cut parts will fall away from each other leaving only minimal dross on the bottom edge which can easily be pulled off using pliers etc.

The cutting marks will start off straight and then give a slope of a small angle towards the bottom of the cut. The metal should require no extra working before being welded together etc.

plasma arc cutting

Severance cut

Simple explanation: Severance cut means you get the metal in 2 pieces with ragged dross filled cut line.

A Severance Cut is where the user is using the machine close to its maximum cutting thickness capability. The cutting speed will be much slower compared to a clean cut and the metal will require some cleaning up towards the bottom edge.

So when you are choosing your machine, consider the thickest material you will regularly cut where you need a clean cut then can you afford the next model up?

After all you want minimal prep before welding so don’t skimp on the plasma cutter just for a few hundred quid as you will spend this in time and effort cleaning up.

ProArc Master CNC Plasma Cutting System

Plasma cutters are an amazing tool to have in any metal working environment, they are easy to use and models range massively to suit the home hobby user to the industrial shipyards.

Plasma cutting can be cheaper than oxy-fuel cutting and certainly a lot less messier and you can get rid of the costly gas bottles.
So if plasma cutting can handle your maximum cutting thickness, it will be worth the investment.

However if you are cutting thicker materials on a regular basis, gas cutting often provides a straighter cut, something to bear in mind if this is a requirement and slower speeds can be accepted.

If you want to learn more about the plasma and gas cutting processes, click here to check out TWI’s website for in depth information.

Contact us for all your plasma cutting equipment and consumables.

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3 Responses to What is the difference between a clean and severance cut?


  1. comment
  2. Maidul Islam says:

    Thanks for the informative post. I need to know a question regarding this topic.
    What should be the speed to cut 1/8″ stainless steel for clean cut?

    • comment
    • Westermans says:

      Hello Maidul,
      You are always best to refer to the operational manual of the equipment you are using, due to the variables in supply, consumables etc.
      This information should be supplied in the manual as standard.
      Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. comment
  4. Hi Team ,

    we must say that it’s an Impressive post with great content.

    Thank you for sharing this.

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