Below is a list of the most common questions our customers ask but if you need an answer to something different, then please feel free to contact us


How much does it cost to run?

There are many variables which can affect running costs, including type and thickness of material being cut, so its difficult to put an exact hourly cost down. It is widely recognised though if you take into consideration power, compressed air, consumables and routine maintenance, CNC plasma operating costs are lower than laser cutting and much lower than waterjet.

What power is required?

The table (inc. console) requires a single phase 110- 230v (6A-4A) supply. The Hypertherm Powermax 45XP requires either a 230v or 415v (32A) supply. The Hypertherm Powermax 65, 85 and 105 requires a 415v (32A) supply. The Hypertherm Powermax 125 requires a 415v (64A) supply. The Hypertherm MaxPro 200 requires a 415v (100A) supply.

Do I need a compressor?

An air compressor is an essential component of the CNC plasma cutting system. Air plays a crucial part in ensuring the best quality cut and the reliability of the machine and plasma power source. It needs to be dry and free of any contaminants like oil. The amount of cutting you intend to do will determine what compressor is best for your needs. As a minimum we would always recommend you install a 3 stage air filtration unit close to the cutting table to filter the air before it enters the plasma power source and table hardware. We can both advise and supply the best compressed air setup for your business.

Do I need a downdraft table (DD) or water table (WT) to capture the fume?

It all depends on your particular application. Downdraft tables are slightly more expensive to purchase than water tables and require connection to either a filtration unit or extraction fan. The additional equipment adds extra noise, but they are easier to clean and your only option if cutting aluminium or stainless steel most of the time. Water tables are less expensive and quieter, but more difficult to clean and are not recommended for certain materials.

What materials will it cut?

CNC plasma cutting can only be used for materials that are conductive. The three most popular materials are mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium however other metals and alloys such as copper, brass, titanium, hardox, inconel and cast iron can all be cut, albeit you may experience reduced edge quality due to the melting temperature of some of those metals.

How accurate is it?

Our Pro & XP plasma tables are accurate to within +/- 0.4mm (0.005”/ft)

Can I have a demonstration?

Yes, of course! We have dedicated experince centres in many locations around the world. We can also carry out personalised remote demonstrations over Zoom, TeamViewer, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp platforms. You can bring parts or drawings with you to cut out, or we can create something for you which best represent your particular application.

Is training included?

Training is always included as standard with all our Swift-Cut machines. This is on a one-to-one basis and our support engineers will ensure you are comfortable with operating your new Swift-Cut before the session ends. This can be done either remotely, which is free of charge, or on-site*

I’m new to CNC and not that confident on a computer, is it easy to use?

We have designed our software to be extremely user friendly. It is a simple step-by-step process to layout (nest) your drawing or parametric shape, and create your g-code ready for cutting. Our SwiftCNC software has both basic and advanced screen layouts which the user can switch between as their confidence grows.

*Additional charges may apply.

How do I get drawings on the table?

You can bring your DXF/DWG drawings into the SwiftCAM software either from files saved locally or on USB memory drive. Open the folder location where the file is saved and select the filename you want to import. Alternatively you can bring in JPEG images via the same method and then use the advanced image importer function to clean, scale or delete elements of the drawing. Once imported, simply follow the step-by- step process to nest your parts onto your sheet.

Can I use my own plasma power source?

Swift-Cut plasma machines seamlessly integrate with Hypertherm plasma power sources and torches. If you already have a Hypertherm plasma, depending on age, we can advise the necessary parts required (if any) to connect it to one of our machines.

Can it cut box section?

No problem at all. We have lots of customers cutting box section on our plasma machines. The maximum height box section permitted on the machine is 100mm (4”) for the Pro and 150mm (6”) for our XP table

What’s the difference between pierce capacity and edge start capacity?

When we talk about CNC plasma power source capacity, we quote pierce capacities. This is the maximum thickness of material the plasma can pierce if it was to start within the sheet.

Pierce Start
The pierce needs to happen quickly to reduce the chance of the molten metal blocking the consumables in the end of the plasma torch and stopping the cut.

Edge Start
It is possible however (although more difficult to setup) to start from the edge of the sheet. Because the risk of blocking the consumables is reduced, the material thickness can increase. Edge starting can also give longer consumable life.

How often do consumables generally last?

Many factors can affect consumable longevity including air quality, material type, and the amount of pierces. If the machine is setup correctly and you’re using clean material, consumables should typically last 1-3 hours. When using the MaxPro 200, consumable technologies such as LongLife, CoolFlow™ and TrueFlow™ significantly increase consumable life to reduce cost per part

Are the consumables easy to buy?

All consumables are readily available direct from Swift- Cut or one of our approved distributors.

How fast will the machine cut?

The Swift-Cut Pro can reach cutting speeds as high as 12m/min (472 ipm) on thin gauge materials, the Swift-Cut XP can typically reach cutting speeds up to 6m/min (236 ipm) in combination with the MaxPro 200 plasma power source

Are there any rules when it comes to cutting holes?

This one’s as much of guide as it is a hard and fast rule! When cutting holes using standard definition plasma, it’s good to follow the 2D rule. This is where, in order to maintain good hole quality and tolerance, you should ensure the smallest hole you want to cut has an approximate diameter twice that of the material thickness. i.e. if you have 5mm plate, you should aim for a hole diameter of around 6mm. All our machines have software which automatically calculates the optimum lead-in, cut height and feed rate to ensure your cut holes look as good as possible

Can I use a hand torch with my Hypertherm plasma power source?

You certainly can. If you wish to use a hand torch with your plasma, simply unplug the machine torch and CNC connections, and plug in the hand torch. You will need to place your material on the cutting bed of the Swift-Cut machine to make use of the earth connection. Alternatively you can plug in a separate earth lead if you want to work away from the Swift-Cut. When you’ve finished hand cutting, just reverse the procedure.

Can I use my own CAD program such as AutoCAD™?

You are more than welcome to use any CAD package you feel comfortable with. As long as you can save the files in a DXF/DWG format, you can open them in the SwiftCAM software without any problems.


How much does it cost to run?

Although traditionally waterjets are expensive to buy and run, the Swift-Jet Pro was designed from the start to break this trend. Based on the hugely successful Pro plasma table design, specific upgrades to the drive and gantry system have meant the base design remains incredible value for money. On top of this, our direct drive high pressure pump is 30% more efficient than intensifier setups and has much longer service intervals (up to 2000 hours). Average running cost including abrasive, water, power, and consumables are much lower compared to other waterjet systems.

Does waterjet cutting create a lot of mess?

Waterjet is known for making a mess however we have designed our tank with higher sides, and the adjustable water level reduces spray by a considerable amount keeping the machine and surrounding workplace cleaner for longer.

Is waterjet cutting noisy?

Water and garnet cutting materials at over 3000 bar (43000 psi) are always going to create a reasonable level of noise. However, with our adjustable water level system, cutting under water dramatically reduces noise by up to 25%. Combine that with our low RPM direct drive pump means its quieter than other waterjet solutions.

Is it complicated to run?

Swift-Cut are renowned for making feature rich, yet easy to use cutting tables, and our new Swift-Jet Pro is no exception. From the feedback we have received on the first tables to go out, customers could not believe how user friendly and simple the machine was to operate.

And as always, you have our skilled team of technical support engineers on hand for any questions or queries you might have.

Realistically what tolerances can I achieve?

Some materials cut cleaner than others and thinner less dense materials will generally have a higher cutting tolerance than thicker dense materials. The linear positional accuracy of the table is 0.2mm/m (0.002″/ft) of travel and the repeatability is 0.4mm/m (0.004″/ft) of travel. If you have a particular part in mind, please get in touch and we will carry out a test cut for you.

Can I cut literally any material?

The Swift-Jet Pro is designed to cut a wide variety of materials. From expanded foam for packaging materials, to granite slabs for kitchen worktops, our machine can do them all. The only materials you cannot cut are tempered glass, diamond, certain ceramics and brittle plastics.

Is the garnet easy to buy? And where from?

Garnet is readily available, and we have a special deal with GMA who are the trusted global leader in industrial garnet, and when you place your first order with them you will receive a ton of garnet free of charge.

How high does the nozzle need to be off the material?

As a general rule, the nozzle should stand approximately 2mm off the material being cut. If it’s too close then the nozzle risks getting blocked. If it’s too far away, then the jet will widen along with the kerf, and the part accuracy can be affected.

What happens if I run out of garnet during a cut?

The Swift-Jet Pro is designed to stop cutting in the event it runs out of garnet. Should this happen, simply refill the hopper and begin cutting from exactly where it stopped. No fuss and no material wasted.

What happens if there is an interruption to my water supply during a cut?

In the event the Swift-Jet Pro detects a drop in water pressure, it will automatically stop cutting and present the operator with an error message on the pump screen. Simply locate the problem, re-start the water supply, and then use the built-in software cut recovery feature to begin cutting from exactly where it stopped.

What happens to the garnet abrasive in the tank?

All the used abrasive will enter the tank and settle to the bottom until it is removed. This can be done by using an abrasive removal system (aftermarket options available) or manually removing it out. Waste abrasive can be disposed of either into waste drums or directly into bins. The garnet itself is not considered hazardous if none of the material you have been cutting with your waterjet is considered hazardous. It can even be recycled. We recommend the tank is emptied after every two tons of garnet used.

Where do I need to store my garnet before use?

The garnet must be kept dry and away from sources of moisture. This includes buildings susceptible to damp and condensation such as non-insulated steel- clad buildings, as well as cold, damp floors. Garnet is normally delivered on a pallet and it is recommended to keep it on there until it is used.

How fast is waterjet?

Like all cutting processes, speed is determined by the type and thickness of material being cut, the power of the machine, and the quality of cut required. Our Swift-Jet Pro table can cut at speeds up to 10m/min (390ipm) for soft materials like foam however 25mm (1″)thick granite will cut at 20mm/min.(¾″/min)

Can I get sharp internal corners?

The new Swift-Jet Pro incorporates IGEMS CAD/CAM software. As the industry standard for waterjet cutting, this software automatically adjusts cutting speeds and parameters for internal and external cornering as well as considering kerf compensation, pressure, abrasive flow and cutting head consumables. Together with the Swift-Cut’s smooth and powerful drive system, internal corners will remain as sharp as the rest.

Can I setup the Swift-Jet Pro myself?

Yes, all our tables are designed to be installed by the end user with the remote assistance of one of our technical support team. Alternatively, you can request for one of our skilled support team or authorised installers to come on site and install it for you.

What power is required?

The table (inc. console) requires a single phase 110- 230v (6A-4A) supply and the pump requires a three phase 380v-480v (40A-30A) @ 50/60hz.

What are my options?

We have designed the Swift-Jet Pro to come with a fantastic specification as standard. This means no hidden surprises and just a few simple options to choose. These are water only or water and abrasive cutting. And IGEMS software upgrade modules inc;

Nest Level 1 – Semi automatic nesting
Nest Level 2 – Fully automatic nesting
CAM Tools – Geometry optimisation for damaged drawings
Data Exchange – For importing even more file types including NC
SignMaker – Use fonts and images in your drawings
Tilemaker – Designed for the stone industry for cutting inlays and tiles

Do I need any specialist lifting equipment?

Yes, a forklift capable of lifting 3 ton is required, along with lifting chains or straps rated at 1 ton or more.

Do I get any consumables with it?

Yes, you will receive two sets of consumables with your table. If you specify water only cutting you will receive two ruby orifices. If you specify water and abrasive cutting you will also receive two mixing tubes and two additional ruby orifices.

How often do consumables generally last?

There are no guarantees on how long consumables will last however we typically expect between 15-20 hours per ruby orifice and 30-40 hours per mixing tubes. This is based on your water quality matching the required standard.

Does the water recirculate?

The water entering the table through the cutting head does not recirculate and instead flows down the overflow pipe built into the table. This pipe will need to be plumbed into a drainage system (providing you are not cutting hazardous material). If you are cutting hazardous material you will need filtration.

Can I reuse the garnet?

Technically yes, garnet can be reused. Swift-Cut do not offer a product or service to do this but there are companies out there who can help you with this.
It is worth mentioning that garnet reuse should be approached with caution. When new, garnet is chosen for its exact properties, edge sharpness and particle size. Once it’s been used, the quality and size changes which could slow down cutting speeds, cause damage to the workpiece and/or irregular abrasive flow.

What is a Swift-Cut plasma cutting machine?

Our Swift-Cut CNC plasma cutting machines allow users to cut a range of metals, including steel, to any shape with a very high degree of accuracy and with a smooth edge.  Our range of plasma cutting machines are designed to suit metal fabricators of all types, including artists, structural engineers, blacksmiths, educators, and more.

Are there any special electrical requirements?

Our Swift-Cut console runs on 230 volts and needs only a single-phase power supply. Our smaller Hypertherm Powermax45 XP can also run on a 230 volts supply however it will require 32 amps. To power a machine with a Hypertherm Powermax65, 85, 105, 125 you will need a 3-phase 32 amp supply and to run a Hypertherm MAXPRO 200 you will need a 3-phase 64A power supply.

Do I need a powerful computer?

All our other machines come with a dedicated operators console that hosts a pre-programmed PC to use with the machine.

What is DCC?

DCC (Dynamic Cut Control) gives you ultimate control over your plasma machine and cut path, allowing you to fine tune any part of the cut profile. Here at Swift-Cut, we’re proud to offer this unique feature on our plasma cutting range, giving you the best cut possible every time you use one of our machines.

What is DTHC?

DTHC (Digital Torch Height Control) maintains an even cut across the material you’re cutting, even if you’re cutting a warped of uneven piece of metal. Each of our machines is equipped with the very latest DTHC technology to give you the best cut possible, every time.

What is CAD and CAM?

Our Swift-Cut plasma cutting machines come with a console PC fully equipped with CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. This software allows you to create and upload digital images and will convert them into machine code, this is called CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), so they can then be processed and produced by the plasma cutting machine.

What is G-Code?

G-Code is the language used to tell the cutting head where to go and where to cut.

How fast will the machine cut steel?

Our Swift-Cut machines can cut at a maximum speed of 12.7 metres per minute but please keep in mind that the cutting speed depends on the thickness of steel as well as which plasma power source is being used.

What thickness of material will it cut?

Our plasma machines cut to a maximum metal thickness of 30mm. Our water-jet machines cut up to 150mm thickness depending on material. It’s not the machine model that mandates the thickness of the metal being cut but rather the power of the plasma/water pump unit being used. For more information, please refer to our brochures and documentation. We’re more than happy to guide you toward choosing the right power source unit for your cutting needs.

Can I cut small holes in a steel plate?

Our machines follow the 2D Rule. As such, when cutting a plate that is 2mm thick, the smallest hole that it can cut is 4mm in diameter.

What is the average cutting speed on a Swift-Cut CNC Plasma Cutting machine?

The cutting speed will vary between 28” per minute to 200” per minute depending on the material being cut and the material’s thickness. Please refer to the handbook or contact us for more information.

What exactly is plasma and how does it work to cut metal?

Coming after solid, liquid, and gas, plasma is the 4th state of matter. When you heat gas enough, the atoms split, separating the electrons form the nucleus. Once the heat releases the electrons, they begin to move quickly. These electrons are negatively charged and, as they move, they leave behind a positively charged nuclei known as an ion. When these ions and electrons collide, they release energy– lots of it!– and it is this energy that gives plasma its great cutting power.

Plasma cutters operate by sending pressurised gas, such as nitrogen, argon or oxygen, through a small channel with a negatively charged electrode in the center of it. When power is applied to this negative electrode and the nozzle touches the metal, a circuit is created and a spark is generated between the electrode and the metal. This spark heats the inert gas to the point that it turns into plasma and it releases a direct stream. This plasma stream is approximately 16,649˚ C and moves at a speed of 20,000 feet per second. When it comes in contact with metal, the plasma reduces it to molten slag.

As long as power is supplied to the electrode and the plasma stays in contact with the metal, this plasma arc will be continuous. To maintain this connection, the nozzle releases a constant flow of shielding gas around the cutting area and the radius of the plasma beam will be dependent on the pressure of this gas shield.

Can I use my own hand torch with the machine?

Our machines are designed to be used with a dedicated machine torch. We do not recommend using hand torches or any other torches on our machines.

What are the benefits of water table extraction?

Water table extraction is a cost-effective way of minimising harmful sparks and fumes that come as a result of cutting certain types of metals. Water table machines are easy to care for, quiet, and less expensive than downdraft machines. Available on the following machine sizes: Pro Series 1250, 2500, 3000 and XP 3000, water machines are a great option for many of our customers.

Can I use my own CAD program such as AutoCAD?

Yes. The CAD software used on our machines reads .DXF files. Whether you’re creating an image in Corel Draw, AutoCAD or Adobe Illustrator, if file is saved as a .DXF, it is compatible with our software.

Can I see a demo?

Absolutely. Please contact us directly to schedule a demonstration. If you send us a drawing of a part you would like to make as a .DXF file we’ll cut it out for you to show you how easy it is.

How long do the consumable tips last on the Hypertherm machine?

The lifespan of your consumables will be determined by how often the machine is used, what materials it’s cutting, and which Hypertherm Powermax unit is being used. It’s important to us that our customers get the absolute most out of their machines, so we designed our machines with DTHC (Digital Torch Height Control) to maximise the lifespan of consumables. Dry air is also a very important in maximising the lifespan of the consumables, so please make sure your machine is kept in a dry environment. For more information, please refer to our handbooks.

Do I need to wear safety glasses?

Safety is always a priority and when it comes to cutting with plasma, eye protection is very important. When using 45 amps, you will need to wear a minimum of grade 6 shielding to protect your eyes from the plasma arc. If you’re cutting in a large workshop or classroom, you may want to take a look at our enclosures for additional protection.

What environment should the machine be kept in?

The console must always be kept dry, but the machine can safely be used in damp conditions. However, we strongly advise that you keep your machine in a dry environment as dampness will impact the lifespan of the consumables.

Delivery lead time?

We ask our customers to allow for four weeks from the time of order to delivery and install but please call for specific requirements. We will provide you with a more exact delivery time you place your order.