Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't

Chapter 5
Heavy Metal » Metal Cutting for the Masses

Metal Cutting for the Masses

Slice through just about anything with a hot enough plasma arc. According to the science fiction (not to mention the Popular Science) of 30 years ago, by now I should have a machine that makes me a delicious dinner at the touch of a button. Hey already, I'm getting hungry! Disappointments aside, what amazes me about such predictions is how many have already come true-though we don't realize it because the things seem so ordinary once they exist. Allknowing mechanical brain? Think Google.

Another fine example of sci-fi lurking in our midst: In any small welding shop, by the dingy tables draped with smudged blueprints and the big guy in the leather jacket, you'll see a little box, dirty from constant use. This is a plasma-arc torch, and it cuts steel using nothing but electricity and air. If you were building a racing pod in a Star Wars movie, you would definitely be using a plasma cutter.

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