Cutting with the arc leaves something to be desired because it does not make a smooth pecision cut. However, it is quick and often the most expedient way to cut bolts, shafts, plates or angles, or to make holes in something quick and effective. The intense heat generated by the arc is more than hot enough to melt most metals. The force of the arc is used to propel the molten metal away. Since cutting with the arc is a burning process it generates more fumes than welding. Work only in a well ventelated area and avoid fumes from galvanized steel, brass, lead, and paint. Also, the sparks produced are thrown a considerable distance; every effort should be made to remove any flammable materials from the area. The sparks can cause you much discomfort if you are not dressed properly for the job. Be sure that you do not wear pants with cuffs "OUCH", AND MAKE SURE THE BOTTOM OF YOUR PANTS ARE COVERING YOUR SHOES OR BOOTS !!!


1. Make cuts with a 1/8 in.(3mm)dia. E6010 or 6011 electrode. Set machine to 140-180 amperes. Larger electrodes can be used if the machine is capable of higher settings.

2. Prepare the metal for cutting by positioning it so that the section to be cut projects beyond the edge of the table. Place a container of sand below the cut to catch the molten metal. In addition, keep the cables well clear of the molten metal.

3. Mark the area to be cut with soapstone or chalk. Strike the arc on the edge of the metal.

4. Hold the long arc until the metal starts to melt. Then shorten the arc to force the molten metal away. Continue this sequence as you cut across the plate.

5. Round stock can be cut in much the same way. Make the cuts work from the side so the molten metal will drop clear of the work. Cut the center then start the second cut from the other side.


It is also possible to burn openings with the arc. Remember, this is not a way to make an exact size hole, but the holes produced are satisfactory for some applications.

1. Holes can be made in plate thinner than 3/8 in.(10mm) by striking the arc and holding it until the metal becomes molten.

2. feed the electrode into the molten pool until the plate is pierced.

3. Larger holes can be made by feeding the electrode into the molten metal in a circular motion, continue this motion until the hole is completed. Do not forget to use a container of sand to catch the molten metal.

4. It is easier to burn holes in metal thicker than 3/8 in.(10mm) if the plate is placed on its side to permit the molten metal to run out and drop clear of the work.


1. Practice making cuts on scrap pieces of steel, including steel, bar, angle, plate and rod. 2. After gaining experience by burning holes in scrap steel, burn 3/8 in.(10mm)dia.holes in 1/8 in.(3mm) steel plate. 3. Burn 1 in.(25mm)dia. holes in 1/4 in.(6mm)steel plate. 4. Lay out and cut a 2 in.(51mm) in 1/4 in.(6mm) steel plate. 5. Prepare a list of safety precautions you should follow before starting to cut with the arc.