Just 20 years ago most heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) ductwork was cut by hand with snips and shears. Cutting out HVAC fittings was slow and labor-intensive. It took an experienced tinsmith with strong hands to slice through galvanized steel all day. It took even more skill to get the cuts and bends just right to coax flat panels of sheet metal into precise 3-D forms.
Today many HVAC shops use plasma cutters—both hand-held torches and CNC mechanized systems—to cut material for fabrication. These fabricators find that for their applications, plasma is a fast, clean, economical way for them to cut light-gauge metal