Inconsistent cuts

I have been attempting to cut out some of the Tree fo Life patterns from the file share site. I am unfortunately getting inconsistent cuts at random places (Not consistently the same place). I have tried keeping the panel flat, I am using a Hypertherm 45 xp with the fine tip. Settings are 45 amps, no offsett, 200 imp, and trying to set the torch height with the thinner guide. I know the panel is not entirely flat. When running, the area with the inconsistent cuts have increased dross and there is a lot more sparks coming back off the table (I assume because of the incomplete torch penetration). Any suggestions before I waste more metal?

Thanks in advance

What thickness metal is that?

Sorry, 14 gauge thickness

Im not a hypertherm owner. but 200 ipm sounds kinda fast. I cut 14 and 16 g at 30 amps and 100 ipm. Even if it will cut that fast you have a very small amount of time to grab any peices that tip up before the torch tip hits them. Have you tried ground directly on the sheet of metal?

I have not. tried the direct grounding. Good idea. The reading I have been doing would also suggest I am cutting at way too fast a speed. Thanks for the help/advice.

Your welcome and the best of luck!

Your settings are correct for that gage and consumables.I have been using unshielded fine cut and this happens after the nozzle has dragged on the metal and ruined the consumables.I run my height somewhere between the two shims to allow for warping.I would ground to the work like other have said and drain your air tank just to be sure.

Thanks for the input Heath. I have ruined a few tips from them dragging on the metal. Unfortunately I picked up some non-hypertherm tips on Amazon (thought I was being Hypertherm). wonder if that is part of my problem? New, Hypertherm tips on the way.

Thanks again.