A cutting machine includes a gun barrel for receiving a projectile. A compression tube is disposed in flow communication with the barrel and includes a piston therein. A reservoir is disposed in flow communication with the tube and receives a first gas under pressure. A second gas fills the compression tube on a front face of the piston. And, the pressurized first gas is discharged into the tube on a back face of the piston to accelerate the piston through the tube for compressing the second gas, and in turn launching the projectile through the barrel to impact a workpiece.