Waterjet Cutting – What You Need To Know

In the metal fabrication industry, the types of tools used are constantly changing and becoming more advanced. The use of waterjet technology started back in the 1950’s however it wasn’t until later in the 1970’s that abrasives were added to increase it’s power.

Waterjet cutting provides efficiencies in creating complex designs and shapes or manufacturers forms that are ready to use right off the table. It can be used with virtually any material, from paper to steel, and doesn’t require a change in set up or configuration when switching between materials. In comparison to other technologies, waterjet cutting remains one of the top methods of precision cutting.

Waterjet cutting is just one of the many services provided by Tin Knockers Custom and has quickly become a favourite of ours for a number of reasons; versatility, ease of use and simplicity to name a few.

With the help of our friends at Flow, here are some common FAQ when it comes to waterjet cutting.

What is Waterjet cutting?

Waterjet cutting uses a technology to cut materials using a stream of water or a combination of water and an abrasive. This process uses such high-pressures that the water or abrasive combination is propelled out of the waterjet at such a speed that virtually any material can be cut. The stream produced is as small as a strand of human hair and capable of cutting softer materials. Once the abrasive is added, the cutting power is increased 1,000 times and can cut steel over one foot thick.

What materials can the Waterjet be used with?

When the Pure Waterjet is used (i.e. without any abrasive materials), several soft materials can be cut.

  • Foam
  • Gasket
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Cement board
  • Automotive interiors
  • Food and more

Once the abrasive component is added, the Waterjet can now cut harder materials such as:

  • Stone
  • Steel
  • Composite
  • Glass and more

What are some of the benefits of Waterjet cutting?

Not only is waterjet cutting one of the fastest growing technologies in the industry across the world, it’s also one of the most practical due to its versatility and how easy it is to operate.

Pure Waterjet technology makes it possible to produce large volumes of product at once, sometimes from one piece of material, decreasing total production time. Labour time is therefore decreased and there is a reduction in the amount of material waste due to the high level of accuracy.

An Abrasive Waterjet can handle materials from as thin as 1/6 inch to over 10 inches thick. It can cut virtually any material, from various types of metal to composite or glass products. No heat is used in the process and the finished product is left with satin smooth edges. Many other methods are limited by what materials they can cut, their thickness and often require secondary processing.

Waterjet vs. Other Technologies

Waterjet technology isn’t the only one out there. In comparison to some of the other methods such as plasma, laser and EDM, there are advantages to waterjet cutting.

Technologies such as plasma or laser use a process that involves heat and or burning while EDM uses an erosion process by means of an electrical discharge. Both plasma and laser technologies typically require secondary processing whereas both waterjet and EDM usually do not, getting that satin smooth finish right off the table.

Unlike waterjet cutting, plasma, laser and EDM are restricted in the material they can cut and have a smaller thickness range to the materials available. These other machines also require various set ups and configurations for different jobs. Waterjet cutting allows for the same set up for all the materials it cuts.

We could go on all day about waterjet cutting and the benefits it comes with. The ability to use a variety of materials, the simplicity of operation, reduction of production and labour time, and versatility only cover a portion. We love our waterjet and know you will too!

If you or someone you know has questions about or requires services in waterjet cutting or metal fabrication, call us today! Tin Knockers Custom, providing quality, cost effective solutions for over 20 years!