Waterjet - Frequently Asked Questions
What materials can the waterjet process cut?
The waterjet can cut almost any metals, plastics, wood, tile, granites, and various other exotic materials. There are very few materials that the waterjet cannot cut.
What are some advantages to waterjet cutting?
The waterjet has a quick turnaround time for large work orders, and is an excellent choice for prototyping. The waterjet is faster than laser cutting for some thicker materials, and is able to cut reflective materials without surface preparation. We can finish most 2D machined parts complete (including tap drill holes), and with no secondary edge finishing required. Parts can be nested within a blank of material, increasing material utilization and reducing part cost. Parts can also be blanked out near net shape for edge finishing if required.
What abrasive is used in waterjet cutting?
The waterjet's pressure is usually around 50,000 PSI. Softer materials such as wood, paper, and cloth can be cut using only water. For cutting harder materials, such as metal, stone, and glass, small garnet particles are fed into the waterjet stream to make it an "abrasive waterjet."
Do you do small jobs?
Yes, we do - no job is too small. We create custom "hot rod" parts for car enthusiasts, and also handle "one-off" jobs, cutting single parts for individual customers. We do have a minimum charge on the waterjet machine, but you will be pleasantly surprised at the affordable cost of waterjet cutting for your individual part.
What is the largest part you can cut?
Our machine travel is 26.0" by 52.0". The largest actual part size we can put in our machine is about 30" by 52", and up to 2000lbs. In certain cases, we can cut larger parts.
How thick of a part can you cut?
We can cut from .010" to about 4" in height, depending on the material being cut.
Will there be taper on the cut edge?
With our 5-axis water jet, we are able to program most of the taper out of the part. Part height and the finish required will also dictate how much taper will be on the part.
Can you program the machine to cut taper on the part?
In certain applications, we can program the machine to cut up to 9 degrees taper on the cut edge.
What is the normal inside corner radius from water jet?
Our normal inside corner radius would be about .018" with our standard nozzle. With our mini jet nozzle we can get down to about .011" inside corner radius. This can change depending on part height.
What kind of accuracy can you hold?
Tolerances of +/-.003" are common on smaller machine parts. In certain parts, we can hold tolerances of up to +/- .001". Again, tolerance is dependent on part height and surface finish required. Our Omax 2652 is one of the most accurate waterjets on the market.
What kind of surface finish will the waterjet produce?
Our waterjet will produce 5 levels of surface finish. Our #3 finish is a mid-level cut which would be approximately a 125rms finish. A #1 finish is a rough cut, and a #5 is our best finish. Also, finishes can be varied on the same part to optimize speed and reduce part cost.
What type of CAD files do you prefer?
We prefer .DXF files, but we can upload almost any type of CAD file to the waterjet.
What is your normal lead time?
Usually, we can get work out within a few days (depending on prior commitments). With proper planning, we can turn work around the same day in certain cases. It helps greatly if you give us a "heads up" that the work is coming before you send it to us.