A Guide to the Water Jet Cutting Process

Water Jet Cutting Services New HampshireWater jet cutting services offer industries an efficient method to cut materials for the fabrication of parts and components. From making a prototype to production runs large and small, water jet cutting produces shapes and patterns to meet fabrication needs with virtually any type of material. Because of its versatility and precision cutting, the water jet cutting tool is used in nearly every industry today. The many applications for water jet cutting of components are integral to architecture, aerospace, automotive, marine, textile, manufacturing, and much more.

The process of water jet cutting fundamentally works by forcing a large volume of water under high pressure through a small orifice or jewel nozzle. The action creates a supersonic stream of water that is so powerful it can cut through materials in one pass without shredding or crushing them. The cutting is accurate to within +/- .005 inches and can cut through material from .001 inches thick to 8 inches thick.

There are two methods of water jet cutting, pure and abrasive.

  • Pure water jet cutting, as the term implies, uses only water to cut material.
  • Abrasive water jet cutting uses the addition of an abrasive, such as garnet, to increase the cutting process. The pure method of water jet cutting is for softer materials like foam, gaskets, rubber, carpet, nylon, paper, and plastic. Abrasive water jet cutting is used for harder materials, including metals, stone, wood, ceramic, and glass.

How Does a Water Jet Cutting Machine Work?

How water jet cutting works are by delivering pressurized water through a hose to a cutting head. It then exits through an orifice or nozzle at the cutting head, though a diameter of .005 inches to .020 inches. The nozzle is jeweled by a precious stone, generally by either a diamond or sapphire, to prevent and resist the abrasive force as the water exits under the immense high pressure. The precision cutting of the material, the width, and depth of the water stream are determined by the settings of the nozzle. Once the supersonic stream of water exits the nozzle it can perform the cutting action through virtually any material.

How Much Pressure Does a Water Jet Have?

The enormous amount of pressure exerted is normally above 60,000 psi and up to 90,000 psi, whatever is necessary to produce the energy required for cutting. Water is then focused and the stream moves at a velocity of up to 3 times the speed of sound, depending on how the water pressure is exerted. Adding an abrasive grit such as crushed garnet allows for cutting through hard materials in a mechanical sawing type-action with a precision cut that leaves a smooth edge. Abrasive water jet cutting can easily saw through hard materials such as steel, stainless steel, aluminum, ceramic, and stone. When cutting soft materials, such as rubber, leather, cloth, paper, cardboard, insulation, foam, etc., the high-pressure water stream does the cutting, and no abrasive is used.

How Accurate is Water Jet Cutting?

Abrasive water jet cutting services for companies can insert logos or make inlays, and cut stone, marble, ceramics or tiles efficiently. For fabrication of parts and components, water jet cutting services are ideal for shaping a range of standard and exotic metals like aluminum, stainless steel, copper, bronze, titanium, and tungsten. Abrasive waterjet cutting is also used for making internal cutouts in glass as it effectively pierces through most thicknesses, and produces exceptional edge quality. Glass processing applications include cutouts, mirrors, tabletop inlays, window panels, and frameless shower screens.

Water jet machines are exceptionally versatile and efficient in shaping and fabrication of parts and components for industries. It produces a clean cut with very close tolerance and almost no machining to prepare the metal or other material. The exceptional edge quality is burr-free from low contact force. The cold cutting process means there is no heat affected areas or warping and distortion. It also creates a small kerf width that allows tight nesting and optimal use of material. Once cut, the material does not require secondary finishing.

Precision Water Jet Cutting Services Near Me

Water jet cutting’s ultra-high pressure stream of water offers industries the most versatile cutting method and highest precision cut for nearly every material application. Whether your company’s needs are designing a prototype or fabrication of machine parts, Manufacturer’s Rubber & Supply offers water jet cutting services of every kind, for short or long production runs, large or small.

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