Waterjet cutting is a modern fabrication method that uses high-speed, high-pressure streams of water to cut material into a desired shape. It is a versatile process used to cut everything from foam and rubber to steel alloy and titanium. With the addition of garnet or other abrasives, waterjets can cut increasingly harder and more durable materials with ease. In fact, waterjets are often designed with nozzles that toggle between abrasive and water-only cutting. These specialized nozzles allow users to alternate quickly from one to the other and work on a variety of materials with minimal downtime between runs.
Although the process is fundamentally the same, not every waterjet cutter is ideal for all applications. At Metal Craft Spinning and Stamping, we go through an extensive vetting process to ensure we have the right cutter for every job. Here’s a look at the behind-the-scenes work that goes into our waterjet cutting services.
What Is a Waterjet Cutter?
A waterjet cutter is a computerized system that directs high-velocity, high-density jets of water to cleanly and accurately cut a broad range of materials, including rubber, stone, metal, plastic composites, and more. The water emitted by a waterjet can exert up to 392 MPa of force, and operators can adjust the velocity, pressure, and width to cut with exceptional precision. Specialty spray nozzles are as small as 0.1 mm in diameter—about the same size as a sharp pencil point.
What Makes a Good Waterjet Cutter?
When we purchase a waterjet cutter, we consider the following factors:
- Work Environment: High-production and 3D cutters are typically 8 x 16 ft or larger. Our facility has been carefully designed to accommodate the best-performing industrial equipment onsite, so our clients don’t need to allocate a dedicated space for housing units within their organization.
- Accuracy and Repeatability: Precision is a key hallmark of a good waterjet cutter. Our waterjet cutters meet high standards for accuracy and repeatability to help our customers avoid secondary processing operations.
- Waterjet Pressure: The waterjet pressure capacity determines which materials the machine can fabricate. If we need to cut soft materials like foam or rubber, a lower pressure may be acceptable, but for hard materials like metal and ceramic, we use cutter settings and equipment with higher pressure capabilities.
- Cutting Speed: The best nozzle for any given application depends on the material and production speed requirements. A small nozzle with low horsepower will cut materials slower than a large, high-powered nozzle. Compared to other fabrication methods, waterjet cutting usually works the fastest, especially when it comes to materials with a hard Mohs-scale rating.
- Energy Requirements: Cutters that operate at higher horsepower will use more energy, while lower-pressure cutters require less. As an all-in-one metal fabrication and stamping facility, we’ve optimized our system to handle the energy demand with ease.
- Versatility: At Metal Craft, we offer custom waterjet cutting services, which means our equipment must be versatile to suit many applications.
Here are a few of the most common shapes we produce:
We can also create any combination or variation of these designs and serve customers with small- and large-scale production sizes.
2D vs. 3D Waterjet Cutter
Waterjet cutters are available with both 2D- and 3D-cutting heads. 2D systems are designed to cut at an angle perpendicular to the base material. They can operate on X, Y, and Z axes using both abrasive and non-abrasive waterjets. 2D abrasive waterjet cutting heads are typically used for hard and thick materials, while 2D water-only heads can be used to create fine cuts on thin, soft materials, like plastic, rubber, and fabric.
3D waterjet cutting systems, on the other hand, operate on a wider range of angles and are used for more intricate pieces. They are available with both abrasive and non-abrasive heads and can be used on a variety of materials. Since 3D cutters can operate from any angle around the workpiece, fabricators must enact strict safety measures to prevent accidents. At Metal Craft Spinning and Stamping, we take pride in our fourth-generation family business and prioritize a safe work environment.
Superior Waterjet Cutting Services From Metal Craft
Since 1969, Metal Craft Spinning and Stamping has been the premier provider of top-quality metal cutting services. From metal spinning to stamping, hydroforming, and waterjet cutting, we have the knowledge and state-of-the-art equipment necessary to meet all your metal fabrication needs. We are committed to providing on-time delivery, accurate metal components, and exceptional customer service.
For more information on our waterjet cutting services, contact us today or request a quote. Our seasoned experts are happy to help you determine the ideal manufacturing solution for your next project.