What Is Water Jet Cutting?

A water jet cutter is a fabrication tool that’s been used for decades and is one of the fastest growing machining processes today. Water jet cutters are capable of slicing into metal and almost any other material using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure. The cutter is connected to a high-pressure water pump where the water is then ejected from the nozzle, cutting through the material by spraying it with a jet of high-speed water. They may also use a mixture of water and an abrasive substance to increase cutting power. This is the same process as natural water erosion, except accelerated and concentrated.

water jet cutting lg

Why Use Water Jet Cutting?

Easy to use: One can easily cut almost any material using either water only or water and an abrasive substance. The abrasive is added at the nozzle, so it is easy to switch between water only and abrasive water jet cutting.

Flexible and Versatile: Because it is easy to switch between water only and abrasive water jet cutting, this flexibility greatly enhances the versatility of a waterjet machine, as it can easily switch from cutting ¼” foam gaskets to 5” titanium brackets.

No Material Interference: Water jet cutting has the ability to cut material without interfering with its inherent structure because there is no “heat-affected zone” (HAZ). Because the effects of heat are minimized, this allows metals to be cut without harming or changing intrinsic properties.

5 Axis Cutting: The ability to cut 5 axis offers many benefits, including pre-beveling plates for welding, countersinking holes, mitered connections, and tapper compensation so that the cuts are perfectly square.

Accuracy: Water jet cutter attain accuracies down to 0.005″ (0.13 mm) and repeatabilities down to 0.001″ (0.025 mm). They also have the ability to angle cut up to 60 degrees.


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What Is Water Jet Cutting Used For?

The water jet cutter is suitable for almost every industry because it is easy to use and has an ability to cut almost any material while maintaining high precision. Common materials cut with a water jet include textiles, rubber, foam, plastics, leather, composites, stone, tile, metals, food, paper and much more.

Some Of Our Water Jet Cutting Work

What Industries Use Water Jet Cutting?

Water Jet Cutting is used across many different sectors and for all sorts of products and purposes. Below are just some of the areas Water Jet Cutting is used. If you have a metal fabrication project, chances we can get it done using Water Jet Cutting.

Where Water Jet Cutting Is Used


general_purposeGeneral Purpose Fabrication Shops
Water jets cutters are great machine tool, as it is fast and easy to go from an idea to the finished job. Water jets cut different types of materials with minimal setup.

artistArtists
Artists use water jet cutters to create intricate designs in materials traditionally difficult to work with, like marble, stained glass, and stone.


architecturalArchitectural
Water jet cutters are used to make custom flooring from stone and architectural details from metal.

aerospaceAerospace
The aerospace industry use lots of aluminum to make parts, which is easily machined on a water jet. Inconel®, titanium, Hastalloy, and other exotic metals can also be cut by water jets.


manufacturingManufacturing
Water jet cutting is used for making parts of products, as well as the parts used to make the machines on assembly lines.

automotiveAutomotive and Transportation
Water jet cutting is used for prototyping and producing automobile parts.


medicalMedical
Waterjet cutting is used widely in the creation of medical equipment that needs fine and accurate edges. In fact waterjet cutting is at the forefront of creating new medical technological advances.

constructionConstruction
Contractors can make use of water jet services from foundation to finishing touches. For custom light switch covers to staircase stringers.


What are Waterjet Cutting Edge Qualities?

Cut edge qualities range from Q1 to Q5. Q1 is the fastest cut and is used primarily for material separation. Depending on edge finish requirements, slower cutting speeds of Q2 through Q5 are selected. Parts requiring close tolerance geometry will of course require smoother edge finishes in that area of the part. (Note: Some other terms also used in the industry to indicate cut speed or edge quality – 100%, 80%, 60%, 40% & 20% or Fastest, Medium fast, Normal, Better & Best)

Photo courtesy of OMAX Corp


Why is choosing the right Edge Quality important?

Depending on what the cut pieces will be used for, your cuts may require different edge qualities. The Edge Quality directly affects the cost of the job, because it requires more or less time depending on the edge quality chosen. You could ask two different companies for quotes to cut the same piece, out of the same material, and get two vastly different quotes because of the edge qualities. When getting quotes on waterjet cutting, always ask what edge quality you were quoted at. Requesting a small sample part, similar to the one shown below, will help determine your requirements and also be an example of what you can expect on your parts.


Multiple qualities can be utilized within a single piece!


Visual of Actual Piece, Photo courtesy of OMAX Corp

Visual of Cutting Program, Photo courtesy of OMAX Corp

Tell Us About Your Project

If you have a metal fabrication project that might use the Water Jet Cutting method, we can probably make it happen. Send us some information below and we will get back to you shortly with an estimate.