Waterjet Cutting is a Sheet Metal Fabrication process where a high-pressure jet of water is used to perform cuts in a metal sheet.
This process differentiates itself from Plasma Cutting and Laser Cutting mainly because it doesn’t generate heat in the cutting process, preventing the cut material from being affected by thermal-related processes.
How does Waterjet Cutting work?
This Sheet Metal Manufacturing works by applying a highly pressurized stream of water or water-abrasive mix into a material sheet to cut it into freeform shapes.
The process is a hyper-accelerated erosion process that is seen as cutting due to the enormous speed of the water stream. A hydraulic pump forces water through a pipe system that feeds pressure into the stream until it is finally propelled through a ruby, sapphire, or diamond nozzle, which hyper-focuses water into a laser-thin and powerful water jet. This process makes this fabrication capable of cutting a remarkable variety of materials.
Types of Waterjet Cutters
Depending on the strength of the material to be cut, it might or not be necessary to add an abrasive agent into the water stream to power up the cutting power.
Pure Waterjet Cutting
Only water is used in this process. The pressure added into the stream is powerful enough to cut through softer materials like rubber, foam, leather, and some softer plastics and metals.
Abrasive Waterjet Cutting
When there’s a need to cut more rigid materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, or brass, an abrasive is added to the highly pressurized cutting mix. The most common add-on materials are silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, sand, and garnet, the latter being the most used.
Read more: How Metal Water Jet Cutting Works
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