Waterjet Cutting

How does a waterjet machine work?

Conditioned tap water is pressurized to approximately 45,000 psi through a variable speed direct drive/crankshaft pump. The pressurized water is then sent into a cutting head.  From the top of the cutting head, it exits in a controlled stream through a tiny opening called a jewel or orifice that is .030” / .040” inches in diameter. 

 

Custom Precision Technologies uses diamond orifices to withstand the enormous pressure.Beyond the orifice is a mixing tube where an abrasive (CPT uses garnet) is vacuum-fed via the venturi effect into the pressurized stream.  The water and garnet exit from the chamber via a nozzle at a velocity that can reach above 1000 feet per second creating an intense cutting stream.   For softer material the abrasive is not added to the mixing tube and the material is cut by water alone.

The Waterjet Machine Process

The material to be cut is placed on an elevated surface above the bed of the machine. Water is then raised to catch the exiting stream & disperse it into the water filled tank.

 

The cutting head controlled by state of the art CAD/CAM software moves along a programmed path, just above the material to be cut, which precisely creates the part or pattern.  CPT utilizes a cutting head that can lean or tilt, into or away from the starting stock to minimize taper on thick materials.

 

Even with all of this pressure, there is minimal force per square inch put onto the material, due to the small surface area of contact from the jet. This generates an extremely low cutting force, allowing thin or unusual profiles on delicate parts without inducing stresses that can cause distortion.


No noxious gases or liquids are used in waterjet cutting, and waterjets do not create hazardous byproducts or vapors. The used garnet can be recycled for another use and when fully spent can be safely placed into a landfill.

 

No heat effected zones or mechanical stresses are left on a waterjet cut surface.  It is truly a versatile, productive, and “green”, cold cutting process.

Waterjet Advantages

Advantages

  • Cutting tolerances as close as +/-.003″, depending on material & thickness
  • High positional accuracies of +/-.001″
  • No taper, specialized tilting head allows material up to 4” thick to be cut without any taper
  • Large cutting envelope, up to 72” x 230”
  • No Heat Affected Zones (HAZ) means no hardened edges
  • Cut almost any material, Aluminum to Zinc, with composites, plastic, & titanium (to name just a few) in between
  • Maximum material yield with small kerf and tight nesting
  • Can cut laminated & coated materials (Powder, PVC, UV, Ceramic, Plastic, Chromed, Anodized), regardless of coating thickness
  • Can cut material with a low melting point since no heat is applied
  • No distortion or warping of materials

Benefits

  • Lower costs- more parts from less material
  • Lower overall machining costs if you waterjet cut net shape parts first, to significantly reduce finish machining costs
  • Good machined edge finish available, which means no burrs or slag eliminating the need for secondary finishing
  • Thin gage material, especially polycarbonates can be stacked for multiple part generation from one cut
  • No heat is applied so there are no changes to the properties of the material, (No HAZ) which is important if working with tool steel, stainless steels or aerospace metals.
  • Fast turnaround, and lower costs on prototypes – without the lead times and costs of creating custom dies or fixtures.

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 Custom Precision Technologies (CPT) located in Pompano Beach serves South Florida customers in their metal fabrication and prototyping needs. Conveniently located in Broward County, CPT offers its cutting and fabrication services to a wide range of companies in the Tri County Area: Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, as well as the rest of the US.

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