The History of Waterjet Cutting and Its Uses

You might have come across with the term waterjet one way or another, but you may not really know what it is. It is not just a stream of water shooting out at a very high pressure, but there is much more to it. Imagine how water could cut through almost any type of material when it is pressurized and is controlled in a certain way.

Water may appear to be very gentle and soft, but it is one of the most powerful forces of nature. Just imagine how the waves of the sea could carry you at the beach or how it could smash against the rocks at the shore, washing away huge boulders and eroding the mountainsides. Think about how devastating a flood could be.

Even water from a garden hose has a certain force to it. Think about the pressure of the water from a garden hose. Imagine that pressurized water being pushed at a higher pressure through a smaller hole. This pressurized water with a mix of abrasive grit is a cutting tool that you should not underestimate. It is the most versatile and precise cutting method for many types of materials, from the super soft fabrics and foams to the hardest metals like titanium.

 

How it started

The idea of water jet cutting came from erosion. This method of precision cutting started in the 1800s. Hydraulic coal mining was very popular in these times in areas like the Soviet Union and in New Zealand. Water from stream are used by miners to blast over solid rocks. This erosion process carries loose rocks along with coal.

Between 1853 and 1886, miners during the California Gold Rush used pressurized water in excavating mines for soft gold rock. This was the first time in which the power of pressurized water was tried. This technique was also for the safety of the miners. In the 1900s until 1930s, this method was used in Europe and in Asia. Cutting rock with the use of pressurized water was first attempted by Russians.

It was not until the 1970s when the technology of waterjet cutting was first developed. The first industrial cutter was introduced in 1972. Further developments such as the abrasive waterjets were done in the 1980s. Abrasive waterjets is the same as the pressurized water, but an abrasive grit is added to the steam of water. This development increased the cutting power of waterjet, which enables it to cut through a range of different materials.

 

Waterjets on the market today

Today, you will find different types of waterjets, including percussive jets. This technology to cut materials uses rapidly pulsing jets. Another type of waterjet is the cavitation jets, which by high forces of water forms empty cavities, which would then collapse immediately. The hybrid jets are also popular waterjets, which involves pairing of waterjets with plasma, lasers and other cutting methods.

 

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Plasma Cutting Table Versus Laser Cutting Table

Both a plasma cutting table and laser cutting table make it easy to create parts that are CAD/CAM-designed and high-quality from different kinds of metals and materials. But considering your needs, which one is best for you? It would be hard to tell if you don’t have any experience using these types of equipment.

Plasma Cutting Tables

Plasma cutting has been around since the 1970s and 1980s but it only became very refined in the last few years. Early plasma cutters used to be inefficient and left behind chips and scars on cut materials and metals, so they were not really an ideal choice for precise applications.

Today, plasma cutting table technology is so much more refined. It is now used by millions of companies and shops around the world. So far it is considered to be the best way to cut conductive metals such as aluminum and stainless steel.

Below are some of the pros and cons of a plasma cutting table.

Pros:

  • Lowest operating cost: It consumes less power than the counterpart laser cutting. This means that the operating cost of a plasma cutter is lower than a laser cutter.
  • Fastest production rate: It has a very fast production rate, especially if you are working with thicker materials as they can slow laser cutters down a bit.
  • Can cut extremely thick materials: Such cutting tables can cut materials that are multiple inches in thickness, unlike with laser cutters.

Cons:

  • Not for precision cuts: The plasma jet that is used to cut materials is not as accurate as a laser. This is not often a problem except for those extremely low-tolerance applications, however.
  • Cuts may require refinishing: These cutters may cause dross and debris to adhere to the bottoms and sides of a cut, thus each cut might need to be refinished.
  • It can only cut conductive metals: Plasma cutters should react with a conductive material to cut. Meaning, they can only cut conductive metals such as aluminum and steel.

Laser Cutting Tables

Laser cutting makes use of high-powered C02 laser so it can cut metals and materials of all types. Laser cutting has been in utilized for decades and is considered to be a good option for manufacturers and shops that should have an increased flexibility.

Here are some of the pros and cons of laser cutting tables.

Pros:

  • Cuts a wide variety of materials: Laser cutting works on metals, as well as fabric and plastics or even wood, making it flexible for various projects.
  • Accurate and precise: Lasers offer a more accurate and precise result compared, though they may leave heat scars/marring in some situations.
  • Can be utilized for detail work: Lasers can be used to add more details to a finished project. This includes engraving, as well as decorations.

Cons:

  • Could not handle extremely reflective types of materials: Extremely reflective metals like copper usually cannot be cut by laser as they simply reflect the laser light.
  • Slower production rate: They are slower than plasma cutting tables for the majority of applications.
  • Cannot cut thick materials: Materials that are thick can’t be cut by most lasers.

What is Right for your Business?

If you are going to use the cutting table to create parts out of thick metals that are highly-conductive, then plasma cutting tables are definitely the right choice.

 

What are the Known Benefits in Water Jet Cutters

Water jet cutting is becoming most likely the most preferred precision cutting methods. More companies – from machine shops and designers to model shops and producers – round the U. s. are employing we’ve got the technology to slice metal correct into a finished part. To properly program and manage a water jet table requires a lot of training, like various computerized CAD systems. Nonetheless, there’s expanding interest out there for various reasons, the extremely initial becoming industrial.

The simple water jet cutting procedure is a lot like machine-operated erosion, going for a little stream and pushing it by way of a small (no greater than.010 inches) nozzle at a higher pressure (900-plus miles per hour). First commercial programs go as far back towards the seventies when water flying was utilized initially to chop corrugated cardboard. Now, tables reduce cardboard, plastic, foam, sealants along with other soft materials.

Abrasive cutting or abrasive jets grew to turn out to be typical inside the eighties. Abrasive jets mix water along with a coarse substance, like garnet, and want three much more components – a garnet hopper, metering tool and mixing chamber – to chop via hard supplies, like copper, brass, aluminum, steel, glass, ceramic, quartz movement or stone. Products created from these materials include gears together with other parts, in addition to pieces for artists.

A couple of-of the other benefits of water jet cutting consist of:

No warmth-affected zones (HAZ) are created. Traditional machinery requires plenty of warmth. This heat can transfer to the fabric and trigger HAZs, which result in the item’s all-natural structure and intrinsic qualities being changed, warped or melted. Water jet cutting doesn’t change any conditions when creating the ultimate product.

The cutting jet by no means will get dull, and it isn’t capable of getting too hot. An additional essential safety feature is most tables will instantly drop water pressure to safe levels to prevent injuries or injury towards the operator. Also, no dangerous dust or contaminants are released all through the process.

Jet cutting is considered the most useful of precision cutting tools. Tables could be automated, and components are produced quickly. Traditional machining demands detailed prints and also the skilled hands from the machinist, while all a waterjet needs may be the dimensions blocked in.

There is practically no waste because the water stream’s kerf width is minuscule , precise.

With this specific procedure, a particular item is what you’ll get. Finish grinding and sanding are removed, as you will find no burs or rough edges.

Water jet tables may also compliment router, laser and milling machines. Jet cutting provides possibilities for high abundance and profits by working quickly and wasting small.