Waterjet cutting uses a focused, highly pressurized stream of water to cut through a material. This process can be performed on a wide range of materials, from lighter options such as foam, to extremely hard materials like steel and titanium. Cutting a particularly dense material requires adding an abrasive to the water, such as garnet, to increase the cutting ability of the jet. The abrasive gets added at the nozzle, making it relatively simple to add or remove the abrasive material as needed.
This subtractive manufacturing technique sees broad usage throughout many industries due to its ability to cut through nearly any substance. It features several other significant benefits, as well. Unlike other cutting methods, waterjet cutting creates no heat-affected zone, so cuts remain clean and precise without any distortion. Given the precision of the waterjet cutting process, many cuts require no additional finishing processes.
How Waterjet Cutting Works
A waterjet cutter operates using a high-pressure pump to emit a narrow stream of water at a high velocity to cut through even very dense materials. A variety of waterjet systems exist for varying purposes, though they share the same general operating principle and components. Generally speaking, waterjet cutters require a high-pressure pump, a cutting table to place material on, a nozzle to emit the jet of water, and a hopper to hold and dispense an abrasive agent if required.
Waterjet cutters are controlled using computer software, which operates the positioning of the nozzle and the motions it makes. The cutting process occurs using an X-Y motion system that facilitates precision positioning of the jet to make cuts in accordance with the specified design. Certain types of waterjet cutters hold the workpiece underwater and cut while submerged, offering a clean and quiet cutting process.
Waterjet cutting systems typically employ a recycling system to collect and reuse the water, which makes the process environmentally friendly. This cutting process also produces no smoke, dust, or vapors.
Waterjet cutting will shatter tempered glass but offers smooth and accurate cuts on virtually any other material, including:
- Carbon fiber composite
- Exotic metals
- Food products
- Stainless steel
This material versatility makes waterjet cutting an incredibly useful process in countless industries.
Our Waterjet Cutting Capabilities
JIT CNC Machining provides precision waterjet cutting services for pre-machining or volumes ranging from single pieces to large production runs. We offer quick turnaround times and a high level of expertise that saves our customers time and money. The custom cutting techniques developed at JIT provide speed and precision with a broad range of materials. We frequently work with materials such as plastic, fiberglass, and 12-inch aluminum blocks. Our experts also have significant experience with numerous metals and alloys, including titanium, Hastelloy, Inconel, stainless steel, and many others.
Our facilities use several types of waterjet machines, including a 4-axis (3D) equipped dynamic head that tilts up to 60 degrees, with 47,000 psi to provide faster and more efficient cutting. Our selection of Flow Waterjet cutting machines often eliminates the need for secondary machining operations. Thanks to our waterjet cutters and other precision machinery, JIT offers precision components at affordable prices—and always with reliable on-time delivery. We can operate seven days a week and are always available answer customer questions.
JIT Machining has provided precision CNC machining services since 1996, and we support our commitment to quality through ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100C certifications. In addition to waterjet cutting, we also provide CNC milling, turning with live tooling, and production runs ranging from prototypes to 50,000 pieces. For questions about our services or advice about using waterjet cutting in your application, please contact us today.