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Metal Fabrication
Creation of production parts from customers specifications & drawing files

Part Nesting
Material savings due to close part-to-part nesting capabilities

Custom Signage
Sign fascias & inlay letters can be cut from virtually any material

Flooring Applications
Ceramic, Porcelain, Marble or Granite tile inlays

  Frequently Asked Questions
 

 

 

 

Abrasive Waterjet: How does it work?

Please download Java(tm). A basic waterjet cutting system consists of a filtration system, ultrahigh-pressure pump, nozzle
and catcher.

Hydraulically driven intensifier pumps pressurize water to 60,000 psi or more.

Water then travels to the shock attenuator, a pressure vessel that maintains output pressure for a constant, even water flow. It is then transferred to the reservoir via stainless steel tubing to the nozzle and finally exits through an orifice, traveling at three times the speed of sound.

The basic ultrahigh-pressure water-generating system includes an abrasive hopper, abrasive metering valve, and a specially designed mixing chamber and focusing nozzle usually called a mixing tube.

The metering valve attached to the hopper serves three functions: turning the flow of abrasive on and off; metering abrasive flow; and purging the abrasive feed line of water when the waterjet is not in use. Abrasive is metered through a precision disk that works like an hourglass to ensure a consistent, even flow.

The abrasive cutting head consists of a high-pressure valve actuator, valve body, nozzle body, waterjet orifice and mixing tube. The cutting head operates pneumatically with the abrasive-metering valve; when the cutting head is activated, the metering valve opens to allow abrasive flow.

When the cutting system is activated, high-pressure water flows through the orifice, into the cutting head and out through the mixing tube.

The subject material is cut by supersonic erosion, usually with cutting forces of 2 lbs. After cutting, a water-filled catcher tank collects the abrasive/kerf/water mixture. The tank also acts to support the material and reduce noise.

What image format do you use?

AutoCad Lt is our primary drawing tool.  The preferred file format is .dwg or .dxf.  We also use Flow Path & Flow Nest in order to optimize material yield.

 

What tolerances can we expect from waterjet cutting?

Parts to + .005 in.or looser accuracy are what most people are looking for. The accuracy you will get depends on the accuracy of the machine, part size and part thickness.

How thick can it cut?

It is possible to cut up to 8 in. thick steel and titanium on a production basis. There have been cases where 12 in. thick material has been cut. The vast majority of the users cut between 1/4 in. to 2in..

What kind of abrasive are you using?

Garnet is by far the most commonly used abrasive material. Users have found garnet to be the best for them in terms of cost, cut speed, mixing tube life, and health hazards. Other abrasives include olivine sand, aluminum oxide, and some manmade materials.

What pressure do you use when cutting?

At the maximum pump pressure; Anywhere from 50,000psi to 60,000psi or more. In general, the fastest and most efficient cutting is at the highest pressure possible.

How thick is the kerf?

The kerf is about 10% larger than the mixing tube diameter. So, for a .030 in. mixing tube, the kerf will be .033 in.. Of course, the kerf will get larger as the mixing tube grows. Tube growth is about .001 in. per 8 hours of jet-on time.

What taper can I expect?

The taper you get is a function of the cut speed. However, the worst taper you will get will be equal to maximum kerf width at the top (example: .035 in.) and 0.000 in. at the bottom. As you slow down the taper will be reduced until you get parallel sides. Most tapers you see on good quality cuts are .002 in. to .004 in. on a side.