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Waterjet cutting offers several advantages over other machining technologies: Lower cost. Waterjet parts are typically cut from sheet or plate material and require no special clamps, fixtures or tool changes. This translates to quicker production and lower cost. Wide variety…
Like any tool, waterjet cutting has limitations. The good news is that the limitations of waterjet cutting are easy to understand. This makes it possible to develop your design around those limitations (which is what this article series is about).…
Hole size With a stream width of 0.04 inches, you might think that this would also be the smallest accurate hole that can be made with the waterjet. But this is not so. The waterjet stream must break through the…
Taper Parts cut using ordinary waterjet cutting will have a slight taper along the cut edge of the part, typically between 0.0005 inches and 0.01 inches. This is due to the waterjet cutting stream spreading out as it gets farther…
Tabbing Small parts must be connected, either to each other or to the sheet of material, to prevent them from falling into the waterjet tank when they are cut. This can mean that they must be broken off by working…
Flanges and brackets One of the most common applications, and one of the simplest, is flanges and brackets. These are usually designed to hold multiple parts together, particularly parts that can't be joined with off-the-shelf brackets. These are typically rectangular,…
Corner braces Waterjet cut parts can also be used in brackets that are aligned so that the cut edge, rather than the face, connects to the part. This is accomplished using the t-nut technique. The low cost of waterjet cutting…
Signs are another popular application for waterjet cutting, as they typically convey their information in two dimensions. Logos, pictures, and lettering can all be cut using the waterjet. Most of the signs we make at Big Blue Saw are either…
Below is an example logo for “thegymnasium”.   Illustration : The original logo to be turned into a sign. Now let's take a look at four different approaches to turning this logo into a sign. Below you will see renderings…
When making signs with lettering, it can be tedious work to generate all the necessary bridges. This is true both when the letters are positive space (solid material) or negative space (holes). Fortunately, by using the correct font, you can…
When building or customizing robots, motorcycles, go-karts, electric vehicles, conveyor belt systems, or just about anything that moves, you will eventually run into the problem of having to tie all of the motion components together into a single system. If…
Traditionally, spur gears are made using specialized tooling and setups. This means that small runs of custom gears can be expensive; much more expensive than most other types of machined parts. However, the flexibility of a waterjet cutting machine means…
If you're trying to find a material for your project, the options can be overwhelming. Waterjet cutting offers so many choices that it can be difficult to pick the material that fits both your design and budget. The truth is…
If you don't have a set of calipers or a micrometer with which to gauge the thickness of the material you would like to use, you can use common household objects instead. Use chart below to get a feel for…
For many kinds of parts, the surface appearance of the part is of no great importance. For example, parts used deep inside a machine can be scratched or scuffed, and still work perfectly well. However, for many applications, having a…
Many waterjet cut parts are designed to be fastened together using bolts or pins. This comes up when using the using the stacking or t-nut construction techniques, as well as when using a waterjet cut part as a custom flange,…
Using your favorite design software Most graphic design and CAD software allows you to export your design into a DXF format compatible with most waterjet cutting services. Note that DXF format is a vector file format, as opposed to a…
Waterjet quoting and final cutting is driven from 2D vector format files. However, many people use 3D modeling tools for their designs. Popular software packages in this category include Pro/Engineer, Sketchup, SolidWorks, Inventor, and Geomagic (Alibre). Generating an appropriate 2D…
When using SolidWorks to design a part to be waterjet cut, you will need to create a drawing file from the part. Let's take a look at a part designed in SolidWorks which we want to cut. The part is…
Getting started is often the hardest part of creating a design for a custom part. I often have customers come to me looking for a particular mechanical part that they just want tweaked a little bit. I often tell them…
One of the most popular ways to create a 3 dimensional assembly of waterjet cut parts is via the t-nut technique. In this technique, a bolt or screw is passed through a round hole on the faces of one waterjet…
Quite often designers need the equivalent of milled parts' boss: slot or pocket features. This can be accomplished through stacking. Parts are stacked with faces touching, then secured together with a nut and a bolt. You can also produce an…
In this extension of the stacking technique, pieces are oriented face-to-face, but separated. Each piece is held in place on a longer bolt or threaded rod with a nut (and optionally, a washer) on each side. You can also disguise…
For parts where t-nut construction won't work, you may consider bending flat parts in a sheet metal brake. Be aware that getting precise results from bending can be difficult. There are many factors to consider, including the bend radius of…
One common application of waterjet cutting is to make custom clamps to hold pipe or tubing in place. You can see an example of such a part in the photo below. Note that the bolts holding the two halves of…
Returning to the clamp example from this previous article, let's take a closer look at how the bolt holes were made through the side of the clamp. In the photo below of the two clamp halves, you will notice that…
Waterjet cutting prices are based upon the following: Setup time Material Machining time Setup time includes the time to load the stock material on the waterjet machine, process and transfer the cutting program to the computer controlling the machine, and…
At Big Blue Saw, we occasionally get requests from customers to put a bevel or chamfer on the edge of a waterjet cut sign or control panel.This is usually done for aesthetic purposes, to allow the piece more to show…
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Waterjet and Laser Cut Custom Parts.
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Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294