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 of materials supported. Waterjet cutting can be used on most metals, many plastics, wood and stone. It can be used to cut many materials that would be difficult to machine using other methods, such as heat treated alloy steel.
- No heat-affected zone. Machining methods like laser cutting and EDM heat the material and the parts will need to be heat treated again after machining. Waterjet cut parts retain their heat treatment when cut. This means that you can start with pre-heat treated material and keep your costs down.
I've been running Big Blue Saw for a few years now. When people ask me what I do, I explain that I help people turn their ideas into real parts made out of metal, plastic, or wood. Their next question is usually "Who would need that?" or "What kinds of things do people want?" At Big Blue Saw, we have dealt with thousands of applications for waterjet cut parts. Here is a just a partial list of the types of applications we have seen:
|3D printer frames||Head gaskets|
|Animal cages||Heat sinks|
|Arcade game joystick mounts||Industrial controls|
|Bicycle dropouts||Industrial HVAC equipment|
|Business cards||Kite fabric templates|
|Computer casemods||Knife blanks|
|Control panels||Lighting fixtures|
|Dashboard panels for airplanes and airplane simulators||Motor mounting brackets|
|Dashboard panels for cars||Motorcycle dogbones|
|Dashboard panels for cars||Movie props|
|Desk nameplates||Nixie clocks|
|Drain covers||Oil pipelines|
|Electronic bus bars||Painting jigs|
|Electronics enclosures||Prop replicas|
|Fighting robot frames||Rope belaying devices|
|Fireworks control panels||Sporting goods|
|Fixtures for science experiments||Stencils|
|“Free energy” machines||Test tube racks|
|Go kart frames||Ventilation registers|
|Ground straps||Video monitor brackets|
|Guitar capos||Wedding cake toppers|
|Guitar pick guards||Windmill contactors|
- Cutting line: The curve which was followed by the waterjet cutting stream to make the part.
- Cut edge: The parts of the material exposed by waterjet cutting. It is perpendicular to the faces of the part.
- Face: The flat, unmachined areas of the finished part. Each waterjet cut part has two faces: the top face, where the waterjet stream enters the material, and the bottom face, where the material originally rested on slats and where the waterjet stream exits. The face is perpendicular to the cut edge(s).
- Frosting: Abrasion around the cutting line caused by stray abrasive particles from the waterjet cutting stream.