How Does Waterjet Cutting Work?
Waterjet cutting is a process in which a stream of water is pressurized to more than 90,000 pounds per square inch. The water creates a fine and highly accurate cutting line. In this process, high-pressure water flows through a tube and then travels to cut through work material at a high velocity. This process is less likely to cause burns than traditional cutting methods such as CNC milling or laser engraving.
Water jet cutting is one of the most precise methods of cutting materials. It is ideal for straight, curved, and circular cuts that are difficult with other techniques. Water jet cutting can cut through various materials, including steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and plastic. However, the process is not used on fine stones or other hard materials because the water jet stream can fracture them.
How The Process Works
Waterjet cutting begins by using the nozzle to clean away any excess material that could interfere with the cutting process. After this has been done, it's time to create the cut. The waterjet stream is pulse-controlled to control the flow so that the cutting tool can go back and forth to avoid any leftover material.
The entire cutting process is done within a few minutes, thanks to the high power of the water jet stream and the speed at which it travels. The process uses water as a primary source, and it is pressurized so that it becomes a fine stream of water. This pressure creates a vacuum and draws garnet sand into the stream, where it is then fired at the object being cut.
The garnet sand is also pressurized to 90,000 pounds per square inch and can, therefore, remove the material with ease. The garnet sand doesn't leave any residue behind and can be used with various materials.
The process is unique in that it does not remove the material but rather removes a small amount of material until the object is entirely cut. That way, there will be plenty of leftovers for other uses. The only thing that will remain is a small cloud of garnet sand.
What Is It Used For?
This cutting process is used on all types of metal, plastic, and rubber. Some uses include:
– CNC machining can remove too much material from an object. This can leave the object too thin to use without any further work. In contrast, water jet cutting leaves the object with a small amount of leftover material that can be easily removed using traditional methods such as grinding or sanding.
– Water jet cutting is used in the prototyping process so that small objects can be made before a full-size object is created. The small object can then be used to test the material's properties and make sure it will function as needed.
– Water jet cutting uses a high-speed pressure jet stream, carving any design into just about any shape and size. This makes it a versatile way to create custom designs on an object.
– This process is a great way to create precise objects that can be used for appliances, statues, and more.
Safety Practices To Maintain While Using The Waterjet
While working with the water jet, safety procedures must be taken. The most important thing for the user to understand is that only an experienced professional should work with this machine. This is a dangerous tool, and you must know how to use this process to minimize potential damage. These practices include:
- Use protective gear at all times while working with this tool.
-Ensure that the water supply is turned off when any repairs are needed, or machines are being moved.
-Ensure that the machine's area is well lit so that an accident can be avoided if someone accidentally steps into the runway.
- Always look around while working to avoid any accidents that could occur by bumping into something or getting something caught in the process.
- Make sure that no one puts their hands into the water stream to minimize injuries.
- Never work with the machine if you are tired or stressed out.
-Ensure that the controls are positioned correctly to avoid any risk of injury.
- Bring in a professional to inspect and repair any defects that may occur while using the waterjet.
The Different Parts of The Waterjet Cutter
The controller has the power to adjust the pressure feed, positioning, and speed of the water to go through a variety of materials. It is directly connected to the nozzle, so this part is responsible for everything that happens once the water leaves the nozzle.
It also controls various aspects of working with the water jet, such as cleaning, positioning, etc. The controller is also responsible for adjusting the speed at which objects are cut.
X-Y Traverse System
This is located under the control panel. The system slides the equipment horizontally and vertically to make precise cuts. The system also moves the equipment up and down to be placed above or below the object before cutting to give it a unique look. This helps create the best appearance possible, and it's also ideal for making intricate cuts.
Abrasive Waterjet Nozzle
This is an essential part as it compresses and shoots the water. The nozzle comprises a high-pressure hose connected to a control box. The nozzle also has ball valves that can adjust the water flow.
The nozzle contains a motor that sends pressurized air into the water line so that it will create a pressure jet stream when the water leaves the nozzle.
The main valve plays a vital role in maintaining stable cutting conditions because it allows you to stop and start. The air valve helps to blow off any excess materials accumulated while cutting.
Various nozzles can be used depending on the type of material being cut and the desired effect. This will determine the best nozzle to get the most attractive result possible.
The nozzle is also responsible for keeping the machine clean. It sprays out a mixture of water and sand that can be used to clean and lubricate the machine. This process also helps maintain sharpness to ensure that your equipment is in top condition for future use.
This component makes it possible for the equipment to be positioned steadily. The Table has an adjustable frame to accommodate various shapes and sizes of objects.
The Table can also regulate how the equipment is held to minimize the risk of slipping. The Table can also hold tools for various jobs such as grinding, sanding, sharpening, etc. It also has a height adjustment to make sure that objects are cut to the exact height and adjusted so that the equipment can be moved in any direction.
The pump helps to circulate water and can pump 5 gallons per minute. This is the maximum amount of water used at once without causing overheating. Overheating can lead to rusting and ultimately damage, so it's essential to take good care of this equipment.
The pump also provides lubrication, and it's essential because it reduces friction between the nozzle and various materials being cut. It also protects the nozzle from wearing out over time which could damage the equipment.
Articulated Cutting Head
The cutting head is used to get the results that you want. There are many different cutting heads, and each one can be used for a specific purpose. The type of material being cut determines the head used, and it can also determine the kind of cut you want to get.
The head has a wide range of motion which gives it the option to be used on most material sizes. This helps you achieve the best results possible while working with this tool.
The hopper holds the sand to be dispensed directly onto the material being cut. The hopper is filled with water, and a portion of it is used at once to help to achieve the best results possible.
The sand helps protect the nozzle while cutting abrasive materials and ensures no friction between various objects. This helps to prevent any damage from occurring while working with this machine.
The catcher tank is used to remove any excess oil, water, or sand used while cutting. The oil helps to lubricate the machine and prevent it from slipping. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining its strength.
Benefits Of Using Water jet Cutting
Superior edge quality
Water jet cutting is an excellent technique for making a smooth finish, and the edge quality is superior. Unlike conventional machining methods, which can have dull edges, waterjet provides sharp edges with minimal risk of chipping.
Efficiency (both time and cost)
A waterjet cutter can make extremely intricate cuts and produce a smooth finish. This is possible because of the fact that the nozzle can be programmed to focus on any particular pattern or design, far more intricate than simple straight cuts.
Waterjet is much more efficient in cutting materials than other techniques. It also produces results in less time, making it cost-effective for small businesses that cannot afford to have someone constantly working on a project.
High accuracy of cutouts
It is possible to achieve highly accurate and repeatable results with waterjet cutting. This can speed up the process of prototyping and make the results of a design more precise and predictable.
It is highly accurate when making holes and other cutouts in various materials. This makes it ideal for producing holes that need to be very precise and exact, such as the holes in medical equipment.
No heat-affected zones
Unlike other machining techniques, water jet cutting does not suffer from heat-affected zones. This means that it is possible to provide optimal cutting conditions for the entire duration of the process and still maintain a clean finish.
No tool changes are necessary.
Other techniques require the use of tools required for every cut, even if the device remains stationary. This can be extremely time-consuming and inconvenient when working in a limited-space shop, especially if no tools are available. This also increases costs because of the much larger amount of money spent on purchasing tools for each cutting task.
On the other hand, water jet cutting does not require any special cutting tools for more on the benefits of using water jet cutting.
Different Tools That Can Be Cut With A Water Jet
Stone can be cut using a water jet cutter to make a variety of carvings. The stones used for this purpose are made from various materials, including marble, granite, limestone, and more.
Plastic can be cut using a water jet cutter to make a wide range of products, including plastics in colors and automotive parts, electrical devices, etc.
Thick metals can be cut using a water jet cutter to produce various products, including workpieces manufactured from steel, aluminum, and so on.
Rubber can be cut using a water jet cutter to produce various products, including tires, the linings of boots, and more.
Water jets can be used in cutting glass to produce products such as lenses and lights.
Overall, waterjet cutting outshines many types of machining. It provides high quality finish, polish, and precision. It is also safer, cost effective, and versatile.