Buying a used waterjet machine

This page contains information from before 2010. It is left here for archival reasons only.  Although in most cases, the information here should still be relevant and useful, please be aware that the information contained on this page may be out of date.  For the most up to date information please navigate back to the home page.

Old Technology

When you buy a used waterjet, you will be buying older technology. This is a rapidly evolving industry, and the new machines are significantly better than the old ones. The cost of a new machine may be worth the extra money when operating cost, efficiency, precision, and other factors are accounted for. In particular, the controller technology will have changed a lot. Contact the manufacturer of the equipment and see what kind of upgrade options are available prior to buying used equipment. Even if you don’t buy the upgrades at the same time you buy the used waterjet, you will be glad to know that you can upgrade later.

Support

When you buy a new waterjet machine from the factory, you will often get free support, and a lot of training. When you buy a used waterjet, the factory doesn’t make a dime. The only incentive they have to support you is the sale of spare parts. Therefore, they will probably charge you for support, training, and so forth. It is important that you are properly trained on the machine when you get it, so you should add $5000 or more to the price of your used machine for training and support.

Getting proper training and support at the beginning will prove much cheaper than learning by trial-and-error, which will result in many mistakes.

Mechanics

A used waterjet machine has been used, and some parts may be worn. Particular areas to look at include:

  • Watch out for garnet on the ball-screws. A lot of older machines do not have fully enclosed bellows, and it is likely that grit leaked in and settled on the ball-screws.
     
  • Check the bellows themselves for small tears. Even a small tear or hole in the bellows can let abrasive enter, and this will adversely affect the performance of the waterjet.
     
  • Get a ball-bar test to test the accuracy of the machine, and discover any potential problems with the precision components before you buy the machine.

Where to buy

Check out the Waterjet Web Reference Discussion Group.

Post a message on it indicating that you are interested in purchasing a used waterjet, and you will probably get several responses. You can also contact the manufacturers of new machinery and see if they have demo units or trade ins. If you buy from the factory, you can get high-quality factory refurbished machines with training and warranty. Also, check out the “Used Equipment” link at the following web site: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waterjets/links