Tips

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here should still be relevant and useful, please be aware that the information contained on this page may be out of date.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.

This section is focused on covering tips and tricks to make better parts and do more with your waterjet.

Articles in this Section

Advantages of cutting under water

When you cut with waterjets, you usually have the option of cutting out of the water, or cutting with the water raised to cover the machining head. Cutting under water has no appreciable effect on the efficiency of the waterjet nozzle, as the nozzle is typically very close to the surface of the material, less...

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Maintaining your waterjet

Modern equipment is easier to maintain than even just a few years ago, and also requires much less maintenance than in years past. Much progress has been made in this area, but no machine is maintenance free yet. The factors that affect how often maintenance is required include:

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Different piercing methods

There are a few materials that are difficult to pierce with a waterjet. The few materials that are difficult to pierce materials include: glass, ceramics, some stone, and some laminates. In general, if you drop it on the floor and it breaks, there is a good possibility that it will be difficult to pierce. There...

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Nozzle distance (stand-off)

The distance between the tip and the nozzle is normally between 0.030 and 0.060 inches (0.75 mm and 1.5 mm ) or so. This distance, sometimes called the "stand-off" and having a low stand-off helps reduce taper, and give a better quality and faster cut.

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Waterjet machining tolerances

This article helps you understand what limits the tolerances you can achieve with your waterjet. Once you understand these limitations, you can work to improve them and improve your tolerances.

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All about taper

Taper is the difference between the top profile of the cut verses the bottom profile. As the waterjet stream rapidly erodes the material, it may do so unevenly, resulting in an uneven edge, similar to a canyon formed by a stream.

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Measuring kerf and tool offset

One often overlooked area of improving waterjet machining tolerances is carefully and correctly measuring the kerf. When done correctly, proper kerf measurements can significantly improve your machining tolerances.

 

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Nesting parts

Nesting parts refers to arranging parts on a plate of material to maximize the number of parts that will fit. While a person can do this better than any software, it is tedious work and software can do it faster and easier and almost as well. Nesting software is useful if you make many different...

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Waterjet brick

A waterjet brick is rectangular piece of corrugated plastic, such as polypropylene, used instead of slats to support material. It is most useful when machining tiny parts that could fall between the slats and get lost. It is also useful when cutting scratch-prone materials where splash back from the slats might frost the underside of...

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Fixturing for making waterjet parts

Fixturing refers to holding the material in place while the waterjet cuts parts from it. Because the sideways forces are very small with waterjet machining, and the downward force is concentrated in a small area, fixturing with waterjets mostly consists of making sure the plate of material isn't pushed around by the water bubbling from...

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Drawing parts for rapid machining

This topic discusses how to draw parts for rapid waterjet machining--parts that can be made in the least amount of time. 

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Image Tracing

On the Xbox® case cutting page, I showed how you can manually trace a geometric logo to quickly go from a file on the Internet, to an actual high-precision part. Below is a much more complex image that shows where the automatic image tracing software is more appropriate. I would definitely not want to have...

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Stacking material

You can often cut many parts at once by stacking thin materials, which can result in large increases in productivity, such as 150% to 300% or more. There are, however, diminishing returns if the total stack height exceeds ¼" to ½" (6 to 13 mm).

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Cutting tubes and pipes

Although most waterjet  machining is done on plates, waterjets can also cut tubing.

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Lettering

Using your waterjet to make name plates.

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Waterjets.org downloads

A waterjet feed rate calculator to help you determine the effect of various pump and nozzle setups on machining times for a variety of materials.

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