Pictures of various items cut with an abrasive waterjet from various materials
The key word to describe a waterjet is “versatile.” In the above picture, notice the wide variety of shapes created by the waterjet, as well as the different thicknesses. notice also the range of materials shown–various metals, Plexiglas®, even granite.
Pictures of various large parts machined on an abrasive waterjet
Parts in the above picture are up to 4″ (10 cm) thick. Again, note the variety fo shapes possible with waterjet machining.
A spring machined from 1/8″ (3 mm) brass
Despite the long tool path, the spring shown in the above picture only took about 10 minutes to machine.
Company name cut from a file
The file shown in the above picture is made of hardened steel. With most machining tools, hardened steel takes considerably longer to cut than regular steel. With a waterjet, hardened steel takes only slightly longer to machine. This lets manufacturers harden their materials before cutting, which can be more efficient and cost-effective.
A rack and a gear machined with a waterjet from ½” (13 mm) steel
(Left) Friction plate made from ¼” (6 mm) stainless steel. (Right) Logo etched in thin glass plate using low pressure.
While etching is not the strong suit of waterjets, it can be done. The above photographs show two samples of etching. For the friction plate, the speed of the waterjet head was rapid enough that the material didn’t cut all the way through. The etching in the glass on the right was done using low pressure, again so that it wouldn’t cut through the material.
Etching works best with hard materials, although even then, it is difficult to get a consistent, even depth with a waterjet.
A saw blade made from 3/8″ (10 mm) mild steel
Cheese cutter demonstrating how thin you can machine using a waterjet
Waterjets generate very small side forces as they maching. Most of the energy is directed straight down on the material. As a result, it is possible to make parts with very thin features, such as the cheese cutter shown above where the blade is less that 0.020″ (0.5 mm) thick.
Another example of thin wall cutting in ½” (13 mm) aluminum
The walls in the above honeycomb piece are about 0.025″ (0.6 mm) thick. Note the uniformity of the walls as well as their thinness.
Rack and gear in 1/8″ (3 mm) aluminum
Jigsaw cut from wood with a pure waterjet
Note the very small size of the total part. The narrow kerf width of a pure waterjet allows for this type of machining. The drawback to a pure waterjet is that it is efficient only for very soft or thin materials.
Part assembled from 1/8″ aluminum pieces machined on a waterjet
If you have pictures you would like to share about something you made on a waterjet, send them by with a short description of what it is, what it is made of, and any notes on how it was made.
A 10 foot tall sculpture of a palm tree made from 1/8″ aluminum.
A custom waffle iron made from etched titanium. Required precision cutting and no room for error!
Xbox® case cutting
What happens when you use a waterjet on an Xbox case? Look at various logos and figures cut out of an Xbox.
Wooden electric guitar
Watch as a waterjet cuts out the pieces to make an electric guitar from wood.
Techniques for working with brittle materials, such as granite and marble.
When cutting laminated materials with a waterjet, you need to use some techniques to keep the water from getting between the layers and ruining the material.
A discussion about how to cut glass with a waterjet to minimize broken and chipped parts.