What is Water Jet Cutting, Exactly?
Water jet cutting is a manufacturing process that uses a very high-pressure stream of water, mixed with an abrasive similar to sand, to make parts out of all sorts of materials.
The earliest industrial water jet cutting machines first appeared in the 1930s to cut sheets of paper, but today’s models have evolved into sophisticated, high-powered, CNC-controlled devices that offer incredible precision and repeatability.
In the 1950s high-pressure water jet cutting was perfected in order to cut very high-strength materials for critical applications. In fact, this new evolution of the technology was developed as a way to cut special alloys for the US Air Force’s XB-70 Valkyrie bomber. At the time, this was one of the most high-tech planes ever built, and it was capable of flying at speeds greater than Mach 3.
Today’s water jet cutting machines are used by metal fabrication shops all over the world to cut really thick materials. In addition to 6” thick steel and aluminum, today’s water jets can cut granite, plastic, rubber, paper and all sorts of flat metal stock.
Our water jet uses a piston pump that can create a stream of water at 65,000 pounds per square inch. That’s enough pressure to cut some materials without added abrasive if necessary.
A few of the benefits of water jet cutting machines include:
- They can cut very thick materials, up to 6” thick – and can even “stack cut” up to 8” thick
- They can cut a huge variety of flat sheet materials: from plastic to granite to steel and more
- Water jet cutting does not create heat, so the material being cut is less likely to be damaged during the cutting process
- Parts can be nested very close together in order to maximize the use of materials
If you’re interested in learning more about water jet cutting, please contact us today. We’d be happy to chat with you about our PA water jet cutting shop and learn how we can be of service to you!