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Water Jet Cutting: How It Works

The water jet cutting is a mechanical process by means of which a material can be cut, causing a jet of water to hit it at a high speed that produces the desired finish. Today, it is already a common resource when it comes to machining parts, simple and at the same time very complex. It is a very versatile tool whose application is extendable to practically all the jobs in the industry.

The cold cutting process is demanded in all applications in which the material cannot be affected by heat. We discard the cut with the circular saw, band saw, jig tool and penetrate. The first step is the design of the piece, with the appropriate computer-aided design (CAD) program, through which the measurements of the object, the thickness and the type of material to be cut are assigned.

Once the piece is designed, it is linked to the particular program of the water jet cutting machine. After storing the program in the database, the saved file is searched through the computer of the cutting machine. The type of cut that you want to obtain is decided, from the grossest to the most refined, but the edges will always be clean and free of imperfections, depending on the price the customer is willing to pay. There is the possibility of interrupting the process to check if everything is correct. The machines start cutting to the end of a continuous process that ends with an excellent finish of the piece to be machined.

Its diameter ranges between 0.08 and 0.45 mm, through which comes a mixture of water and abrasive, released at a pressure of up to 4,000 bars, or more, capable of cutting any type of material. The technical viability of the operation depends on the nozzle through which the jet exits because if the jet is conical, with a tendency to increase the diameter, cutting power, precision and quality are lost.

Depending on the work object, there is an option to use less pressure, about 2,000 bars, or even work without the abrasive. But this is used with materials of little hardness (plastics) that do not need the abrasive to be cut.

The method can be used, without cutting, to prepare surfaces, cleaning ships, automobiles and in the aerospace industry. It does not generate contaminants nor does it involve surface oxidation. The machining can be done by the same engineer who designed the piece since it does not require a gross manual work but simply to program the machine, locate the piece and pick it up once machined. In comparison with the laser, the water jet allows cutting greater thicknesses.

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