HOW WATERJET CUTTING WORKS
A lot of people are curious about how waterjet cutting works. All they know is that it is a method of cutting various materials with the use of water. In our case Waterjet cutting involves the use of pressurised water up to a maximum of 50,000 PSI that is forced out of a small orifice. The water is combined with an abrasive material, and the resulting stream can cut through most materials. There are some materials that don’t require the addition of abrasive such as rubber or foam.
MATERIALS THAT CAN BE CUT BY WATERJETS
Waterjets can be used to cut most materials. Most manufacturers use waterjets to cut metals, especially aluminium. The tool can create intricate designs with precision in a cost effective manner. Metals are the most common materials used in machining shops, and that’s why the tool tends to cut a lot of them.
Waterjets are also used to cut glass and stone because the tool can create intricate designs not possible with other machining methods. Stone and glass are used in architectural designs as well as by artists. Waterjets allow them to work with the materials to make their ideas into reality.
There are a few materials that can’t be cut with waterjets, such as tempered glass and diamonds. Tempered glass will shatter when a waterjet is used on it. Diamonds are too hard to be cut with water.
BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HOW WATERJET CUTTING WORKS
Waterjets are flexible, fast and precise. And the advancement of technology has affected how waterjet cutting works, as the tool has become more user-friendly. It uses high pressure water that’s forced through an orifice to focus the amount of energy in a small area that results in a high velocity and high pressure beam.
In our case a pure waterjet, the inlet water is pressurised between 15,000 and 50,000 PSI that is forced through the orifice that is 0.35 mm in diameter. The water that exits the nozzzle travels near the speed of sound.
An abrasive waterjet uses the same principle of how waterjet cutting works. But as the stream of water leaves the orifice, abrasive is added to the stream. The high velocity water pulls the abrasive material that mixes with the water within the mixing tube. The resulting water and abrasive mix exits the nozzle with enough cutting power to penetrate the material underneath it.
The abrasive waterjet works two ways. The force of the water with the abrasive pierces through the material when the jet is stationary. The cutting action occurs when the waterjet stream is through the material. The speed depends on the type of material, shape of the part, type of abrasive, and the water pressure. It is vital to control the waterjet nozzle, and the machinist must know how waterjet cutting works economical and efficiently.