Do you need a flat part manufacturing process that can handle a wide range of materials at varying thicknesses with a fast turnaround time? Do your flat parts require secondary processes such as tapped holes, countersunk holes, or custom hardware? Water jet cutting has many advantages over torch, plasma, or laser cutting.
While abrasive water jet cutting has been in industrial use since 1982, the last 10 years have brought about major advancements that make waterjet a practical process for an increasing variety of parts.
What Is Water Jet Cutting?
Water jet cutting—also commonly called abrasive water jet—is an extremely versatile machining process that uses ultra high pressure water, mixed with an abrasive to cut virtually any material.
Benefits of Water Jet Cutting
Most benefits of water jet cutting come down to flexibility of materials and short lead times available for this service:
- Wide range of materials. We can cut any flat material other than tempered glass or toxic materials like lead or beryllium. We have cut every standard material imaginable, including the basics like wood, plastic, aluminum, steel, titanium, stainless steel, and tool steel. We also have experience with the fun stuff, such as hardened steels, tungsten, molybdenum, carbide, inconel, hastelloy, invar, monel, kovar, and other exotics. If you have something extremely soft, like rubber, or brittle, like glass, ceramic, or composites, we have cut those also! If you aren’t sure it can be cut on a waterjet, there is a good chance we have already cut it or something similar and know how to do it.
- Greater material thicknesses. While laser cutters and turret punches are great for thin materials, an abrasive water jet can accurately and efficiently cut materials up to 2” thick. We can cut much thicker than 2”, but we will usually recommend a different process that is more efficient, if possible, because cut speed gets significantly slower as material thickness increases.
- No heat-affected zones. Although water jet cutting is technically a thermal process, it’s precisely controlled and focused, which allows it to cause almost no heat-affected zone. There is no need to worry about brittleness or reducing the workability of a material when using the waterjet process.
- Quick and easy. Because the abrasive water jet process is so easy to set up and program, it’s a better option than laser cutting or turret punching for customers seeking prototype quantities. All we need is a 2D dwg or dxf file.
Why Choose Wagner’s Water Jet Cutting Services
The team here at Wagner researched many abrasive water jet manufacturers and had test parts cut on various machines before going with OMAX.
Our advanced abrasive water jet machines, additional machining capabilities, and years of experience, make us the best choice for water jet parts. When you choose Wagner’s water jet cutting services, you’ll enjoy these extra benefits:
- Shortest lead time. If you’re looking for a 1-day turnaround, chances are we can make it happen. While most machine shops don’t stock materials in house, we have a huge in-house inventory of common sheet and plate material. You won’t find a shorter lead time anywhere else in Illinois for waterjet parts.
- Advanced nesting software. We use JetCAM nesting software to save you money through better material utilization and reduced programming time. It has decreased our material utilization by over 50% on some jobs.
- Tight tolerances. With advanced taper compensation technology, our abrasive water jet can easily hold tolerances of +/-.005”. Water jetting isn’t typically known for its high accuracy, but we have the expertise to hold your required tolerance—and the inspection equipment to verify it!
- Complementary services. Water jet cutting makes up only a small fraction of the services we provide at our Illinois machine shop. We regularly finish waterjet cut parts on our CNC machines or create custom hardware depending on customer requirements. We can provide you with a completed part or assembly.
For your next project, abrasive water jet or otherwise, choose a precision machine shop that’s been honing its craft since 1982. Request a quote from Wagner and one of our project managers will contact you quickly to discuss next steps.