Water Jet Cutting Metals: Edge cut quality (medium)

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  • Metal WaterJet Cutting

Water Jet Cutting: Metals.

At Jetcut, we can cut any metal, from 0.5 mm to 150 mm thick to a tolerance of 0.008" or 0.2mm. We have the capacity to cut from metal sheets up to a size of 4m by 2m.

The benefits of Water Jet Cutting include:

  • Minimal kerf widths - typically 0.8 mm
  • No heat affected zone
  • Faster than conventional cutting methods when utilising thicker materials
  • Can cut any metal, even heat treated (before cutting)
  • Prototype parts - we can work with you to optimise your design for 1 off or for mass production
  • Mass production - at JetCut we have 2 machines, each with 2 cutting heads and nesting software, allowing part costs to be reduced by over 30%

Aluminium is a light weight but strong metal used in a wide variety of applications. It is a relatively soft metal and can be difficult to machine using a laser in thicknesses over 1/4" (0.6 cm), however, it is easily machined using abrasive waterjet. Generally speaking, it machines at about twice the speed as mild steel.

10mm Aluminium end plate | 10mm Aluminium Plate | 5mm Aluminium Sample | 20mm Aluminium plate

Machining copper can be challenging, but abrasivejet systems make cutting copper easy. Copper is impossible to cut on a laser due to reflection. It is also difficult to machine conventionally, because it tends to gum up conventional cutting tools. Abrasivejets are the most appropriate solution for copper.

Exotic and expensive materials that might otherwise be quite difficult to machine like hardened tool steel, stainless steel or titanium are well suited to abrasive waterjet cutting.

One of the huge advantages of cutting materials like titanium using this technique is that you can significantly cut costs. Typically, you can fit additional parts in a given piece of material, and the scraps and drops from cuts are in chunks, instead of chips, meaning that it is reuseable. That can make a big impact on the bottom line.

Titanium gasket | 2mm Brass Gasket | 5mm Titanium baffle plate | Brass compass

Tool steel is difficult to machine conventionally, particularly once it's hardened, but is fairly easy to machine on an abrasivejet system. Steel can be hardened before or after cutting. Steel hardness has only a minor effect on the rate at which it can be machined with an abrasivejet.

Laser and wire EDM can both affect the heat treatment of the material or cause thermal distortion, but the abrasivejet process will not affect the heat treat or cause distortion in any way.

Steel is relatively easy to cut using waterjet, even after it has been hardened (with minimal slow-down of cutting speed). Stainless steel machines easily using abrasive waterjet without heat or distortion, regardless of grade. This lack of a heat affected zone from the abrasive jet means that you don't change the heat treatment of the steel as you cut it. Waterjet cutting also produces a smooth cut on the edge without burn marks, cracking, excess burr, or other problems typically associated with heat-based cutting.

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