CNC Waterjet Cutting
CNC waterjet cutting is a process that produces shapes by cutting sheet material using a high pressure stream of water containing abrasive particles.
CNC waterjet cutting is an economical way to cut 2D shapes in a very wide range of materials with no tooling costs. The unique process of CNC waterjet cutting provides reasonably good edge quality, no burrs and usually eliminates the need for secondary finishing processes. The process also generates no heat so the material edge is unaffected and there is no distortion. CNC waterjet cutting can cut single or multi-layer materials from as thin as .001" to as thick as several inches. The process yields no poisonous gas when cutting plastics or rubber.
Shapes possible with CNC waterjet cutting include 2D shapes with cutouts of almost any complexity. Examples of parts that are often cut using CNC waterjet cutting include:
- Custom Enclosures
- Custom Metal Brackets
- Custom Robot Parts
- Custom washers
- Custom Front Panels
- Custom Sheet Metal Boxes
- Custom Motorcycle Parts
- Custom Auto Parts
Materials applicable to waterjet cutting include almost any material, hard or soft including:
- Stainless Steel
- Carbon fiber
- Sterling Silver
- Spring Steel
- Rubber Parts
- Gasket material
No custom tooling is normally needed in CNC waterjet cutting. Cost reduction options include reduction of total cut length, reduction in number of holes and cutouts and reduction of material hardness and thickness.
CNC Waterjet Cutting Design Considerations
- Edges are good but usually not as smooth as milling or punching.
- Some spots along the edge, such as where the cut ends, may be less smooth.
- The edges of the cut part generally have a dull finish.
- Kerf width is typically ~.060", hence inside corners will be rounded to ~.03" radius.
- There may be some hazing on the surface - especially near the edges.
- Thin flimsy structures and shapes where a high proportion of material is removed may present difficulty in meeting dimensional and flatness tolerances.
- Edges will be slightly sloped - the bottom side will have slightly more material at the edge than the dimensioned top side.