Waterjet Cutting Service
Waterjet cutting services are the perfect solution for very thick materials. CNC waterjet cutting machines are able to cut metals up to 12 inches without leaving a heat-affected zone. If putting emphasis on the final quality of parts is important, this fabrication method may come in handy.
The final quality depends on the cutting speed and so does the price. Speedier cutting leaves a rougher edge but makes for a cheaper price per part.
Fractory’s manufacturing network allows cutting metals up to a thickness of 12 inches. The same parameters apply to all of them, including carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc. A note here is that not every manufacturer has such thicknesses in stock, which may affect the lead time.
The optimal cutting thickness for waterjet services starts from about 3 inches. Anything below that is a suitable job for plasma cutting because of its lower cost. Oxy acetylene cutting is an alternative for higher thicknesses with carbon steel parts. Although, it is important to remember that waterjet offers a better finish for your custom parts.
How to Order?
If you need cutom waterjet cut parts, please send us a request for quote to our email, enclosing relevant technical drawings and other necessary information about the project. Waterjet cutting services are not yet available for instant quoting.
Other manufacturing methods, like laser cutting, bending, etc, are automated on our platform. So you can just upload CAD files of your parts for an instant quote. The system for processing the files is free to use.
Fractory takes care of transportation. We are able to bring the parts to your selected address all over the United States.
What is Waterjet Cutting?
Waterjet cutting is a mechanical production process for cutting different materials. Waterjet cutting services use a mechanical process to cut the parts, while most of the other popular methods, like lasers and plasma, use heat. Material gets removed by physical contact that results in material wear, thus a cut.
The waterjet blasts out of the cutting head at a supersonic speed. Meaning that it travels faster than sound. This is the first requirement for cutting hard materials like metal. But water alone could not accomplish such a feat. Therefore, additions in the form abrasives are necessary. The most common abrasive is crushed garnet – the same material that provides the roughness of sandpaper.
The high-pressure waterjet stream ensures that these abrasives hit the material at great speed. Continuous wear erodes the metal. The pressure for waterjet cutting is typically around 55000 to 90000 psi in case of newer machinery.
Gradual material removal combined with the cooling effect of water keeps the temperature low during production. This is also the reason why it does not leave a HAZ on the parts, whether using it for steel, stainless steel or aluminum.
The conical deviation with waterjet cutting is small because the jet itself travels in a straight line.
Waterjet Cutting Advantages
No HAZ – The heat-affected zone alters the mechanical properties of metal. This can lead to a point of failure with critical components, if not taken into account. Waterjet cutting leaves no HAZ because of the lower temperature levels during the process.
Suitable for many materials – Fractory’s waterjet cutting service has its focus on metal cutting. Steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc. are available. But this fabrication method is actually suitable for an extremely wide range of materials including rubber, foam, plastics, glass, etc.
Great accuracy – The tolerances are close to +/-0.006″. The precision and repeatability for producing almost identical custom parts are boosted by using CNC machines.
Outstanding quality – The final finish of the parts is remarkable. Mostly no post-processing is necessary. The result does depend on the cutting speed though. The image below shows different cutting speed results for the same material, with Q1 being the fastest and Q5 the slowest.
Waterjet cutting grades – from 1 to 5
Environmental impact – Waterjet cutting does no use any flammable gases. Therefore, it does not emit any dangerous fumes either. This is an important advantage over the more traditional thermal cutting methods.