Salford Engineering Solutions Ltd

Unicorn Sheet Metal Works

CNC Waterjet cutting & when to use it

The waterjet is a versatile tool that’ll cut through just about anything bar diamonds and bulletproof materials. Steel, aluminium, copper, brass, plastics and even ceramics and stone, you name it, it cuts it! Due to waterjets not using any heat when cutting, they are the only way to produce certain parts without any deformation or a HAZ (Heat Affected Zone) where the cutting has taken place.

Materials it’s best at cutting ;

Here at Unicorn our waterjet cuts vast quantities of aluminium between 6mm and 50mm in thickness, due to aluminiums malleable nature a waterjet will actually cut some thicknesses of aluminium faster than a laser cutter would mostly with no burr or rag. Saving us and our customer time and money when it comes to post-processing.  It’s other area of specialty is thick plastics and rubbers. Thick plastics and rubbers can only be cut using cutting methods with very little or no heat involved or they will melt, this makes waterjet cutting the perfect way to achieve a clean cut edge without wasting any material. See photos below of cut quality achieved on some clear 10mm thick plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jobs that waterjets specialize in ;

As mentioned previously, the waterjet uses no heat when cutting. This means it really excels at times where a laser or plasma cutter would have issues with the material overheating. If you attempt to cut something with small holes or cutouts in thick material with a laser, there’s a strong possibility of the cutout welding itself into the plate and then deforming when you’re trying to remove it. That’s not an issue for a waterjet, see photos below of a 20mm thick steel part with a cutout only 2mm wide in places and 25mm thick steel press tools with 1.5mm slots.

 

 

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