Unicorn Sheet Metal Works

Unicorn Sheet Metal Works

Making metalwork

Water Jet Cutting FAQ

laser cutting, steel components, high quality laser cuttingSince we introduced the Bystronic ByJet Classic 4022 water jet cutting system to Unicorn Sheet Metal Works, we have fielded numerous questions about the process:

There must be some things water jet cutting can’t be used for?

True. Water jet can’t be used for cutting diamonds, tempered glass and some ceramics. There are probably a few other precious gems that water jets can’t cut but it has to be remembered that diamonds really are very hard. Tempered glass is designed to shatter on impact, which is why it is used for car windshields. Modern ceramics that have been designed specifically for their strength are often moulded into shape – or are cut using diamonds.

So, apart from metal, what else can water jets cut?

The reasons why water jet cutting is associated mostly with metals is that this is what most manufacturers want for their products. Metal for fabrication often comes in sheets, making it amenable to cutting by a variety of means, including water jet cutting, laser cutting and guillotining.

Water jetting can be used to cut and etch glass. It is commonly used to cut and shape stone, and it can be used for cutting wood. In fact, some musical instrument manufacturers use water jets to accurately cut precision parts for violins, cellos and double basses.

Water jetting are regularly used to cut rubber and plastics.

Can water jets be used to cut laminates?

Many modern materials are composites or laminates, where several layers of often different substances are added one on top of the other for extra strength or rigidity. With some water jet cutting machines, the spray head can separate the layers of the laminate, injecting pressurised water between the sheets. The Bystronic Byjet has been designed to allow for a range of techniques to successfully cut most laminate materials. If you have a more specific question in mind, please contact us directly.

What is the difference between water jet cutting and abrasive jet cutting?

15mm thick steel, high quality laser cut, steel componentsTechnically, water jet cutting uses a high pressure fine spray of pure water to cut through a material. With abrasive jet cutting, fine particles of sand, garnet or some other abrasive are injected into the water spray at a constant rate to give a harder cutting edge. Generally speaking, most water jet machines – including the Bystronic Byjet Classic used by Unicorn – use an abrasive mix as it speeds up the cutting process and gives a clearer, more defined edge to the product being fabricated.

What thickness of metals can your water jet unit cut?

Our water jet cutter can cut non specialist metals such as steel and aluminium upto 100mm. Beyond that, although it can be cut, it may be more cost effective to use a different method. If you have a specific application in mind, contact us directly to discuss your project.

How does water jet cutting work?

The principle is really easy. Take ordinary tap water and force it through a fine nozzle at pressures up to 3,600bar (54,000psi). To increase the cutting power, inject a constant flow of abrasive particles.

Can water jet only be use for cutting straight lines?

No, water jet cutting can be used to fashion intricate designs. It can be use to make the teeth on a cogwheel or cut a silhouette into glass.

What are the advantages of water jet cutting?

Water jet cutting can be faster, cheaper and more precise than other cutting techniques, including laser cutting, for a wide variety of materials. Water jet cutting can be used on shiny / reflective metals where laser cutting will not work. Because materials being cut by water jet are simultaneously cooled by the water tank surround the cutting bed, materials are not distorted by the heat generated by other cutting methods.

How much does water jet cutting cost?

The answer depends on how much of what you want cutting and by when. At Unicorn Sheet Metal Works Ltd we set great store by offering an excellent service at a highly competitive price. We are always happy to discuss manufacturing projects – including costs and options – with new or existing customers. For an online quotation visit Online Quote page

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