Waterjet & Thick Materials

Cutting Thick Materials

Do you ever look at thick metal on bridges, airplanes, mining components and wonder how did that thick, hard, giant part go from raw material to part? Well, there is a good chance that the material was cut using a CNC Waterjet Machine.

Waterjet’s can cut:

  • Marble
  • Steel Plate
  • Granite
  • Stone
  • Other Metals
  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Stainless steel

For a more complete list of materials that waterjet’s can cut check out this engineer’s guide to waterjet cutting.

How does it work?

Waterjets are the go-to method when it comes to materials that need to be manufactured from thick raw plate. The cold cutting process of waterjet is a main factor in its ability to keep tight tolerances and unaffected edges in manufacturing their complicated parts. A waterjet system can produce power that ranges from 30,000 to 90,000 psi. Combine that with an abrasive sand that gives the steam additional cutting power and you have the most effective cutting method on the planet.

Waterjet job shops will often be a favorite for manufacturers in mining looking to cut parts for large thick plate creating different components. Waterjet can also be a favorite in aviation where thick materials like Inconel, and titanium need to be thick but more importantly need to be to tolerance.

Key Benefits to Cutting Thick Materials with Waterjet

  • Fast cutting and high-quality parts, increasing your productivity

  • Raw material savings

  • No thermal damage

  • Net or near-net cutting

Preparation to cutting thick materials

Handling heavy, thick materials means that there needs to be some additional steps to make sure that parts meet the high standards needed. To start, one of the first steps is to make sure the machine is using a low mesh abrasive. This means the sand is denser and sharper, working better on the thick material.

Secondly making sure the part is programmed correctly, meaning dimensions are double checked before cutting as thicker material will usually cost a considerable amount more in raw costs. Thick parts will often take time, especially when a fine smooth finish is required. Time and patience will sometimes need to be used depending on the specs of the job. Material finish should always be discussed prior to confirming price to make sure both parties are on the same page.

Lastly if able cut a test part. Taking a small part of the scrap material and cutting small sample to confirm finish, and tolerances is usually beneficial for both parties. This will be more likely if the material is foreign to the specific waterjet service company

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