When you need to cut metal, you have plenty of options. Have you considered water jet cutting? This technique is used for metal fabrication, from machinery parts to decorative objects. It can also shape, carve and ream metal for a variety of different applications. Water jet cutting is highly versatile and can produce both simple and complex designs.
If you’re interested in working with a local water jet cutting specialist in Umatilla County, OR, read on to learn more about the process.
What is water jet cutting?
Water jet cutting uses a highly pressurized stream of water to cut metal and other stock materials. For certain materials, an abrasive substance like garnet is added to the stream, giving it the power to cut dense metal. However, some water jet cutting can be accomplished using pressurized water alone.
Water jet cutting was developed in the 1950s. It was originally used to cut lumber. Later, as the technology developed, water jet cutting was able to slice metal and other difficult materials. There are many kinds of water jets that can be used to achieve different fabrication results.
How does water jet cutting work?
The water jet cutter is connected to a high-pressure water pump. From there, the water travels through the nozzle at a high speed, which is powerful enough to cut the material. The nozzle can be switched out to achieve different cut widths. Abrasives like garnet grit or aluminum oxide are added when necessary.
A catcher tank is located underneath the cutting surface to contain the water used during the cutting process. Because the water jet has no associated heat element, it can cut sensitive materials without burning or melting them, or changing their intrinsic structural properties.
Benefits of water jet cutting
Here’s a closer look at several of the key benefits associated with water jet cutting:
- Can cut a variety of materials: From foam to lumber to metal, water jet cutting is a versatile fabrication tool. It can be used on most metals, plastics, stone and lumber. Even hard-to-machine materials like heat-treated steel alloys can be cut with a water jet.
- No heat affected zone (HAZ): Laser cutting and other heat-generating cutting methods can burn, melt or change the structural properties of the material. This is called the “heat affected zone,” and those materials must be heat treated again after cutting. Water jet cutting avoids this problem. There’s no HAZ because the water doesn’t generate heat at all—so you can use pre-heat-treated metals. This keeps costs down.
- Cost-effective: Speaking of keeping your costs down, water jet cutting tends to be a cost-effective cutting method. That’s because you won’t need to heat treat your parts after cutting. Unlike other cutting methods, it doesn’t require tool changes or special clamps and fixtures.
Water jet cutting is a smart solution for many machining projects. Are you interested in learning more about what this versatile process can do for you? The team at NW Metal Fabricators Inc. is happy to discuss your project with you. Call our local water jet cutting service in Umatilla County, OR today to learn more about our process and get a quote.
Categorised in: Water Jet Cutting Services
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