What Is a Waterjet Cutter?

A waterjet cutter is a versatile industrial tool that can be used to cut a wide variety of wear resistant steels and other materials such as wood and glass. The waterjet cuts through material by combining a very high-pressure jet of water with fine particles of garnet (60,000 to 90,000 psi). This combination “gouges out” or removes tiny particles of the wear resistant steel, which effectively makes the cut. Water alone with no garnet can be used to cut softer material such as wood, plastic or rubber.

History of Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet cutting has been around since the Roman Empire, when miners and builders used fast moving water to remove material. However, the modern waterjet wasn’t developed until the 1930’s, when paper companies used high pressure water to cut paper and other soft material. As technology developed, waterjet cutting then became used in aerospace and automotive industries to cut plastic and other harder materials that were not available commercially. By the 1970’s, the nozzle or head through which high-pressure water and garnet flow had improved to reduce wear and focus the “stream” of water to achieve very precise tolerances and consistency.

Pros and Cons of Waterjet Cutting

Main Advantage of Waterjet Cutting

The main advantage of waterjet cutting is the absence of heat. Cutting with plasma, flame or laser generates significant heat and can affect the chemistry, properties and performance of the material around the cutting area. The area around the cut is known as the HAZ (HEAT AFFECTED ZONE). The waterjet option leaves the material in the same condition after processing.

Main Disadvantage of Waterjet Cutting

The main disadvantage of waterjet cutting is speed. For example, plasma will cut steel 1” thick at 85 inches per minute, whereas a waterjet only cuts at 5 inches per minute.

Titus Steel offers a variety of cutting options including high-definition plasma, oxy-acetylene, waterjet and high-speed shuttle saws. Contact us to discuss all your fabrication projects.