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A Brief Introduction to Water Jet Cutting

Cutting base materials into specified shapes is at the heart of any fabrication process. Many methods are available to end-users who need precision cuts, but water jet cutting has the ability to of er some unique benefits that can greatly enhance the quality of any finished product.

Water jet cutting is a relatively misunderstood process, which prevents end-users from requesting this type of cutting when they place fabrication orders. A better understanding of what water jet cutting is, how it works, and the benefits this unique process can provide will a low you to better determine when water jet cutting is the right option for your fabrication needs. What Is Water Jet Cutting? Water jet cutting is a unique fabrication method that combines high-pressure water with an abrasive grit to cut through base materials. The abrasive grit is what does the actual cutting via a mechanical sawing action. This approach to cutting helps create a smooth and precise cut surface. Water jet cutting can be used for a wide range of materials, including acrylic and metal. Base materials that are extremely brittle (like tempered glass or some ceramics) are unable to withstand exposure to the high-pressure water stream, which makes water jet cutting a poor option for these brittle materials. How Does Water Jet Cutting Work? The basis of any successful water jet cutting project is pressurized water. Clean water is drawn in through an inlet valve and directed to an intensifier pump. A hydraulic pump pressurizes hydraulic fluid, which causes pressure to switch back and forth on opposite sides of a piston. This transfer of pressure is what pressurizes the water in the intensifier pump. Once the system reaches the proper pressure, the water is transferred to the cutting head. An abrasive grit is mixed in with the pressurized water, and the mixture is directed through the cutting head. A specialized metering system helps control the volume of grit distributed at any given time. As the pressurized water and grit mixture makes contact with the base material, the grit generates a sawing motion that helps cut away excess material. Why Is Water Jet Cutting Beneficial? Water jet cutting can of er several unique benefits when compared with other fabrication and machining processes. The ability to cut a wide range of materials is one of the advantages water jet cutting can offer. Another advantage is the ability to work with very thin and precise parts. Water jet cutting produces very little sideway force during the machining process. The low sideway force generated helps to keep the part being fabricated firmly in place without the use of bulky weights. Thin walls can be created without the worry of material movement when a fabricator uses water jet cutting. The component being fabricated will be exposed to fewer potentially damaging elements when water jet cutting is used. Any heat that is generated during the cutting process is easily absorbed by the water. This prevents any potential warping or scorching that may occur during fabrication. Water jet cutting can also be completed without the use of a start hole. Eliminating the need for a start hole can significantly reduce the amount of time required to cut each component, and it can create unlimited design possibilities. You will have a wide range of options available to you when it comes to using a machining process during fabrication. Water jet cutting should be given careful consideration if you need to maintain precision or work with very thin materials. The unique approach utilized in water jet cutting can of er some benefits that other cutting process do not. Contact MGM Plastics to learn more about using water jet cutting to fabricate vital components.


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