Before I get into how they work, check out Water Jet Machine Reviews for a look at which water jet machines are being recommended.
Wet Jet Precision's Water Jet Tool is quite a jewel! Sorry for getting corny there. But seriously this water jet really is kinda neat.
How do water jet cutters work you say? Very well . . . if I have no leaks, the pump is working right and the jewel and focusing tube are in good shape. Which leads me to. . .
How it works!
The process of water jet cutting forces a large volume of abrasive water (with the pump) through a small orifice (the jewel) causing the particles to accelerate. This acceleration of particles focused (focusing tube) in a small area of the work piece erodes the material until it is separated. This process can leave a nice sand blasted finish on the cut edge.
The "abrasive" is generally garnet. . .same material glued to most sandpaper. That makes sense if it's going to cut things.
This super high pressure stream of water is the carrier of this abrasive grit. The abrasive mixes with the water through a venturi effect in what is commonly called the “focusing tube” just prior to cutting. This mixture of water and abrasive grit exits the focusing tube at speeds of approximately mach 2.5.
WOW! That's about 1900 mph!
Pressures for Water Jet Cutters range between 45,000 to 90,000 psi for standard cutting models. For brittle, fragile, or delicate materials, piercing pressures range between 15,000 to 20,000 psi, and resume the higher cutting pressures when the pierce has been completed. This low pressure pierce is not true of all water jet cutter machines, and cutting models.
The material to be cut is typically placed on a bed of vertical steel slats. Yes, these slats get cut, and must be periodically rotated top to bottom, end to end, and right to left as they become too riddled to use in the same position.
What about very thin materials, or materials like rubber that are not rigid? Yes indeed. I can cut them also. And I do! I have to use a sacrificial sheet of "something" that is rigid enough to support the material that is being cut.
You say, "How can you cut tiny parts?"
Tiny parts that will fall into the tub of water jet cutters must be designed with a small tab that keeps them connected to the main sheet. These parts are then detabbed afterwards.
Let's see, what else are you curious about?
Why doesn't the jet cut through the bottom of the tank? It will if I leave it in one spot long enough. It is recommended that you not take your coffee break while testing the jet. Bad things can happen!
Not to worry though, when cutting thick materials, even though the jet head is moving slower, the stream's cutting ability is dissipated as the cutting takes place. With thinner materials the jet tool head is moving too fast to be an issue.
All of this cutting happens with the use of CAD/CAM software, giving the "marching orders" or XYZ coordinates to the jet tool head.
Very precise cutting!
Many machines can hold a +-.001 tolerance. This tolerance depends on many variables, the greatest being thickness.
Any other questions? Give us a call, and I'll see that we cover it.