Water jet cutters can be incredibly interesting to observe when in action. They appear to slice right through materials with minimal effort, creating clean cuts that are stunningly precise. But the operation of a water jetting machine is far from simple—in fact, there are some very complicated parts at work that produce the incredible level of pressure, accuracy and velocity that we see while cuts are being made.
Take a look at what you’ll find if you disassemble water jet cutters in San Francisco, CA and how each important piece plays a role in the operation of the cutter itself:
- Water inlet: This is where the process starts. Water is pumped into the water jet cutter at a high pressure—usually 3,000 psi or higher—to concentrate it as it starts to pass through the machine, before exiting the nozzle at the end.
- Orifice: This component of the water jet cutter is usually comprised of a super-strong gemstone—like a diamond—which holds up to the tremendous pressure of the water while also increasing it. An extremely small hole is drilled through the orifice, which channels water rapidly, to drastically increase its pressure.
- Abrasive inlet: Because most water cutting projects involve some sort of abrasive additive to the water—mostly garnet or hard sand—there needs to be a way to introduce it into the process. An abrasive inlet sends the additive into the mixing chamber (see next) consistently, allowing it to homogenize with the water.
- Mixing chamber: This is where pressurized water and abrasive come together and are concentrated into the powerful blast that we eventually see coming out of the nozzle. The mixing chamber is a long cylinder that has the same function as a gun barrel: to create trajectory for the expulsion of the pressurized water.
- Nozzle: The very last piece of the puzzle, this is where pressurized water or mixtures are ejected at high velocities! Nozzles can be optimized for certain pressures or shapes to promote different types of cuts on different materials.
Depending on the water jet in question, there may be more bells or whistles, but when it boils right down to it, water jet cutters in San Francisco, CA usually require these basic components to function at a high level of performance.
Its also important to remember that water jetting technology is ever-evolving, which means new and exciting additions are being made all the time. Today, water jetting can be done in three and five axis capacities, meaning more peripheral equipment to program precise cuts. In the same way a CNC machine can make plasma cuts based on programmed motions, water jetting too has found a digitized solution.
As the technology of water jetting continues to evolve, innovators continue to tinker with the parts and pieces that make it effective. But, no matter how it evolves, water jetting is sure to remain one of the most effective and convenient ways to cut, no matter the industry!