As you very well may know, water jet cutting is about more than just high-powered water—it also incorporates an abrasive that’s used to quite literally saw through whatever material is being cut. Generally, that abrasive is garnet. Garnet offers the perfect hardness to provide clean and powerful cuts and outshines many lesser-used hard or soft abrasives.
But garnet in and of itself comes with some flexibility in terms of the grit size being used in cuts. For example, a larger grit size isn’t going to produce the same results as a smaller grit, which might make it applicable for some applications but not others. Depending on what you’re cutting, what type of cuts are being made and the fineness of the tolerance of each cut, you could have a very important decision to make before you start jetting.
There are actually three different “mesh” grades that abrasive comes in, each representing a different grit size:
- 100-200 mesh is the smallest grit size
- 50-80 mesh represents a common standard and is a moderate grit
- 50-60 mesh tends to be for rougher grit applications exclusively
So, the question is: how does grit size affect water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA? There are a couple different answers to this question:
- Surface finish: If you’re jetting for a particular surface finish, grit size is going to be important. Smaller grit is going to provide a finer finish than larger grit, so for example, a 100 mesh will be preferred over a 50 mesh if you need a more polished surface aesthetic.
- Cut speed: The speed at which you make cuts will have an impact on everything from the cleanliness of the cut to the depth at which cuts can be made. The rule of thumb is that generally, the larger the grit size, the faster the cut. So, for example, a 50 mesh will blast through a medium quicker than an 80 mesh.
- Abrasive cost: Though this aspect might not affect the actual process of water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA, it’s still an important factor to consider when choosing grit. As you might imagine, smaller mesh batches are going to be more expensive than larger grits. Based on the cost of the mesh you’re looking to use, your quote per project may change slightly.
It’s also important to remember that grit size is not exclusively responsible for cutting performance. Tube size and pressure settings must also be considered. The grit of your garnet is merely the catalyst for some of the above factors in conjunction with these additional variables.
It’s important to assess the specifications of each and every water jetting job before choosing the grit necessary to accomplish that project. Tailoring garnet mesh to the project will provide the best results possible and allow you to tailor your approach to each cut in a way that streamlines workflow.