By now you’ve probably heard about how awesome water jet cutting is, but you might not understand what makes it so special just yet. Many people hear the word “water” and think it would either not cut through their material or damage it, but the truth is that there is very little a water jet can’t handle. Stone, wood, steel—you name it, and a water jet can cut it. But the “how” of it is probably more interesting than the “what” of it, so let’s take a look at how it all works.
The following are some frequently asked questions about how water jet cutters in San Francisco, CA work.
How can water cut a material like steel?
Truth be told, water is not the only thing doing the cutting. While highly pressurized water may be shooting out of the cutting nozzle, it is also carrying an abrasive material in the stream that allows it to cut more like a band saw. While pressurized water is a force to be reckoned with on its own, the addition of an abrasive component makes it even more powerful. Some people might hear “water jet” and think that it is safe and could not hurt the operator, but the water cuts most ALL materials, so don’t be fooled by the name!
Where does the water go?
Unlike many other means of cutting, a water jet produces a byproduct with the water it shoots out. This water is normally caught in what is called a “catcher tank” positioned below the nozzle and the material being cut. As the water and abrasive material pass through the item being cut, it is captured below. The water already in the catcher tank also helps to slow the velocity of the stream.
What controls the cut?
Many water jet cutting machines are controlled by advanced computer systems that can be programmed to make very specific cuts. Some allow the user to input very advanced designs for the machine to cut. The water nozzle travels along an X-Y axis, similar to the Etch-A-Sketch you played with as a kid, only this system allows much more sophisticated movement than a human could produce with knobs.
Is the nozzle limited to straight cuts?
The short answer is, no! Many modern water jet cutters have articulating heads that allow the system to cut more beveled edges and angles that were not present in some of the older systems. This means more flexibility and creative range, rather than simple straight cuts. Because the thickness of certain materials causes the jet to bend as it cuts, machine makers have started to correct this with advanced software to make thick material cutting even more accurate.
There is a range of uses for water jet cutting, as well as many types of materials that can be cut with water jets, including aluminum, copper, brass, glass, rubber, ceramics, stone and wood. To learn more about water jet cutters in San Francisco, CA or for additional information regarding professional water jet cutting services, don’t hesitate to contact the skilled team at Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. today.