While there are many benefits associated with water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA, there are also some limitations, as there are with any type of machining and material cutting. Here’s a quick overview of some of those limitations.
A lack of depth control
A lack of depth control can be a limitation for some types of applications, though there are various techniques you can employ that can compensate for this lack.
You’ll find, for example, that it’s not typically going to be practical to use water jet cutting for engraving, in which you’re only cutting part of the way through a material. It’s very difficult to maintain an accurate level of depth control with water jet cutting, and then you also have to consider the limitations in terms of thickness—the area you’d engrave would be limited to the thickness of the water jet cutting stream, which is very thin and not necessarily the best for many types of engraving processes.
Therefore, if you’re in need of any level of depth control when cutting your material, the best method to use would likely be laser engraving or printing. If you need slots or pocket features on your material, there are design modifications you can also perform, or you could even use milling in some circumstances.
Kerf width issues
The “kerf” is the material that gets removed by the cutter. The width of a water jet cutting stream is generally about 0.04 inches, or 1 mm, though there are some capable of cutting a 0.5 mm as well. This means if you require cutting inside an area that is smaller than that kerf width, you’re going to be out of luck, at least if you’re dead set on using water jet cutting.
Shape of the cut
This sort of goes along with the kerf width issues we already discussed, but it’s also important to note that the shape of the water jet stream is not going to be perfectly sharp. This means there are going to be some applications in which you’re not going to get the extreme level of precision you need. While water jet cutting is much more precise than other types of options, such as plasma cutting, there are still other options that are even more precise that are more ideal for some types of applications.
As we already mentioned, the width of a water jet stream is 1 mm, or 0.04 inches. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the smallest hole you can make in a material—remember that the water jet stream must first be able to break through the material before slicing along the cutting line. The power that comes from that initial blast of water and abrasive is going to create a larger hole. If you require an extremely small piercing hole, water jet cutting may or may not be able to give you what you’re looking for.
For more information about the limitations of water jet cutting in San Francisco, CA, contact Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. today.