Water jet cutting is an incredibly powerful tool. This is a method of slicing through resilient materials using a mixture of pressurized water and abrasive additives. This combination creates extremely precise and accurate cuts. It’s often used in lieu of welding and other processes where the presence of any heat could cause an unwanted reaction in the substance that’s being cut. It’s used to cut everything from stainless steel and aluminum to copper, plastic, rubber, brass and titanium.
However, like any cutting method, water jet cutting service in San Francisco, CA does have its limitations. The key is to understand all the existing limitations and then design around them effectively. Here are eight things water jet cutting just can’t get through:
- Diamonds: Diamond is the hardest material on Earth. It can only be scratched by something of equal or greater hardness. It’s completely impervious to water jet cutting, as only another diamond is strong enough to scratch a diamond.
- Tempered glass: It’s impossible to cut tempered glass with a water jet. The process of water jet cutting places the glass under extreme stress. The tempered glass will shatter into thousands of small pieces the moment the cutting process begins. Tempered glass is actually designed to break when it’s disturbed, which is why it’s commonly used in windshields.
- Ceramics: Most water jet cutting services in San Francisco, CA don’t recommend cutting ceramics. Typically, ceramics are so hard that it isn’t economical to try to cut through them with a water jet.
- Composite materials: Composite materials also can’t be effectively cut with a water jet. The water seeps between all the different layers and completely delaminates the material.
- Some steel: Water jet cutting is an effective option for most steel. Unfortunately, it’s not a feasible option for cutting through steel that’s thicker than approximately 7.5 centimeters or thinner than 5 centimeters.
- Semi-liquid materials: A water jet cannot cut through anything liquid or even semi-liquid, such as sand or cement slurry. The materials will simply blend back together after the water jet passes through because the liquid content is so high.
- Iron: Iron is too brittle for a water jet to cut an accurate profile. The iron will usually just crumble or flake under the extremely abrasive stream of the water jet.
- Engraving: Water jets are too strong to be a practical option to engrave or cut partway through any material. It’s difficult to get accurate depth control. Plus, the removed area is subject to the thickness of the cutting stream, which is usually around a millimeter.
Despite its limitations, water jet cutting is an incredibly powerful method. Mach 1 Waterjet, Inc. is committed to helping our customers cut just about everything else, whether that’s metal, stone, plastic, wood or even turf for fields! Our team is happy to sit down with you to discuss whether water jet cutting services in San Francisco, CA are the right solution for your unique application. Call us today for more information about our services and methods!