What is waterjet cutting?
While the term 'waterjet' is often used, they are technically referred to as abrasivejets. A simple definition would be that waterjets are precision cutting machines that perform their cutting with a highly pressurized stream of water. An abrasive is added to the water to allow the waterjet to precisely cut virtually any material. The water and abrasive pass through a nozzle where it is pressurized to levels of up to 50,000 psi to produce the energy required for cutting.
What is the highest precision obtainable, in terms of the final part's accuracy?
OMAX generally advertises +/- 0.005" (+/- 0.1 mm) as a typical tolerance for most parts. However, for thicker parts, it may be difficult to achieve.
How does a waterjet (abrasive jet) compare with a laser?
Abrasive jets can machine many materials that lasers cannot. (reflective materials in particular)
Abrasive jets are great with Aluminum, Copper, stainless steel and other reflex metals. These are not easy to cut with a laser, and can damage the laser.
Abrasive jets do not heat your part. Thus there is no thermal distortion or hardening of the material.
Precision abrasive jet machines can obtain about the same or higher tolerances than lasers (especially as thickness increases).
Abrasive jets are safer. No burnt fingers, no noxious fumes, and no fires.
Abrasive jets are more environmentally friendly.
Abrasive jets are capable of similar tolerances on thin parts, and better on parts thicker than .5"
Abrasive jets do not loose much "focus" when cutting over uneven surfaces.
You can't stay long at the same point with laser or fusion of material will occur.
How large of a part can you cut?
Waterjet Design has two waterjets with the larger having a cutting area of 55 inches by 100 inches.
What is the thickest material the OMAX waterjet can cut?
There is a practical limit, and a physical limit. (The Grand Canyon was essentially created with a natural abrasive jet.) The practical limit for most materials and conditions is about two inches thick. Thicker than that, and tolerances drop while machining times increase. The physical limit is the maximum Z-axis travel, which is typically around 8 inches (20 cm).
Why aren't cuts made at even higher pressures?
While it is technically possible to make equipment that can achieve pressures beyond 100,000 psi, there are fatigue limits to consider. This limits the practical range of pressures to be below 60,000 psi (414,000 kPa). Anything higher, and reliability drops very fast. For this reason, We operate at below 60,000 psi (414,000 kPa). All waterjet manufacturers share this limitation.
What CAD/CAM programs can be used by the OMAX waterjet?
Layout is a built-in CAD/CAM program developed by OMAX specifically for the job. Because it is designed for making OMAX tool paths, it is extremely fast. It has all of the features needed to draw parts from scratch, import files from other CAD/CAM software, and create tool paths quickly. OMAX file formats are published, and public. This means most major third party CAD/CAM software packages, such as MasterCam® and others, support the OMAX Routed Data tool path file directly. Other CAD formats, including DXF and DWG can also be imported into OMAX Layout.
What are the limiting factors in getting a precision part?
Typically as the thickness of the part increases, the ease of obtaining precision decreases.