What is Water Jet Cutting?
Water jet cutting is a completely cold cutting process. No heat affected zone is created in the metal. Consequently, even at the cut, the workpiece’s material properties are unchanged. Small parts, for example less than 150 x 150 mm also remain cold.
The thin jets of water (1 mm in diameter) promote maximum efficiency in the use of material. Cuts are extremely clean which reduces, and sometimes even eliminates, the need for further machining such as turning, milling or drilling. Furthermore, there are no cutting cracks with waterjet cutting. The process is thus ideal for cutting complex profiles and various types of holes, giving designers great freedom. Source
Water Jet Cutting Technology Explained
Abrasive waterjet can cut a variety of workpiece materials, including metal, rubber, glass, stone and composites. These materials can be difficult to machine conventionally.
Made from a titanium tube, this mesh cage is an orthopedic surgical implant for human bone repair. The “unfolded” pattern to the right under the coin shows how a 2D pattern can be transferred onto a cylindrical part. A rotary axis was used to cut the pattern into the tube with one of its smallest machine nozzles.
All of these stainless steel components for a motor-driven planetary gear set were cut with micro-abrasive waterjet. A ring gear is in the upper right corner. The planetary gear carrier is in the lower right corner, and the sun gear is in the upper middle. In the upper left corner are three of the five planetary gears. In the lower left corner is the mounting plate. The OD of the pitch circle of the planetary gear is 0.110 inch. There are ten teeth on the planetary gear, so therefore its circular pitch is 0.011 inch. Material thickness is 1/32 inch.
This plate of stainless steel demonstrates that extremely small holes and contours are possible with abrasive waterjet cutting using a micro nozzle capable of producing a stream as small as 0.010 inch, which is the diameter of the smallest hole in this sample.
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