Many processes use heat or produce heat when cutting material.
Waterjets can be attached to a variety of machines. There are hand-held waterblasting wands with rotating tips used to remove paint; stationary jets used for high-speed tissue paper slitting; single axis systems used for cutting baked goods, fiber cement board or other product moving off of a roll; and still others attached to 7-axis pedestal robots used for trimming automotive interiors. But the most common machine used to hold or move a waterjet (or an abrasive waterjet) is the shapecutting machine tool. These are similar to machines that cut with plasma, laser, or router.
With this machine the material is placed (or held) on a work table and the cutting head is moved in an XY plane over top. Sometimes the head has 5 axes of motion for bevel or 3D cutting. I will use the abrasive waterjet shapecutting system in my example from this point forward.
Let’s start with the basics.
Waterjets are cool. They cut cool – they look cool – and the more you understand how they work and what they can cut the more you appreciate the technology. After 30 years of waterjetting I still marvel at water and sand cutting through super hard materials. It’s just water and abrasive, for goodness sake. How cool is that?!