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Water Jet Cutting

  • Ideal for Intricate Designs
  • High Cutting Accuracy & Tight Tolerances
  • No Heat-Affected Zones

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Water jet cutting service part with its design on SmartQuote

Precision Cutting
with Water Jet Cutting

Versatile Multi-Material Cutting Service

When you need precision metal parts cut with a high degree of accuracy, Fathom’s water jet cutting service is a versatile and cost-effective solution. Fathom’s large format water jet machines can cut materials up to 6 inches thick with a tolerance of 0.005″- 0.015″. This cutting method is well-suited for everything from prototypes to low- and medium-production parts.

Water Jet Cutting  //  Get A Quote

How Does Water Jet Cutting Work?

A water jet cutting machine uses a high-pressure water jet to cut a thin line in the selected material. A CNC controller directs the cutting head for high precision and repeatability.

Some materials require an additional abrasive, which is added to the jet nozzle. Abrasive water jets are ideal for heavy gauge applications with materials such as aluminum, steel, titanium, Inconel, brass, tool steel or composites.

Water jet cutting can cut holes, complex shapes, and sharp corners. Because of the accuracy of the water jet cutting process, waste is minimized. Fathom’s water jet cutting service is ideal for cutting larger or multiple-part projects, thanks to the large work envelope of these cutting machines.

How does Water jet cutting service work
Water jet cutting material

What Materials Can be Processed Using Fathom’s Water Jet Cutting Service?

Materials that are suitable for cutting using this versatile method include:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Titanium
  • Inconel
  • Brass
  • Tool steel
  • Composites

Advantages of Water Jet Cutting

  • It can be used with a wide variety of material types
  • No thermal impact or change in the material structure
  • Incredible accuracy with low set-up cost
  • Variable speed to maintain the vertical edge quality
  • Minimal kerf
  • Minimal secondary finishing required
  • Efficient material usage
  • Cost-effective
  • Produce complex shapes
  • Quick turnaround (6-8 business days)

Biggest Advantage //
No Heat-Affected Zones

Many methods of metal fabrication involve heat and other stresses, which can affect the chemical composition of the metal along the path of the cut, weakening it. During laser cutting, for example, the laser not only cuts the metal, but heat treats the adjacent edges. This can cause problems when fabricating springs out of sheet metal, for example, causing them to become brittle and break.

Water jet machining doesn’t cause any heat-affected zones and is preferred for parts that require multiple bends or intricate shapes as part of their fabrication process.

Water Jet Cutting Specifications

Fathom’s water jet cutting service is ideal for cutting larger or multiple part projects with rapid water level control for submerged cutting and a work envelope offering X-Y cutting travel from 13′ 4″ up to 26′ 8″ x 6′ 8″ (4,064 – 8,128 mm x 2,032 mm).

Water jet machining provides higher cutting accuracies and tighter tolerances than standard cutting processes:

  • Sheet capacity up to 60″x120″
  • Tolerance .005″-.015″
  • Kerf .040″
  • Material thickness up to 8″
Water jet cutting specifications

How Does Water Jet Cutting Compare to Other Cutting Methods?

Material Thickness Tolerance Kerf Part Volume Set Up Cost Lead Time  ** Notes
OMAX WATERJET Up to 6″ 0.005″- 0.015″ .020″/.040″ 1 to 5000 Low 6-8 days Metal, glass, plastic, stone, rubber, kevlar, carbon fiber, ceramics, etc. Taper up to 59 °
MICROCUT™ .0005″ – 0.5″ 0.0005″ -0.005″ 0.009″, 0.011″,  0.0196″ 1 to 5000 Low 6-8 days Metal, glass, plastic, stone, rubber, kevlar, laminates, carbon fiber, ceramics, etc.
FIBER LASER AL: 0.250″ SS: 0.375″ CRS: 0.500″ COP: 0.250″ Brass: 0.125″ 0.002″ – 0.005″ .008″ 1 to High-Volume Low 6-8 days Metals – Fast
WIRE EDM 0.001″ – 6″ 0.0005″ 0.005″ 1-200 Is Best Low 6-8 days Conductive Metals, Carbon
* CHEM ETCH 0.005″ – 0.060″ Is +/- 10% of material thickness, .002″ min. Equal to metal thickness 1- Infinity $350 Min. 6-8 days Metal Only. No Burrs. Beveled Edges. Half Etch and Holes.

* Inner radius should be 100% of material thickness.  Outer Radius should be 75% of material thickness.
**Dependent on geometry, volume and material:  EXPEDITE options available.

Need to Cut Thin Metal Precision Parts?

Microcut™ micro water jet cutting technology is a revolutionary, abrasive waterjet technology, developed to cut materials up to 0.5 inches thick with a tolerance as tight as 0.0005 inch. It’s exclusively available via Fathom’s Ithaca, NY operation.

Learn more about micro water jet cutting here.

micro cutting example

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