Waterjet Cutting – Taking Manufacturing and the Arts to New Heights

by Marjorie Steele, Editor for IQS

It’s hard to imagine what the manufacturing industry was like before waterjet cutting. Sure, there was laser cutting, but waterjet cutting accomplishes so much more on such a wide spectrum of materials that it’s difficult to believe we were ever able to manufacture parts without it. If you work in or own a job shop, you’re likely already familiar with the range of materials that can be cut by waterjet – it’s far easier to list which materials can’t be cut by waterjets. They are: tempered glass, brittle ceramics and diamonds. Everything else is fair game for this cold cutting process.

As usual, nature wins. The clean, erosive power of water – especially when combined with fine abrasive grit – cannot be topped in power or precision. Not only does the manufacturer have far more design freedom than traditional saw cutting can render, but he or she can also fabricate materials without worry over burrs, warped edges and heat damage. In many ways, this unique, 100% environmentally sustainable fabrication process has allowed for the fabrication of parts which simply weren’t possible before, not only in manufacturing, but for artists as well.

The amazing diversity of products fabricated by waterjet cutting is better shown than told, so here are a few of waterjet cutting’s more spectacular creations:

“Garden of Fantasy” sculpture made by artist Don Drumm for the Jean and Milton Cooper Cancer Center in Akron, Ohio.

Marble carpet by Javastone – one of their many intricate waterjet cut designs.

NASCAR parts like these cars’ polycarbonate front panels and front spindle suspension components are waterjet cut in order to maintain clean, precision cuts without sacrificing material integrity.

Donovan Rock in Bellingham Washington is a 3-ton marble which levitates on a razor thin bead of water. The top and bottom stones were cut from the same glacial rock.

These complex aluminum gears have been cut with beautiful precision.

Foam designer chair.

Ok, so we probably could have lived happily as a civilization without the weird purple chair. But the rest of these products make it clear that water jet cutting takes both manufacturing and art to new levels of beauty, design and technological advancement. For more information on fabrication capabilities, contact your nearest water jet cutter!

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