“How does your waterjet cutter work?”

how does your waterjet cutter work?A few months back, we provided a breakdown on the operation of our brake press machine, this time around we thought we’d give the same treatment for our waterjet to give you a more detailed look into one of our more popular fabrication capabilities.

A water jet cutter (or waterjet) is a piece of machinery capable of cutting a variety of materials using an extremely high-pressure jet of water; or in our case, a mixture of water and an abrasive substance like garnet. Having what is known as an abrasive jet allows us to cut harder materials such as metals, stone, plastics, concrete, ceramics and glass, whereas a ‘pure’ or a water-only jet would only be able to cut softer materials such as fabrics, rubber or meat within food processing as this type of cutter is compliant with the strict health regulations which govern the industry.

Comparable to our laser cutting machine, waterjet cutting is often used during the fabrication of intricate and often repeat parts as it ensures a high level of accuracy. For example, waterjets can cut without interfering with a material’s inherent structure our cutter can comfortably work within an accuracy of 0.05 mm, smaller than the thickness of a human hair. An additional benefit of using this type of machinery within the metal fabrication industry is that the kerf (or width of the cut) can be as narrow as 0.5 mm which aids in reducing the amount of waste material produced, by allowing parts to be nested more closely together than traditional cutting methods. In contrast to other equipment like laser or plasma cutters, the waste water produced is non-toxic and also easily recycled for repeated use, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Just like with operating any other style of CNC machinery, the waterjet is controlled by a computer in which co-ordinates created via CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture for short) software, which can be used on any standard desktop PC. This special coding is relatively simple computer language that a CNC machine can understand and execute once uploaded to the system. The workpiece is then held in place on the bed of the machine, ready for the cutting. Motors and drive components move and control the jet nozzle across the machine axes, executing the programmed motions via a sophisticated feedback system that constantly monitors and adjusts the cutter’s position. As the cutter uses a combination of highly pressurised water and abrasive, it is able to cut material without interfering with its inherent structure as it doesn’t produce a heat-affected zone, which in turn minimises the effects heat can have on materials which can often lead to metals warping.



The waterjet is an all-round versatile and reliable piece of apparatus which can assist with several manufacturing tasks but that isn’t all we offer here at Red Box. From design, cutting, folding, welding and rolling, we can accommodate any of your sheet metal fabrication requirements. If you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch with our Sales Team today on +44 (0)2380 254285 or via email at sales@redboxengineering.com