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What is a Waterjet CNC?
Are you looking for a used WaterJet CNC machine for sale at a fair price? We can help. Every waterjet CNC for sale at CNCMachines.net has been thoroughly inspected and can offer you the benefits of waterjet CNC technology without the expense of buying new. On this page, we’ll help you evaluate different types of waterjet CNC cutting, decide on the type of pump that works best for you, compare waterjet CNC cutting to laser CNC cutting and help you prepare your facility for a used waterjet CNC.
Types of Waterjet CNC Cutting
Waterjet cutting has been around for a while but really gained momentum when the computing power was applied to the concept. Computers made it possible to predict the shape of the jet, so you could compensate for it and make predictable cuts. In broad terms, “waterjet CNC cutting” is any kind of cutting tool that uses a high-pressure stream of water to cut in combination with a computer to direct the cut. Today waterjet cutting is broken down into two main categories, abrasive waterjet, and pure waterjet cutting.
Abrasive Waterjet CNC
Waterjet CNC’s that have an abrasive added to the water accelerate the cutting process making it possible to cut much harder materials than with water alone. Abrasive waterjet CNC’s usually use garnet with grit sizes ranging from 50 to 220 mesh, though 80 mesh is very common.
A sample list of materials that can be cut on an abrasive waterjet in order of cutting speed (from slowest to fastest):
- Alumina Ceramic
- Tungsten Carbide
- Hastelloy C276
- Inconnel 718
- D2 Tool Steel
- Stainless Steel
- Mild Steel
- Aluminum Bronze
- Naval Bronze
- Brass (half hard)
- Carbon Fiber Composite
- Graphite Epoxy
This list is not at all comprehensive but does give you an idea of the types of material commonly cut on abrasive waterjet CNC’s. Often a used waterjet CNC is capable of switching from pure to abrasive CNC cutting.
Pure Waterjet CNC
As the name implies, pure waterjet CNC cutting involves cutting only with water. This type of waterjet CNC cutting works best for softer materials. Most of the used waterjet CNC machines we offer have the ability to abrasive cut.
Deciding on the Pump Type for a Used Waterjet CNC
CNC waterjet’s come in two basic pump types: direct drive and intensifier. The direct drive pump waterjets have plungers which are driven by a crankshaft to pressurize the water. Intensifiers use hydraulic rams instead.
Direct Drive Pumps
• Simpler design but require more maintenance
• Less expensive for the initial investment
• A higher cost of ownership
• Require less maintenance
• Higher cost
• Lower cost of ownership
There are many ways to calculate the cost of making parts on a waterjet CNC. Some waterjet CNC machines have multiple cutting heads, which would affect an hourly calculation rate. Setup and programming time, the risk of breakage, number of times a material needs to be pierced, consumable costs, and quantity all affect the cost. You’ll want to be selective to make sure the waterjet you select is a good fit for your specific job types.
Waterjet CNC Cutting Compared with Laser Cutting
Laser cutting and waterjet cutting can be used for many of the same materials. In general, the water jet is slower than laser or plasma cutting thought the speed can be increased on a waterjet CNC with 3 or 4 cutting heads. Even though it’s not the fastest way to cut, it has other advantages.
Advantages of Waterjet vs. Laser Cutting
No heat affected zones (HAZ): Waterjet CNC cutting does not distort or alter the material structure at the point of the cut due to high heat. In laser cutting material is melted, burned or vaporized away. For some materials that high heat changes the structure of the metal at the point of the cut. It also limits the thickness of a cut possible in most metals. Waterjet CNC cutting can cut thicker sheets and does not change the composition of the material. This can make roughing out with waterjet very attractive. Since the metal has not been heat-hardened or work-hardened, it’s easier to mill-finish an edge created on a waterjet than an edge created by a LaserJet CNC.
Can Cut Materials Not Possible on LaserJet CNC: A used waterjet CNC can cut reflective material that would be difficult or impossible to cut with a laser CNC. It’s also great for cutting materials that don’t melt easily, like granite or materials that are destroyed by melting, like laminates.
Environmentally friendly: Because waterjet CNC’s cut with water and non-toxic abrasives, they do not make hazardous material either air-borne or waterborne in the process. Most used waterjet CNC’s come with a filtration system so that you can continue to use the same water.
Facility Requirement for Waterjet CNC
- Clean air supply – You will need an air compressor for adjusting the water level control, operating the actuators and solenoids and for drying off your cut parts.
- Electrical – The electrical requirements for the used waterjet CNC you are inspecting should be listed in the electrical panel on the machine. Power requirements for the pumps range from 30-200 HP and there are other machine controls that need power as well.
- Water – Most systems in 1-2 gallons per minute for cutting and more for cooling depending on the pump model. Usually, a water softener is required. You’ll need to test water quality before install.
- Foundation – You need a solid foundation to install your waterjet CNC machine. Check that the surface is free of cracks and expansion joints and is a good thickness for the best machine accuracy after install.
Our team thoroughly inspects every waterjet CNC machine for sale at CNCMachines.net, and we encourage our customers to inspect equipment they are considering on-site as well. We recommend that you run the machine enough to get a feeling for it and feel comfortable with exactly what you will be buying. If you see something on our site that interests you, please contact us, and we’ll answer your questions and make arrangements for your on-site inspection.