All About Waterjet Cutting

 

Choosing a Waterjet Company

 

Materials

 

Our Facility

 



What is waterjet cutting?

 

We take a similar process that nature took in cutting the Grand Canyon and accelerate it by:

          • purifying the water through reverse osmosis, filtration down to 10 microns
          • pressurizing the water to over 50,000 pounds per square inch,
          • forcing that purified and pressurized water through a nozzle that is approximately .5000th of an inch
          • and depending on the material, we may add an abrasive material to the water flow in a venturing effect to enhance the cutting.

The combination of this process will allow for cutting of almost any material, economically.

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Why use waterjet technology over other methods?

The waterjet process “can” be the most economical and accurate process.

The large variety of materials that can be cut—virtually anything

No heat affected zones

No stress’s placed on parts due to fixturing

Quality of edge finish is excellent—no burrs or edges to grind

No special tooling or fixtures required—which saves time & money

CAD/CAM/CNC controller are the latest up to date technology

Machine set up is quick

Virtually no waste—parts can be nested together or use common line edge cuts.

Precision of cut and repeatability are excellent – Tolerances of ± .003″ to .005″ can be held

Environmentally friendly, no smoke, dust or hazardous materials

Saws can be used for conventional cutting …

          • as long as the cuts are straight
          • if the amount of material being removed by the saw blade is not a concern.
          • if the additional material used due to the inability to nest is not a concern.
          • if the additional time taken on a jobsite to use conventional saws—whether it be for wood, ceramic, resilient, or stone—is not a concern.
          • then, a saw blade may be the answer,

BUT if you are looking for consistent cuts that are exact and the cutting has been performed in a controlled factory setting, then Waterjet Works will provide that level of accuracy at a set price!


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What are the benefits of waterjet cutting over laser and plasma?

Laser cutting is great for cutting some materials as long as …

          • they do not exceed a certain thickness.
          • they are not reflective.
          • they are not susceptible to melting or burning.
          • the customer does not mind the material being blackened.

Laser would not do well with any resilient flooring, stone, ceramic tile or metals over a half inch thick.

Plasma cutting is great for cutting some materials as long as …

          • they do not exceed a certain thickness.
          • they are not susceptible to melting or burning.
          • the customer does not mind the material being blackened.

Plasma would not do well with resilient flooring, stone or ceramic tile.

If there was a concern for the change in molecular structure of the material due to the heat generated by the machine, or if accuracy was paramount plasma cutters would not be the correct method.

Routers provide a great opportunity for cutting many materials as long as …

          • there is no necessity for lines to come together at a point.
          • the design to be cut does not contain small detail.

Routers are great for cutting wood, solid surface materials, and laminate plastic, but would not do well with and resilient flooring, stone ceramic, and most metals.


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I have heard that sonic cutting is faster then waterjet, is this true?
Yes, it can be. You wouldn’t wear a cocktail dress to work, and you would not need sonic cutting except for very special occasion and very high volumes. Sonic cutting is the best method of cutting, cloth, gaskets and cork and a few types of resilient flooring, but only in high volumes. It will not help you with VCT, stone, steel, glass, porcelain and ceramics. Waterjet Works will cut almost every material that you can imagine.


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What materials can not be cut successfully?
Logic prevails in most situations.

Waterjet Works cuts a fair amount of wood, as long as it is solid wood we are fine.
Logically, inexpensive particle board does not do well.

Glass is another logical thought process. We have had wonderful experiences with glass and stained glass, but we can not cut tempered glass. It is designed to shatter when we blast it with 50,000 pounds of pressure.

Carpet is tricky. It can be cut beautifully with a waterjet machine, but you really need to know how to cut it and have the correct machinery. Good commercial grade carpets will work well, but an inexpensive carpet will probably not make it.


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Why should an architectural/interior design firm specify waterjet technology over other methods when other methods are capable of cutting the material?

You shouldn’t. You should specify the desired results and approved companies that have experience in performing. The technology only allows for the possibility of success. The details of the specifications will determine success at the jobsite.

Waterjet Works will help by:

          • simplifying your drawings
          • increasing the efficiency of design time and specification writing
          • decreasing the approval process
          • minimizing installation issues


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Are all waterjet machines capable of cutting the same?

No.

          • Some older machine models are set with fixed heads therefore the material must move which diminishes the accuracy of the cut.
          • Some older machines are less accurate then the newer models.
          • Some machines have small beds limiting the size of material that can be placed on it. These smaller beds would not be capable of cutting larger materials such as 10’ sheet goods in metal and 6’ sheet vinyl rolls or 5’ x 8’ slabs of stone.
          • Some machines may be set up for cutting with pure water only or abrasive only.
          • Some machines are not capable of cutting fine details due to the age of the machine.


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Are all waterjet companies capable of cutting the same?
No.

          • The overwhelming majority of waterjet companies across the United States are industrial based cutters.
          • Their focus is cutting repetitive parts within a given area, as opposed to creativity or working with architects and interior designers.
          • By way of a comparison, almost all architectural firms use autocad, but the results are very different.
          • There are architects for residential projects and there are architects for commercial projects.
          • The same is true of the waterjet industry. Do your homework!
          • At least once a year we get an opportunity to redo another company’s work. Ask us to see a letter on the subject.
          • See the next FAQ


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How can I know if the company is qualified to perform my job beyond their assurances?

Their website: Do they have a website and do you see a significant amount of work that is similar to what you are looking for?

Credentials: Does their web site offer testimonials from their customers in your field? Getting a great response on their ability to produce metal parts for machines, does not mean they will be helpful with porcelain tile or VCT.

How many years have they been in their own business? The current economic situation has caused people to jump into business where they haven’t been before. Getting a machine or borrowing time from another fabricator does not mean they will be there when you need them or that they know how to run a business.


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How important is it to have a design and programming department?

More important than the waterjet machine! Someone has to program the waterjet machine.

The machine is worth nothing without someone knowledgeable who can interpret your drawings into machine language, understands the variables in the materials and understands the mentality of the person who is going to install it.

If the company does not have a design and programming department then you will not know what you will actually be receiving as a finished product. The design and programming department is your partner in your success.

They should be able to save you … the architect, interior designer, contractor a good deal of time and money.

It is the responsibility of the waterjet company to know the idiosyncrasies of every material. If the company traditionally works in metal only, it will be nearly impossible for them to succeed with all the other materials that designers want to work with.

See next FAQ

If the waterjet company says, “we will cut whatever is on the electronic files …”

Start running!


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What is the best way to ensure a successful job?

Start with getting a price estimate so you know what to expect.
Most people perceive our services to be expensive, they are not.
Ask for specifications to add to your documents to insure you get what you want.
Our specifications will ensure a successful job.
This is your best insurance policy.


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Do you have a generic set of specification in VCT?

Yes. We also have numerous other specifications for other materials. Please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.


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If pricing is different from one company to the next, how do I compare apples to apples?

When a specification is written properly it is easier to compare one proposal to another.

If not then ask these questions to make sure everyone is on the same page!

          • Does your proposal include reassembly of the pieces or just cutting?
          • Is your facility large enough to assemble my project prior to shipping?
          • Will you provide approval drawings prior to fabrication?
          • Will you provide an assembly map for the installers?
          • What are your tolerances for cutting?
          • Have you ever worked with______(material) before?
            If so, please furnish a list of reference and projects.


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What is the procedure for receiving a “request for proposal” on a logo?

You can fill out our online pricing request form here
or call us at 800-856-0972. We think what we do is neat and we love talking about it. We ha


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Is there a difference in pricing due to materials?

•Yes! Waterjet Works likes to keep things as simple as possible.
The generalization is, if the material is hard (granite, marble, metal etc) it is more expensive to cut then softer goods (vinyl, vct, carpet etc).

•The reason for this is simple and logical.
We add an abrasive to the waterjet stream for the hard materials and they are usually thicker than the softer goods.

•The abrasive adds dollars to the cost as well as additional time to cut through a thicker product.


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Is it more expensive to cut VCT or sheet vinyl?

Waterjet Works charges the same price for both.

It is simple that way and less confusing.

So often architects and interior designers come to us for budgetary numbers and they are not sure of the specific materials at that time. Confusing the issue with a great deal of qualifications only makes it harder for them to get the job specified.

We want to keep it simple. YES! it takes more time to cut VCT, but it takes more time to handle sheet vinyl and linoleum.

So, the bottom line is the same for almost all resilient materials regardless of whether it is VCT, LVT, sheet vinyl or carpet.


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Why is it important for the waterjet company to know so much about materials?

If the proposed bidder has worked mostly with metals, then they may not understand the idiosyncrasies of working with resilient flooring, linoleum or rubber, for example. They may not understand that linoleum must acclimate to its environment prior to being worked with which increases the deliver