How does waterjet cutting work?

A waterjet is a tool used to cut parts using a stream of highly pressurised water. It is a very effective form of profile cutting, but how exactly does it work?

How waterjet cutting works

A waterjet can be thought of as similar to a power washer wand at a car wash, but with around 30 times the pressure power. At a car wash, dirt and grime is essentially “cut” off the vehicle. But with a waterjet, the power is so much stronger and the spray is coherent, so it can cut through various materials without getting dull or overheating.

Materials waterjets can cut include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Stone
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Metal

Waterjets’ history

Low pressure waterjets were first used for gold mining in California in 1852, and then hot water and steam jets were used for cleaning in the early 1900s. High pressure waterjets began to be utilised in the mining industry in the 1960s, and waterjets as we know them today were first used for cutting hard materials around the same time.

Before waterjet cutting was introduced, only one piece of metal or other material could usually be cut at one time (using a saw or similar tool). This was costly and time-consuming. But as technology advanced, and especially as computer-controlled waterjet cutting processes became more refined, waterjet cutting became cost-effective and invaluable to industry.

Waterjets today typically have a water pressure of 20,000 – 55,000 pounds per square inch, and can cut a combination of material up to approximately four inches thick. They can also cut extremely thin materials safely and precisely, making them useful for a wide range of applications.

Waterjet cutting from ShapeCUT

Here at ShapeCUT, we’re experts in profile cutting. We’ve been providing fabricators and manufacturers in the mining, transport and construction industries with metal cutting for over 20 years. You can rest assured we will utilise the latest technology and highest quality materials to deliver profile cutting that meets your needs exactly. Contact us today to find out more.