Cnc water jet cutting machines are a great solution for cutting a lot of different materials as mentioned in my previous posts.
Below is my guide on what to buy and what you need to look for in water jet cutters.
First up, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
The biggest advantage with water jet cutting is that there is no heat. This means the material cut does not weaken due to exposure to heat. The cutting edge is also relatively smooth compared to other options like plasma cutting.
Waterjet cutters can cut between a quarter inch up to 30 inches think depending on the softness of the material.
You can cut more fragile materials such as glass and stone
You can cut composite materials without any treatment beforehand
If cutting plastic, there will be no signs of noxious fumes or burn marks.
Cost – Water jet cutting costs and machines can be very expensive compared to normal routers. Waterjet components can fall within the $60 to 100,000 USD range for a cnc water jet cutting machine price for an initial investment. This can be even higher (upwards of 200,000 USD) if you do not have your own motion equipment such as a gantry or robot.
When moving to a 5 axis waterjet cutter machine, the prices will go up even more. The exact figure depends on the application and who the manufacturer is.
Can not cut pipe very well. The reason behind this is that the jet passes through material, then void, then another piece of material when cutting a pipe. Waterjet cutting does not do this effectively at the moment.
Best places to buy a cnc water jet cutting machine for sale
To get an awesome water jet cnc machine, there are plenty of places to look. Below are some of my top picks on what works the best:
Jet Edge – These guys have a solid range of cnc water jet cutters. Their machines are made in the U.S. and have a cool video on their home page.
Flow Water Jet – If you are after a great cnc water jet cutter, then I recommend checking these guys out too. They have smaller to larger bed sizes from their Mach 2 to Mach 4 series water jet cutters.
KMT WaterJet – For the best cnc water jet cutter for sale, you will definitely want to check out. Their machines also come with an ultrahigh pressure pump (UHP) and water pressurized up to 90,000 psi to help manufacture efficiently and cut any sort of material cleanly.
Omax – Omax has a great site that has a range of different machines as well as information on their site. You will find information about their AbrasiveJet technologies too.
Using a machine for cnc water jet cutting
There are a ton of different materials that can be cut using a water jet cutter.
Some applications include but are not limited to:
- Stone and tile machining
- Metal cutting – all kinds of different metals (except piping)
- Rubber products such as gaskets
- Carpet cutting
- Aerospace manufacturing due to the lack of a heat affected cutting edge
Getting the right table size for your water jet cnc machine is crucial. This really comes down to the scope of every different project.
Each project varies and each workshop varies. If you are constantly cutting larger material, then a larger bed size makes sense. Having a larger bed size is also advantageous as it allows you to cut larger and smaller pieces of material. Also having a cnc machine that can do this in house is great, because getting stuff water jet cut off-site is really going to add up in cost when it comes time for delivery.
Having a larger bed size and outsourcing smaller work may be a great option due to the above. The down side to this is of course the upfront and maintenance costs of a larger water jet cutter. Some of the larger machines, such as those from multicam.com can handle work envelopes of up to 12 ft by 50 ft in length.
Service and support when buying cnc water jet cutting machines
This is crucial as the investment you are going to be making for the machine and the software is going to be substantial.
Make sure that support will have a comprehensive spare parts inventory as well as technicians to help provide you with post sale training, application support and service support. While you can’t expect someone to come all the way out to see you every time something breaks, having supportive over the phone staff is always a good back up for when a machine goes down during an important job.
Anything thing to look into is software. This can also be very costly.
With CAD programs such as SolidWorks and Pro Engineer costing upwards of over $10,000 for a single seat and extra cost for future upgrades, the price starts mounting pretty easily. Then there is the cam software and the cnc software. Solutions such as MasterCAM are also expensive. Consider these costs as well when looking into a machine for your workshop.
To get started, check out our recommendations for a cnc water jet machine above. It always a best practice to look around to try and find a great cnc water jet price.
Also consider outsourcing, as the upfront of a water jet machine can be really expensive. Also the maintenance costs for the machine, cad/cam and cnc software will also add up.