Our Waterjet Department
We only run OMAX abrasive waterjets. We have researched many manufacturers, and had test parts cut on various machines. OMAX was the only brand that could cut accurate parts the first time on a wide variety of material. It also has the most accurate cut model, which allows it to cut faster and more accurately than any other machine no matter what contours are required.
We currently have a 2′ x 4′ machine and a 4′ x 8′ machine with taper compensation and a terrain follower. The terrain follower allows us to maintain a constant distance between the tip of the mixing tube and the material, even if the material is not perfectly flat. It helps protect the machine, and the material, while increasing the accuracy of the taper compensation. We generally use a .030”(.76mm) mixing tube, which offers a good balance between speed and detail. We also have .040”(1.02mm) mixing tubes to cut thicker materials faster, as well as .020”(.51mm) mixing tubes for fine detail on small parts.
Before discussing our waterjet experience, it is important to remember that we have been a precision machine shop since 1982. We routinely hold tolerances of less than .0005”(.013mm), and we know how to inspect parts. While the waterjet process is not capable of holding that tight of a tolerance, it is common for us to hold tolerances of +/-.005”(.127mm) on material up to 2”(50mm) thick. We can hold tighter tolerances if required, although it might require test cuts and additional setup time. We are also capable of cutting much thicker material, up to 6” thick, but with substantially decreased cut speeds. We aren’t your typical waterjet shop that measures parts with a tape measure. We are a precision machine shop, and our waterjet parts are precise as well. If the parts need to be checked with a CMM, we have one. If custom gages are required, we can make them in house. If you just want your parts cut fast and cheap, we can do that as well.
We have been using OMAX abrasive waterjets for over 10 years. Over the years, we have done many jobs that have pushed the technology to the limits. We will cut any material that is not toxic. In any given week, we cut various grades of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, plastic and glass. What sets us apart, however, is that we also have experience cutting less common materials, such as exotic alloys (Inconel, Hastelloy, and custom engineered materials), carbide, alumina ceramic, urethane, and many others. We are also knowledgeable about cutting materials with varying thicknesses, as well as using the waterjet process to modify existing parts.
Another thing that sets us apart is that we offer many secondary processes to complete your waterjet parts. On many parts, we can waterjet holes to a tight enough tolerance that we can tap or ream the holes right off the machine. We are set up to do this in the waterjet area, and many times we can overlap the processes to save us time, and to save you money. We also offer forming, milling, turning, grinding, and even wire EDM services, so if your parts require finish machining, we can do it all.
Copied with permission from Tooling & Production, June 2008
Copyright 2008 by Nelson Publishing Inc www.toolingandproduction.com