In grade school, we were told to make a list of rocks and their degrees of hardness. Talc was soft, diamonds were hard, and quartz was somewhere in the middle. Then we had to compare them, almost in a rock-paper-scissors way. “Diamonds cut quartz. Quartz cuts talc.” And so on…
If you had asked my nine-year-old self if water fit in anywhere on that list, I would have said no. And probably stuck my tongue out at you. However, that nine year old self would have been wrong.
Water does fit in on that, list, and fairly high up as well, if only worked with properly. Water-jet cutting is a fairly new technology and something that still astounds me, even though I’m not nine anymore.
Water can now cut through almost anything — titanium, marble, glass… — although abrasives will be needed to cut through the harder materials.
Cutting more than metal with a waterjet
Glass, stone, rubber are some of the possibilities
By Mike Burns and Dan Davis
December 15, 2008
With waterjet cutting equipment, shops are no longer limited to the world of metal fabrications. They can search for new business in areas that were once considered unrealistic.
Simply put, a waterjet is capable of cutting almost any 2-D material, usually up to 6 to 12 inches thick, but thicker materials are possible if the operator goes slow enough. The waterjet’s small-diameter cutting stream—approximately 0.040 in. to 0.050 in.—allows it to produce tight corners with very high tolerances.