Stacking thin materials before you use a waterjet to cut them can result in large increases in productivity. Depending on the materials being cut, however, if the total stack height exceeds 1/4” to 1/2”, you may not get the results that are as precise as you desire.
Do the math
To determine optimum stack height, you will need to figure out the tool path for several different thicknesses. So if you are cutting 1/8-inch aluminum, compute the path at 1/8”, 2/8 (1/4)”, 3/8”, 4/8 (1/2)” and then look to see which stack size cuts the fastest. You will lose some precision the higher you stack, but you’ll also gain some cutting speed.
Secure stacked materials
The first thing to remember is that when you stack materials, you will need to take extra time in setting up – you don’t want the plates to shift while you cut! The extra time and effort you’ll need to invest in securing stacked materials may also take away from productivity gains.
Watch those corners
The more corners your material has, the less advantageous it will be for you to stack. This is because a waterjet needs to slow down for corners, and when you increase the stack thickness, it has to slow down extra for the corners.
Break thick projects down
If you need to cut something that must be a certain thickness, check to see if the object’s design will allow you to cut pieces of smaller thicknesses which you can then attach to each other. So for example, if you need a piece or part that is 2” thick, you could cut four identical pieces that are 1/2” thick then weld them together. More steps are involved, but it’s more precise than trying to cut a thick object all at once.
Glue together different materials
Waterjets can easily cut through objects made of different kinds of materials. If you plan to cut a piece of plastic that has foam backing on it, be sure to glue the plastic and the foam together securely. Then cut both together as a single unit. While you may need to experiment to determine the best speed for the new “material,” once you determine what works, you’ll save time.
TechMoon makes waterjets that stack up more than favorably against our competitors. Not only are our waterjets state-of-the-art: they cost thousands of dollars less than comparable machines. For custom-made waterjets tailored to your specific needs, contact us today!