Should You Choose Water Jet Cutting?

If you're getting sheet metal fabricated, you can choose between a number of different fabrication and cutting methods. In some cases, you may want to look for a fabricator that can do water jet cutting on your sheet metal. Here are five signs you may want to look for water jet cutting.

1. You Want a Variety of Metals Cut

Water jet cutting works on a wider range of materials than laser cutting. In particular, it can work on very reflective metals, where lasers seem to just bounce off. Additionally, it can cut more materials than electrical discharge machining (EDM) which uses sparks to cut so isn't always as accurate. If you just want to choose one cutting method for all your metals, water jets may be the way to go.

2. You Want Intricate Cuts

Another advantage of water jet cutting is that it can do very intricate cuts. Your sheet metal fabricator can even hook up the water jets to a CNC machine. With that approach, you can use computer programs to inform the cutting process.

3. You Want a Process That's Safer for the Environment

Water jet cutting can also be friendlier to the environment than other methods of fabrication. It doesn't require as much energy. It doesn't create hazardous gasses. Also, because the process is so precise, it doesn't create as many metal shavings, and you don't have to worry about all those extra metal bits going to the landfill.

4. You Want a Fast Production time

Even though you are paying a fabricator to work with the sheet metal for you, you may still want to think about the production time involved. With water jet cutting, the process tends to be faster than other metal cutting process. There aren't tools that need to be changed, and the cutting itself is faster. In some cases, a metal fabricator may pass the savings from all that saved time onto you.

5. You Need Production Flexibility.

Water jet cutting works for a single piece of metal or a huge number of pieces. If you want flexibility in your workflow, you may need this feature of water jet cutting. You can easily get a prototype made and then scale up production as you get in more orders. Unfortunately, other types of metal cutting don't offer the same advantages. Talk with the fabricator about your current and future needs, and ask if water jet cutting is right for your project.