Water Jet Cutting: Finding the Best Machine for Your Shop

Bernard Stevens uses a computerized measuring machine to get exact measurements to create the geometry so the program can be written for use on the water jet. U. S. Air Force photo by Sue Sapp

A water jet cutting machine offers a variety of benefits for a machine shop. This includes the capacity to cut different kinds of materials that the hands can touch with exceptional precision. But with all the benefits it has to offer, it is no wonder why the machine is getting very popular and widely available in the market. Thus, finding the best one for your shop can be a bit of a challenge.

But, the question is, how do you find the right one? Here are some tips that will be of great help in choosing the one that will be most beneficial for your shop.

The Kind of Material to be Cut

A water jet cutting machine can cut harder materials but a grit material should be added to the water stream. Thus, if you regularly cut materials like an aluminum plate, stones, and mild steel you need to use a waterjet cutter that has enough grit tank that is easy to maintain, load and unload.

How Complicated the Cut Will be?

It is important to know how complicated the cut will be. If your shop specializes in complex cutting jobs for customized parts, then you should have a machine that has a fifth axis.

Buying a Used Machine

If budget is an issue, then buying a used machine means paying at least half of the new equivalents. The difference in the price of the new and used machine does not really offer so many benefits unless you consider the time you need to invest with a creditor as you have to pay the interest on a loan as a positive.

When Buying a Used One, Inspect the Machine

When buying a used waterjet cutter, be sure to inspect it well so you will know what you are getting. Here are the following things you need to inspect.

The Intensifier

A waterjet machine has an electric pump used to produce an intense pressure that is necessary for the water stream to cut through materials. Inspect if the seals in the pump are free of leaks and in good condition.

The Nozzle

Is the nozzle in an excellent condition- free of dents, rust, and cracks? If otherwise, replace it immediately. It is very important to determine whether the machine is damaged before you try to use it.

Electrical Cabinet

Check if the wires are in good condition and in proper order or if the electrical cabinet is a big mess of patches that could take forever to sort out.

Maintenance Documentation

A machine that is well-maintained will have a history of its maintenance records that will tell you the issues that the past operator has encountered and how it was fixed. If the seller fails to provide this documentation, consider it as a red flag.

Control System

Find out the control system that the machine is making use of. Does it have a fully-functional interface or some controls and functions are missing? Keep in mind that a damaged controller could greatly impair the functions of the machine.

By doing all the above-mentioned things, you can be confident that getting a waterjet machine will be a great investment that will offer your shop numerous benefits.

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