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Waterjet Cutting

Glass Waterjet Cutting is the Crystal Clear Choice

The destructive nature of water has never been in doubt, but who knew if engineers focused on that nature and beefed it up with abrasives, a water jet could cut through anything? Seriously, glass water jet cutting has various benefits over traditional glass cutting methods. Precision waterjet cutting provides a precise cut that needs no finishing. 

Even then, it doesn’t mean you put any glass type through glass water jet cutting and expect superb outcomes when you’re done. In this article, you will discover the most common types of glass you can subject to precision waterjet cutting technology using tools from Elemet Manufacturing.

Float Glass

Glass Waterjet Cutting is the Crystal Clear Choice: Float Glass

If you’re looking for extremely smooth and distortion-free glass for window applications, then float glass can provide you with excellent solutions. The Pilkington process is responsible for the formation of this type of glass. During the process, the glass floats on a tin bed in the shape of its container.

You can devise multiple cut-outs, holes, shapes, and many other designs using precision waterjet cutting. However, you require precise cutting settings ranging from 700-1400 bar for smooth finishes and edges in the final piece.

Laminated Glass

Laminated Glass can be used for store windows.

Cutting through laminated glass can be challenging, especially using traditional methods such as glass cutters, diamond wheels, or sandblasting. When attempting to cut laminated glass, the single biggest risk is delamination, and that’s why it’s always best to let a professional do the cutting. 

Glass waterjet cutting at low pressure would be best in this situation. This reduces the chances of piercing or delamination. Pre-drilled holes can also reduce the chance of the high-pressure water stream separating the glass layers.

Annealed Glass

Annealed glass is often used in tabletops

Annealing is a glass cooling process during fabrication; unlike tempered glass, it isn’t treated with heat. As you can imagine, annealed glass is soft and best handled by highly skilled technicians.

It is ideal for various uses, from cabinets and windows to come up with custom cuts. Still, the annealing process results in a glass that doesn’t have the internal stresses which allow the tempered glass to shatter. It strengthens it more compared to tempered glass. 

The internal strength simplifies the use of glass waterjet cutting techniques to develop a remarkable finished product. Even if the annealed glass is a few degrees softer, you can’t utilize pure waterjet cutting for the final product. 

Note that tempered glass cannot withstand pressure and shatters immediately upon the impact of a high-pressure stream.

Bulletproof Glass

Bulletproof glass is used in windows of military vehicles.

This wonderful glass innovation, capable of stopping bullets from the world’s most syndicated assault rifle, the AK-47, would surely be a tough match for glass waterjet cutting technology. The surprising thing is that it isn’t. Crank the pressure up to 60,000 PSI, and the abrasive water jet cuts through bulletproof glass like a chisel through wood. 

Suppose you’re looking to fashion something out of bulletproof glass. In that case, you can be sure an abrasive water jet can carve through 2 inches of bulletproof glass to get you the desired shapes.


Dressing room mirror.

Mirrors present quite a challenge to cutting machines, particularly those that rely on lasers. The reflection of that mirror can spell disaster for anyone trying to cut it with lasers. Even though mirrors only reflect light, the energy carried with that light can translate to heat damage on a surface unfortunate enough to be anywhere in the laser’s path.

The advantage of using glass water jet cutting is you never have to worry about flying glass particles, unseemly cracks, and unwanted reflections.

Stained Glass

Stained Glass Window

The piece of history that can turn any dwelling into a hallowed work of art is notoriously difficult to deal with, especially when using hand-held tools. Rather than waste time trying to maintain the sanctity of the art of cutting stained glass, why not do quick work using precision waterjet cutting technology?

Why Should You Use Glass Precision Waterjet Cutting?

The various benefits to glass cutting using abrasive water jets include:

  • Smooth cuts: A water jet’s high-pressure stream provides a smooth and highly controllable tool. By managing stream speed means you can cut through glass of varying thicknesses.
  • Precise cuts: The high-pressure stream makes for a precise tool, allowing you to cut several shapes down to a thickness of 0.1 mm. The stream precision allows you to come up with distortion-free designs. 
  • Intricate cuts: With a high-pressure stream being a precise tool, you can cut glass into various shapes, angles, and any other complex shape you can think of. A glass precision waterjet cutting tool can make it happen whether it bevels sharp corners, pierces holes, or cuts curves with the smallest inner radii. Moreover, you can save time by stacking the glass to be cut.

Would you like to get started with glass waterjet cutting? Look no further than Elemet Manufacturing. Our company is based on a joint venture between Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitkin Iron Works. This collectively gives us nearly 90 years of experience providing precision waterjet cutting and other metal fabrication services. We have industry-leading precision waterjet cutting and advanced metal fabrication services. Get in touch with us now.

Waterjet Cutting

Pure Waterjet Cutting – Where It All Began

Precision waterjet cutting appears to be one of the newest fascinations in town, but many people don’t realize it has been around for quite some time. When this technology appeared on the scene in the 1850s, it was used to excavate coal. At that time, few people would have believed it would grow to cut through almost any material. 

The last 40 years have seen many improvements in modern waterjet cutting technology, making it more efficient, versatile, and precise. One of the latest improvements is the development of an abrasive waterjet nozzle suitable for commercial use because it can cut through tougher materials compared to pure waterjet cutting.

Elemet Manufacturing excels at precision waterjet cutting and takes full advantage of all the benefits it has to offer. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between pure and abrasive waterjet cutting methods, and then contact us for all your metal fabrication needs.

closeup of pure waterjet cutting machine with NC code data background

Pure Waterjet Cutting

Pure waterjet cutting is a water-only process that doesn’t require any abrasive particles, hence no need for a mixing chamber. Pure water streams through the cutting head directly after going through the orifice. The result is a thin, focused stream of water producing an extremely fine and precise cut. Since it produces a cleaner cut compared to other cutting methods, pure waterjet is suitable for softer materials.

Suitable Materials for Pure Waterjet Cutting

Since pure waterjet cutting does not contain abrasives, its cutting process does not interfere with the edges of the materials being cut. That quality makes it more suitable for these softer materials:

  • Foam: Since it generates little or no heat, it does not distort foam.
  • Felt: Pure waterjet cutters produce clean cuts in felt, enabling the production of different sizes and shapes.
  • Rubber: Pure waterjet cutting doesn’t interfere with rubber quality and produces clean cuts for various applications.
  • Paper: A contaminant-sensitive material that works best with pure water.
  • Thin plastics: Another heat-sensitive material requiring cutting methods that produce minimal or no heat to protect them from possible damage.

Benefits of Pure Waterjet Cutting

Here are some essential benefits of pure waterjet cutting:

  • Produces minimal or no heat at all, keeping materials intact.
  • Makes high-precision cuts, including creating 3-D shapes.
  • Leaves behind minimal damage.
  • Suitable for light materials.
  • Works on cavities inaccessible by other cutting methods.

high-pressure waterjet CNC cutting machine

Abrasive Waterjet Cutting

When it comes to abrasive cutting, an abrasive material, often garnet, is introduced to the water stream via a mixing chamber in the cutting head. A special pump pressurizes the mixture up to 94,000 psi, creating a supersonic stream of water capable of cutting through considerably thicker materials than pure waterjet cutting.

Industrial Applications of Abrasive Waterjet Cutting

Abrasive waterjet cutting has found many industrial applications because of its ability to cut through hard materials, including stone, ceramics, glass, and steel. Some industries using abrasive waterjet cutting include:

  • Automotive: Cutting composite and non-metal materials such as exterior body panels, gas boxes, and door frames.
  • Aerospace: Cutting novel materials, including carbon fiber composite and plastic glass. It also cuts alloy materials for making external body panels of airplanes and other parts.
  • Military: Used to cut combustible and explosive materials, destroy weaponry, and cut through bullet-proof glass.
  • Manufacturing: For cutting various materials needed to manufacture machines and tools. Such materials include metals, brittle plastics, marble, concrete, ceramics, and other difficult materials.

Benefits of Abrasive Waterjet Cutting

  • Can cut through almost any material; suitable for a wide range of industrial applications
  • Considered a green technology as it does not leave behind hazardous materials
  • Generates little or no heat
  • Makes high-precision cuts
  • Creates 3-D shapes
  • Leaves minimal damage
  • Allows for recycling of scrap metal
  • Works on cavities inaccessible to other cutting methods
  • Drills holes through almost any material, forming intricate shapes

waterjet metal cutting of thin detailed metal design

Which One Is Right for You?

Both processes use the same principle – employing an extremely fine stream of water to cut through materials. They also share many of the same benefits, including low heat generation, being eco-friendly, and running high and accurate cutting speeds. 

Material type is a true differentiator between these two cutting methods. Pure waterjet cutting works well with softer materials. Thicker, harder materials will most likely require the addition of an abrasive.

We have the equipment and experience to handle all of your metal fabrication needs, including precision waterjet cutting. Contact Elemet Manufacturing to learn which of our industry leading services is right for you.

Waterjet Cutting

Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting Is Not As Rough As It Sounds

Why Do You Need Precision Waterjet Cutting?

If you are in the manufacturing industry, utilizing the benefits of precision waterjet cutting is essential to making fine, precise, and quick cuts on nearly any type of material. Along with using pure waterjet cutting for softer items, abrasive precision waterjet cutting is the preferred method for hard, thick, and tough materials.

However, before you can begin using precision waterjet cutting to service your manufacturing needs, you need to find a reputable company that can help you safely and accurately get the job done. With Elemet Manufacturing, you can use their B2B manufacturing services for all of your industry needs. 

For those who need precision waterjet cutting, CNC machining, welding, metal fabrication, and other cutting services, contact Elemet Manufacturing

multi-axis abrasive precision waterjet cutting design

Advantages of Precision Waterjet Cutting vs. Other Cutting Operations

If you are debating between using water jet cutting versus other techniques, read on to learn why water jet cutting may be the best option for your projects. One of the other common techniques used when working with soft and hard materials is laser cutting. There are certain characteristics of precision waterjet cutting that make it the preferred cutting method, though:

  • Smooth edge quality – When using laser cutting, clients will have to create a secondary finish to eliminate the heat-affected zone. Precision Waterjet cutting creates a smooth edge that does not require any extra finishing.
  • ThicknessPrecision waterjet cutting – specifically precision abrasive waterjet cutting – can cut through materials up to 3” thick, whereas laser cutting can typically only cut materials up to .25” thick.
  • Smaller diameter – Precision waterjet cutting can cut tiny holes, whereas laser cutting cannot cut any material with a smaller diameter than the thickness.
  • Various materialsLaser cutting might be too reflective when working with metals, whereas abrasive precision waterjet cutting can cut through numerous hard materials without any byproducts or heat reflection.
  • Faster – Abrasive waterjet technology has cutting speeds of 5-10x faster when compared to laser cutting. 

clear water stream pouring into clear water against white background

Pure Precision Waterjet Cutting vs. Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting 

When it comes to precision waterjet cutting, two different types can help provide clean, accurate, and easy cuts: pure precision waterjet cutting and abrasive precision waterjet cutting. Before businesses and clients can choose the specific type of waterjet technology to use, they must know the pros and cons of each method. 

Pure Precision Waterjet Cutting 

Pure precision waterjet cutting uses a different type of cutting head than you would with abrasive waterjet cutting, performing the cuts without the use of a mixing chamber nozzle. The water exits the waterjet cutting head through the open space instead of coming out in a smaller stream via the tapered nozzle.

Although there is no nozzle, pure precision waterjet cutting can still make a thin stream of water and tiny, exact cuts. Since the stream of water is very fine and less powerful than other options, it is a perfect choice for cutting soft materials.

However, if you are interested in cutting harder items, making bigger cuts, or getting more work done faster, abrasive precision waterjet cutting using abrasive particles is the better choice. Pure precision waterjet cutting is helpful for those making tiny cuts in felt, paper, thin plastics, and food products but won’t stand up to the test of cutting through a range of materials.

Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting

The second most common waterjet cutting method is abrasive precision waterjet cutting. Although the name sounds harsh, this type of cutting actually describes the accuracy, strength, and power this type of cutting can provide. 

Using a stream of water as high as 94,000 PSI, the pressurized water exits through an orifice and maintains its strength, containing the power to cut through both hard and thick materials. 

Making abrasive cuts is the preferred technique for those who need to quickly and accurately cut through hard materials like ceramic, metal, copper, stone, or hard plastics. 

Along with being able to cut through hard materials, why should you choose abrasive precision waterjet cutting vs. pure precision waterjet cutting? 

  • Easy setup – The waterjet is easy to set up, making it simple and fast for beginners to use when cutting hard materials.
  • Low waste levels – Instead of having excess materials left over after the cutting process, the abrasive precision waterjet cutting leaves behind little waste, making cleanup fast and easy.
  • No heat generated – Since you are using pressurized water with abrasive precision waterjet cutting, there is no risk of adding excess heat to the products that can cause product damage.
  • Versatile – When using abrasive precision waterjet cutting, it is possible to cut through virtually any type of material, whether 10” thick or ¼” thick. 

the word "why" written on foggy window

Why You Should Choose Elemet Manufacturing for Abrasive Precision Waterjet Cutting 

Compared to other similar manufacturing businesses, Elemet Manufacturing offers a wide range of services to clients so you can complete all of your equipment and manufacturing needs simultaneously. 

Elemet Manufacturing offers the top precision waterjet cutting services in the industry, providing top-of-the-line equipment that can cut through almost any type of material. With CNC abrasive precision waterjet cutting machines, you can easily cut through aluminum, metal, plastic, carpet, rubber, and titanium.

Precision waterjet cutting is the preferred option over other cutting methods, as it creates accurate cuts, does not use unsafe levels of heat, does not produce harmful byproducts, cuts 3D materials, and provides a fast turnaround time for all projects. 

Elemet also offers CNC machining services, helping create prototypes and products for clients concerned about replicating their complex and precise models. Using a 3-axis, 4-axis, or 5-axis CNC machine, you can create a realistic prototype that includes compound angles and precise features.

Another reason to select Elemet over other manufacturing businesses is due to its high-quality welding services. Welding services make it possible to work with a wide range of materials, like titanium and steel.

Using the welding services has numerous benefits over other options, such as high operating speeds, low pricing, and large-project scalability. 

Lastly, Elemet offers metal fabrication and cutting services to clients who need to rely consistently on quality parts. Using custom metal fabrication and laser cutting services is beneficial for companies who need bending, cutting, and assembling of metal parts. 

Not sold yet? Contact Elemet Manufacturing today to see how their skilled team of engineers can help you with your manufacturing project.