I can’t believe I beat Jason to posting about the water-jet. This tool is what The Foundery is most proud to own. If you are not familiar with abrasive water-jets, this machine (pictured below), uses a high pressure stream of water and abrasive to cut through virtually any material. The “sweet spot” for cutting, is any thickness 3 inches or less….3 INCHES!!! Which means this machine can precisely cut through 3″ thick steel plate to any profile you can think of. The machine maxes out at ~10″ thick.
And here is the water jet and myself posing for an Us-sie:
If you look closely you can see that the water-jet is fresh off the delivery truck and still several weeks away from being fully assembled and installed. Once operational, the machine will have a working area of 10′ x 5′ and will be able to cut through 1″ thick plate at a speed of ~5″/minute.
Materials commonly cut on a waterjet include: Aluminum, steel, wood, plastic, composites, foam, glass and even granite. The only material I know can’t be cut on this machine is tempered glass, because it would shatter into thousand’s of small cubes.
I just googled “stained glass water jet cut” to make sure you really can cut glass on an abrasive waterjet #factchecking. I came across this stained glass gem! designed and cut on an abrasive water jet by Chip Hunter of Holbrook NY. (http://www.arborimage.com/C2Resource/C2ResourceStudio.htm)
Waterjets are regularly used to cut functional parts for mechanical designs, but I think the art stuff is more impressive. Below is a photo of my kids I converted to a vector file and had cut on a water-jet in 1/8″ thick aluminum. I spray painted it black and BOOM! Christmas gift for my parents!!!
I’ll probably make something like this for my wife once we get our water-jet up and running. She’ll think I put a lot of time into it when really, the machine will do all the work while I sit back and update my fantasy football line-up.