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Are You Limited by Material Type, Thickness, or Angles When Cutting with Waterjet?

The 5 Most Common Waterjet Questions Part Four of Five

Waterjet is known for its versatility.

It can cut through anything from stone and steel to exotic metals and ballistic glass. Materials shaped by waterjet are used in numerous industries, including aerospace, transportation, agriculture, the energy sector, and beyond. This often leads customers to ask, “What can’t waterjet do?” The short answer: not much.

Waterjet cutting traditionally isn’t limited by material type (except for tempered glass). We’ve seen it cut metal up to 24” thick and it’s recognized for its ability to cut complex angles. In fact, waterjet is thought of as one of the most adaptable ways to shape materials. It’s a cold cutting process, so no heat or stress is imparted into the material during the cut and the satin smooth edge quality virtually eliminates secondary finishing.

Generally speaking, there are very few material or thickness limitations posed by waterjet technology. Additionally, technology advancements continue to expand the repertoire of what’s possible with waterjet. Let’s go over some of those core advancements together now.

Getting Rid of Stream Lag and Tapering

When cutting with water, the waterjet stream will naturally taper from top to bottom of the stream and lag with the movement of the jet.


Tapering occurs when a waterjet loses its power as it cuts through material, creating a V-shaped taper on the object being cut. There are a couple of ways to deal with this.

The traditional way entails slowing down the machine so the jet – and your cut -- remains perfectly vertical. But this isn’t feasible for shops that need to keep their efficiency up. That’s why Flow developed Dynamic Waterjet® to address the issue.

Dynamic Waterjet technology automatically accounts for the known amount of tapering in your cut and compensates accordingly to move any taper to the scrap side of your material, leaving your part with a highly accurate edge. Dynamic Waterjet also automatically eliminates stream lag, compensating for the errors inherent to waterjet, and leaving you with a 2-4x faster cut and the ability to meet and hold high tolerances.


Want to add bevel cutting to your capabilities? No problem.

Pivot+ Waterjet™ also compensates for tapering and stream lag, while delivering the added ability to produce bevel cuts. And for those who still want more, Dynamic XD® offers the ultimate combination of speed, precision, accuracy, and multi-dimensional cutting. Paired with a host of accessory options, Dynamic XD is a fan favorite in the waterjet world.

The best part about these technologies is that FlowXpert CAD/CAM software does the heavy lifting to configure each cutting head for you – you don’t need tons of knowledge specific to the process. Input the material type, the material thickness, and your desired edge quality, and the algorithms behind the scenes take care of telling the cutting head what to do, and when.

Waterjet Works on Just About Anything

Waterjet is a powerful technology that’s suited for almost any material. Of course it’s not limitless in ability, but the flexibility and wide range of materials it can cut will leave you feeling like it virtually is.


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