How does waterjet cutting compare to laser cutting?

When comparing with lasers:

  • Abrasive waterjets machine materials that lasers cannot. (In particular reflective materials such as Aluminium and Copper.)
  • Abrasive jets do not heat your part, thus there is no thermal distortion or hardening of the material.
  • Precision abrasive jet machines can obtain the same or higher tolerances than lasers, especially as thickness increases.
  • Abrasive jets can machine thicker materials. How thick you can cut is a function of how long you are willing to wait. 2" steel and 3" aluminium are quite normal, whereas lasers are limited to 20mm (high powered laser).
  • Material can be stacked in order to cut multiple thin parts simultaneously.
  • Abrasivejets don't create "scaley" edges, which makes it easier to produce a high quality weld.