Friday, May 20, 2011

Cut Stacked Material with Waterjet

We frequently get asked whether waterjet can cut stacked material.  Here’s a picture of a test cut we did recently with 14 layers of 0.040” (1 mm) aluminum (aluminium) stacked to 0.56” (14 mm) thick.

Stacked material will cut slightly slower than the equivalent thickness of solid material because some of the abrasive and water will get between each layer, reducing the jet’s power.  Clamping the stack together tightly is important to minimize this.  This loss of power is typically also seen in slightly rougher edge quality each layer down in the stack. This stack showed little of this.

The major benefit of stacking is with small, thin parts like this.  Because of acceleration and deceleration, the waterjet never really gets up to its optimum cutting speed in small parts and small holes.  This part might take 15 seconds if you were to cut it as one layer.  If this were 8.5 inches (216mm) of cutting, this represents an effective cutting speed of 34 inches per minute (864 mm/min).  The stack of 14 layers might take 2 minutes and 50 seconds. This gives an effective cutting speed of 42 ipm (1067 mm/min).  Time lost to material handling is reduced as the stack of material can be loaded, clamped, cut and unloaded all at once, versus having to do that 14 times.

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend,
Jeff Day and the WARDJet Team

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