Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WARDJet Pro-Tip: Tabbing Parts

WARDJet is committed to not only designing and building reliable and innovative waterjet systems, we also have a drive to make our customers as successful as possible in their cutting and programming of parts. These WARDJet Pro-Tips are designed to give a little insight into the best practices for waterjet cutting. We hope they make your waterjet cutting faster and more profitable. If there is something you'd like to see covered in this series, don't hesitate to contact us.

Tips for Tabbing of Small Parts to be Waterjet Cut

When waterjet cutting smaller parts that you want to keep from falling into the waterjet tank or thin gauge parts that you want to keep from moving around, tabbing is a great option. 

There is some strategy that should be use when tabbing.  Here are some tips: 

  1. Locate tabs on the outside contour of a part.  The best place is on a straight line where someone can      easily get to them to grind them off on a grinding wheel
  2. Try not to place tabs on corners of parts
  3. Try not to place tabs on radii if at all possible.  If you are cutting a circle, there is not much choice.

Inside corners of geometry are virtually impossible to get to and grind off nicely.  The best places to put a tab are on outside contours of a part (for easy access) and on a straight line, because it is much easier to grind something flat than it is to grind to a specific radius.  A good basic rule for a programmer to follow is always be mindful of the process of grinding the tab off.  If you are always thinking about this, the person who has to do it will thank you.

When programming in IGEMS a tab value of 0.060” works pretty well.  IGEMS activates kerf over the lead in and does not put kerf on lead outs.  So, a 0.060” tab will leave approx 0.020” to 0.030” of material for the tab when cutting with a 0.040” nozzle.  This is just enough to hold on and not too much so that it is difficult to remove the part from the surrounding material. 

When programming with WARDCAM, a 0.025” to 0.030” tab value is recommended.  WARDCAM accounts for kerf value on tabs, so you want to enter the size of the material you want left for the tab.

Keep in mind as your orifice / nozzle wears and the diameter of the stream grows, more material will be eroded and the tab will become smaller.  If you find that your tabs are not holding, you may want to increase them in the programming, or you may want to look at changing your orifice / nozzle.

For a more in-depth information on the process of waterjet cutting, please visit our Waterjet University section of WARDJet .com.

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