Waterjet cutting at home

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FritzW

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The world of home/small business waterjet is closer than I thought.

Wazer-Desktop-Waterjet-Cutter-8.jpg

One of the local high schools (the one building the Baby Ace that so many HBA members donated parts and supplies for) got a *grant from the state to purchase a Wazer waterjet cutter. I can see this machine saving the students a semester or two of build time on the Baby Ace and really open up possibilities for all of their other projects.

*hopefully all this covid nonsense hasn't cost them the grant. The state budget, like just about every other budget on earth, is in complete shambles.

...pretty cool
maxresdefault.jpg
 

GeeZee

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There is at least one YouTube vid of a guy repurposing a pressure washer to make a waterjet cutter. He used actual water jet orifices and grit. it worked pretty good but the cost per hour (abrasive cost) was pretty high.
I was looking at options for fishmouthing tubing back when the CNC panel router thread was active.
 

cvairwerks

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The Wazer is quite inefficient when you look at the operating numbers. When you see abrasive flow rates in range of .3 lbs per minute and cut speeds under 3" per minute for our typical materials and thicknesses, not worth the cost.....
 

cluttonfred

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Yes, when you see the sample numbers for various projects (scroll down to "Abrasive Usage" under Technical Specs) it does seem like it would add up quickly unless you were prepared to invest serious quantities. It's like the early days of 3D printing, meaning still pretty darn expensive for most folks.
 

DanielV

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Looks like Wazer took some shortcuts to keep the machine simple.

How the pros are managing their consumables? Do they recycle the carbide? If so there will be probably a method to do it (a simple way) on our own.

I'm impressed by the Youtube guy and his tuned pressure washer. That will be easily mounted on a CN :)

****, another line in my to-do list
 

FritzW

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Looking at the link Matthew gave, someone cut a 4 piece custom sprocket set for $26 ($86 if you buy the abrasive in small quantities). To have the same parts cut at a waterjet shop or a machine shop is going to cost a lot more than $86. You couldn't cut them by hand for $26. If you did it would probably take a few days and they wouldn't be nearly as accurate.

To cut out something like a VP steel set would probably (a conservative guess) cost about the same as that sprocket set. ...you'd pay more than that for hacksaw blades and bandaids to cut them by hand
 
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cluttonfred

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Unfortunately, there is also the $7,500 cost for the tool, which would buy a lot of hacksaw blades and bandaids. As tempting as it is, I think it's a little steep for most homebuilders, expecially those like me focused on aircraft in the $10,000-$30,000 range built from plans. That said, 3D printers used to be ridiculously expensive and have come down a lot, so there is hope. Now, if someone with a lot of CAD/CAM skills were to get one and offer to cut material for other folks.... ;-)
 

ScaleBirdsScott

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I can see the prices on some of this stuff coming down some, but we haven't seen the prices for CNC routers drop in the way that 3D printers have, except for the tiny desktop class routers that are the size of 3D printers. But routers have gotten cheaper than they used to, by some amount. Certainly the awareness of how to make them has expanded exponentially in the last decade.

We'll probably never see waterjet as popular as 3D printing, but, we'll still see prices come down to maybe a 2-5k level for a machine of some utility. As the secrets of how to make them cheaply get out in the world people will find ways to optimize the designs and get it down to reasonable levels.

Hope the school does still get one. There's programs here in CT that seem to have survived and are buying equipment.
 

Hot Wings

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Yeah. I'm waiting for the price to come down ...a bunch
I think we will be waiting for quite a while. :(
50KPSI pumps, either simple gear or intensifier, are not cheap to make or maintain. Water is hard on moving parts. I was surprised to see that plain tap water was considered acceptable.
 

FritzW

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I suspect when the home/hobby level cutters really get going they'll be more like 5k psi. The DIY setup in the video is only 3,200 psi and the gas version is 3,100

I'll jump in in two or three years when a kit cost $1,000 (one can always hope)
 

Hot Wings

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I suspect when the home/hobby level cutters really get going they'll be more like 5k psi. The DIY setup in the video is only 3,200 psi and the gas version is 3,100
Depends on where the cost/benefit ratio sorts it's self out in the hobby market. A half decade or more ago I was very interested in getting one. There was no way I could afford to buy one and looked at the DIY side. From my research the pressure not only determines the cut rate/quality, but there is a non linear curve that relates pressure and abrasive use.
If someone is really interested in this type of DIY look at the used industrial market. I came R E A L L Y close to buying a used, but rebuild-able, 20 Hp intensifier unit for about a fifth of the asking price for the Wazer.
If I had 3 phase at my shop...........:confused:

Flexible plumbing for 50KPSI is also expensive. I'd expect to see the hobby jets develop along the lines of fixed head and movable work piece. That takes up more floor space but might turn out to be the best compromise?
 

FritzW

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The pressure washer WJ cutter idea appeals to me just because it's fun messing with stuff like that. But in reality I can do almost any homebuilt related cutting on my CNC that the WJ can do (you don't need to cut much glass or ceramic for my type of homebuilts).

Also, I'll be helping the school setup and operate the Wazer. I imagine I'll have to cut test samples every once in a while to verify the calibration and operation of the machine. ...if those test samples look like a set VP 4130 parts that's okay
 

Hephaestus

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I don’t know a lot about water jets but do they not filter and recycle the abrasive?
Best practice is drain to waste.

The abrasive wears down and gets contaminated with pieces that it's already cut...
 

cluttonfred

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The used abrasive is contaminated with little bits of what you just cut plus many of the garnet particles are broken in the jet and therefore no longer uniform in size. From what I have read, abrasive recycling only makes sense at large scales.
 
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