Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet machining tools operate by directing a fine (0.03″ diameter), high pressure (30,000 psi) jet of water and abrasive (garnet) along 2D cut lines. The geometry required for waterjet cutting is very similar to that required for laser cutting. Until recently, waterjets have been limited to industrial machining centers, but now lower priced machines aimed at makers are coming to market (see for example the Wazer). CAP has a miniature industrial waterjet from OMAX, a major industrial waterjet manufacturer. Our Protomax machine is located at the CAP Design Build Lab.


Protomax Waterjet Specifications

The Protomax has a cutting area of 12″ x 12″ and can cut materials up to 1″ thick.  The maximum thickness for a given material and the amount of abrasive required is determined by the hardness of the material being cut.  The cut duration is determined by material thickness, hardness and cut geometry.  More abrasive and time are required for harder materials and for large numbers of new cuts (starting the water pump is comparatively slow and piercing the material requires more abrasive).

Example materials and cut time.


Estimating Cut Cost

We charge only for the abrasive consumed for a cut.  As described above, the amount of abrasive required for a given job depends heavily on the material hardness, thickness and types of geometric features to be cut.  In order to generate an estimate, specialized software is required.  Please schedule a time for your geometry to be reviewed, and during the review process a staff member will generate a cost estimate for you along with an estimated cut duration.

Cost calculation formula: $1.29/lb abrasive over 3 lbs (< 3 lbs no cost)

Example: Cutting two, roughly 8″x4″ shapes (with interior cuts) from 1/16″ stainless steel sheet — 40 mins cut time, 8 lbs abrasive, $6.45 total


Waterjet Cut Request Form

If you have cut materials on our waterjet in the past, you can use the following form to submit a new cut request.  If you have not cut anything on our waterjet before, you can still submit a request, but we will need to schedule a geometry review with you in order to proceed.


Note that beginning Spring 2022 all Waterjet Cut Requests will be handled through the CAP Digital Fabrication Service Request form within the BSU Helpdesk system. Click the button above to open the form.