Water jet cutting and laser jet cutting are two of the most widely used cutting processes by manufacturers today. Depending on what kind of material is being cut, any one of these methods would be advisable to use for a given application. In order to determine their optimal performance, it would be wiser to determine first what their ultimate differences are as well as the materials that are known they work well with.
A laser cutter method or machine will rely on a gas laser to operate. Typically this method requires CO2 for energy. It will be transmitted via a beam and will be directed by mirrors and guide it to the material. With CO2 laser, the source of the laser is situated inside the machine itself. As for the beam itself, it can create an output ranging between 1500 and 2600 Watts. If you are thinking of making use of laser cutting technology, aside from precision and safety, you also need to take into account materials and applications.
Materials and Applications
You can make laser cutter to work with a number of materials including glass, wood, plastic and all kinds of metals, with the exception of the reflective types. However, if you are having a material comprising of materials that have different melting points, it would be quite challenging to cut through a laser.
The natural tendency of the laser method of cutting is they do well in cutting materials whose thickness ranges between 0.12” and 0.4”. Laser cutting machines are usually used to cut sheets of steel with a medium thickness.
Aside from cutting, some other typical applications for CO2 laser cutters are drilling, welding, ablation, engraving, and structuring.
Water Jet Cutting
Unlike the laser cutting method, waterjet cutting machines involved the use of pressurized water for them to cut through a material. Hence, the name. To further enhance this cutting ability they have, water can be mixed with abrasives.
Water jet machine manufacturers encourage the addition of aluminum oxide and garnets to the water itself. This overall process is inspired by the soil erosion from nature, the only difference being is that it has got more concentration and much higher speed, too.
A high-pressure pump will work on driving the water through small and rigid hoses. This action will eventually pave the way in creating a forceful water jet directed towards the material that will be cut. Any typical waterjet is capable of producing an output of 4 to 7 kilowatts. \
Unlike a laser cutting machine, the source of the laser beam is situated inside the machine itself. As for the work area and the pump, they are often separate from each other. The power of water jet cutting machines can’t be underestimated. They can cut through materials, even if it is a combination of materials with different levels of melting points. Perhaps the only thing that one can get worried about with water jet technology is the threat of delamination.
In water jet cutting technology, cutting of materials that presents us with a limit in access is possible, but often comes with a certain level of difficulty or challenge. Materials with thickness level ranging between 0.4 and 2.0” would significantly benefit from waterjet cutting method.