Choosing between water jet cutting and laser cutting is only difficult and easily becomes a tough call when you are clueless and don’t know anything about them. One can’t make a conjecture that one is better and way above the other because both of them would surely have their own merits for different applications and materials.
Therefore, the strong basis of your choice when it comes to these two methods of material cutting would entirely depend on your specific requirements.
To determine which technique would be most suited to use in your project or would satisfy your discriminating cutting requirements, here are a few questions to guide you by.
- What kind of materials are you likely to work with?
- What is the likely thickness level for these materials?
- What edge finish and tolerance level do you require?
- Would it matter if heat has an impact on your project?
Comparing Laser Cutting and Water Jet Cutting
In laser cutting, the laser is being utilized to burn, melt, or vaporize a material. This process will involve the use of a focused beam of light to make the desired cut. The laser can be made to move right across the material or it can be made static in its position while the cutting process is underway.
Laser cutters perform extremely well when used with materials that fall between 0.12” and 0.4” in thickness. You can also utilize them in cutting flat sheets of steel with a medium thickness.
In the case of water jet cutting machines, what they utilize instead is a jet of pressurized water mixed with abrasive particles such as garnet. These particles are specifically made for this purpose only.
There is a high demand for this method of cutting nowadays because it offers you greater flexibility in handling a wider range of materials in cutting them seamlessly and close to tolerances with a good edge finish.
Meanwhile, even if the laser cutting method is sometimes being qualified as a waterjet cutting complementary service, it is taking the lead with the following advantages, including:
- Offers greater flexibility in cutting through a wider array of materials
- Can easily cut through materials that pose difficulty or is challenging when used with a laser cutting method.
- The absence of a heat-affected zone (HAZ)
- Uniformity of material is not a question with this material cutting method.
- Improved tolerance on thicker parts
- Better results on edge finish