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Waterjet- good, bad or ugly?

Discussion in 'CNC Routing & Laser Cutting' started by andy, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. andy

    andy Active Member

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    Aug 19, 2004
    OK, not strictly a routing question but has anyone got a waterjet of have any experience of them?

    I've got the chance to buy a 10 x 5ft jet system to go with the routing we already have.

    Before I drop a few quid on this machine I was wondering if anyone has any info they can share.

    I've never seen one in the flesh so to speak so I'm a bit in the dark.

    Primary reason for having one is to cut stainless and aluminium without the farting about required with a router.

    Cheers :brittain:
     
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  2. gerald

    gerald Member

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    I've seen them on American Chopper, the Orange County Chopper show. LOL

    I'd love to have one if they work as they appear to. Leave a great edge so they appear.
     
  3. SoCalN8V

    SoCalN8V Active Member

    Ask the people at Gemini - they do waterjet cutting and they claim it gives a smoother edge and can cut more intricate shapes. We've had some waterjet cut metal from them that looks very nice.
     
  4. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    I worked in tooling at a DOD plant & they had just installed a water Jet they bought untested & was size of small house the cut was excellent it was getting there that was the problem. OCC'S was a proven unit & one of the installers worked with my wife & he told her theirs was uncrated & setup & running in no time. being a self contained unit I would expect it to be like running a cutter once programmed ,loaded & watch the fimgers
    at the DOD Plant I watch ed an actual demonstration of the cutter going through .5" steel into angle foos cake & all was smooth, awesome demo
     
  5. raw191

    raw191 Member

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    I've actually run a FlowJet water jet at a machining company. We cut glass, granite, ceramic tile, 3" thick stainless steel, plastic, plywood, anything really. They are a blast when they are running but the maintenance HAS to be done and on a very regular basis. Ours had an 80K psi pump on it. That much pressure and things wear out quickly. I haven't been around one for a couple years though. Good luck!!
     
  6. andy

    andy Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys :)

    Had a rep from flowtech round to see me- for an 8x4 system without the bells and whistles the price was over £100,000- how the hell I'm supposed to make any profit after handing over all that cash is beyond me?!

    Anyhow I've got another supplier tucked up my sleeve which makes everything dooable- I hope.

    In terms of consumables I was planning to get plenty of spare jets and a half ton of garnet to get me up and running.

    I've looked at lasers but they are even more dough and the fumes and changeovers for different materials are big turnoff.

    TBH I'm looking at waterjetting to help move me onto new pastures- I'm starting to get a bit hacked off with the sign business.

    I'm finding all that matters is "how much" and there is always some moron buying expensive equipment to just give away product. Right now the digital print market here in the UK is in the bottom of the toilet bowl- £12 per square metre, full solvent and laminated. Why the hell you'd want to buy an expensive, fast depreciating piece of equipment and print for that price is beyond me- there are lots of 2nd hand Versacamms floating about at the moment as a result of this dumb pricing.

    From my research there are only two other companies doing waterjet in my area and most of the work is for engineering and metal fabrication customers who don't give their work away and will pay a reasonable amount of money for a good job. CNC routing is covered already so the jet will be freed up to do the tougher materials.

    Some days I wonder why I got into this business I really do.
     
  7. MAB SIGNS

    MAB SIGNS Very Active Member

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    Get the word out and you can cut other peoples materials all day long and help pay the payment. A metal fabricator had a flow machine next to us that was 6'x12' but he charged $150 an hour. He cut alot of plastic sheet materials in stacks for business not sign related along with his aluminum cutting. His machine was $150k and he had $150k in a 12' brake and shear from accushear. I never understood how he could afford the payments given the work he was doing.
     
  8. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

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    Apr 18, 2006
    Andy,

    Just like anything else, you can make money at it - that is until the technology get so cheap that everyone has one in their garage. I agree with what you said about solvent printers - as many think just click on "print" and that is all there is to it - vendors are to blame for this.

    We have purchased many hundereds of thousands in equipment (not signage) and what we always looked at was: "Will it be profitable?". In other words will it be used or sit and colect dust.

    If you believe that you will sell it - go for it! Remember that although the machine can be used in signage it is actaully fab equipment with much further reaches, such: cutting granite, stone, metals, etc.

    I have personally noticed a trend that many of us are moving away from traditional signage (except electrical contractors) to even much more specialized and lucrative stuff, while still keeping our hands in it.
     
  9. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    I thought about adding one to my CNC Router, But I have so many people with water jets around here in my area I can get stuff cut for $100-$125 per hour as I supply the materials. I found it best for my situation to sub out anything thicker than 1/2" on metals and anything like rock rather than use my router table. This way I don't have to worry about the maintenance on the machine. It's a great edge quality the slower you go and more passes just like anythign else. Laser, Water, Router all have advantages over one another Id be great to have all 3
     
  10. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    looks like metal would keep ya busy if ya got a production contract water vs lazer water is by far superior in ease of use. in my opinion no smell or heat
    waterjets are awesome.
     
  11. woodchux

    woodchux New Member

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    I worked in a shop which ran one for years. If its affordable and you have the work. Go for it. Its a great niche market.
     
  12. IdeaFactory

    IdeaFactory New Member

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    Is that possible to hang water jet to your current router? whos is manufacturing it and at what price, any info?
    Regards
    Ajay
     
  13. dnelson

    dnelson New Member

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    Gemini has a number of very large waterjets. They are great and do provide a much smoother edge than a router. My only advice would be to make sure you have enough work to keep it busy. I have a couple of customers who have them and they are always out looking for anything and everything to cut on them. They are a lot of money and the ones that I know of are sitting idle most of the time. I can also tell you that maintenance is not cheap on them. If you have a piece of metal that gets raised up a bit and a nozzle hits it, be ready to spend 3 or 4 hundred dollars to replace a simple nozzle. They are great for a high production shop but there are a lot of downsides also.
     
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