Abrasive Waterjet (ABJ)
The most anticipated and hyped machine at the Fab Lab, in August 2014, we acquired a 3-axis abrasive waterjet cutting machine.
The waterjet uses an extremely high pressured, fine stream of water to transport garnet (sharp sand) to cut material. The waterjet is capable of cutting a wide range of materials and thicknesses….If you can imagine it, the waterjet can probably cut it.
This is a powerful machine that can cut through a 4-inch piece of titanium with a 55,000-PSI stream of water and garnet-laced grit moving at 700 mph. Safety and proper use are top priorities.
Equipment availability is visible below. Before scheduling equipment, the following process must be followed:
Attend an orientation session: Orientations are held throughout the semester (see calendar). Orientations are necessary, and successful completion is required before access can be granted (no exceptions). Please plan accordingly; orientations are not conducted on a regular basis. They occur mainly at the beginning of each semester, and individual sessions will not occur.
Ideation – What is your project? What material? Scale? At this time, you use the information covered in the orientation session to set-up/plan what you would like the machine to do. For assistance with this process please contact the digital fabrication supervisor, Craig Gillam.
Schedule an appointment – After you have a finished “cut ready” file, you will meet with a trained lab assistant. A completed file must be ready and present at your appointment time. During this review session, file accuracy will be verified, and the file will then be programmed/post processed for the required machine. If this file review session is successfully completed, a time will be scheduled for machine access. This appointment MUST occur a minimum of one working day before machine access.
Cut time – At your scheduled cut time, you will be granted machine access. During this time, a trained lab assistant will help complete the cutting of your file. It is your responsibility to be punctual and have all materials available/prepared. Failure to do so will result in loss of appointment.
Clean-up – The equipment after your use should always be cleaner than before you used it. All materials will be removed from the lab, or they will be disposed of accordingly.
Machine Limitations/File Preparation
The waterjet is capable of cutting only vertically and must cut the entire way through the material, unlike the cnc router. With the waterjet, it is not possible to cut angled or curved surfaces or to cut to a specific depth.
- The available ABJ is an Omax Maxiem 1530 with a working area of 60”x 120”x 2”.
- In thin stock the ABJ is extremely accurate with +/- 0.001 positional accuracy. The ABJ has a 0.013 diameter nozzle allowing minimal kerf.
- The ABJ can cut all metals, plastics, rubber and stone. Materials must be flat. Any variation in surface and or thickness of material will result in damage to the machine and will not be accepted to cut.
- Be aware that although the machine has capabilities to cut thick materials, the thicker the material (also hardness dependent), the more likely the cutting stream is to wander and give an inaccurate cut.
- This machine can only be operated by trained student workers and at scheduled times.
The ABJ utilizes proprietary software to calculate cutting motions call omax layout and omax make. Computers at the Fab Lab have this software available for use.
- Drawings must be either a DWG or DXF format
- Drawings must be closed polygons with no overlapping tails or gaps
- Drawings cannot contain overlapping lines
- Software will not import colors or font styles; ensure all detail will be accessible from the Fab Lab computers
- No more than two lines can meet at a corner
- Polygons must be larger than 0.03 in thickness
- Unlike using the laser cutters, color will not change the type of cut completed by the waterjet
- You must name the layer for different cut operations
- For successful file preparation use the following:
CAD Layer, Layer Name
- Profile Cut (closed profile, cuts inside or outside), 3
- Slit Cut (cutting on the line), 23
- Etch (engraving with abrasive), 25
- Scribe (engraving water only), 28
- Water Only (zero abrasive cutting), 8
The Fab Lab is host to numerous workshops, lectures and orientations. During events, equipment usage may be limited. Please see calendar below: Available times are for scheduling file review and machine use. To request a file review appointment, look for an available time slot on the calendar below and request via email. Machine use will be scheduled during your file review appointment.