Waterjet Cutting vs. Laser Cutting

Waterjet Cutting vs. Laser Cutting

While both laser cutting and waterjet cutting are effective methods for cutting metal, there are advantages and disadvantages to each method. But, because we love to experiment, here’s a breakdown between these two methods, and four reasons why laser cutting can give you a better competitive edge.

Precision: Laser cutting is known for its exceptional precision, allowing for intricate and detailed cuts with minimal material wastage. The focused beam of the laser can achieve narrow kerf widths and sharp corners, making it ideal for intricate designs and fine detailing.

Speed: Laser cutting is generally faster than waterjet cutting, especially when it comes to thin to medium-thickness metal sheets. The high-speed laser beam can rapidly cut through materials, contributing to increased efficiency and reduced production times.

Material Thickness and Type: Laser cutting is particularly well-suited for cutting thin to medium-thickness metals. The concentrated heat from the laser beam is effective at melting and vaporizing the material, making it more suitable for applications where precision and speed are critical.

On the other hand, waterjet cutting may face limitations with certain types of metals or thicker materials. Abrasive waterjets are often required for cutting harder materials, and the cutting speed may decrease as material thickness increases.

Heat-Affected Zone (HAZ) and Distortion: Laser cutting generates a smaller heat-affected zone compared to waterjet cutting. The concentrated heat from the laser minimizes thermal distortion in the surrounding material, making this a better choice when working with materials that are sensitive to heat. 

Waterjet cutting involves a cold cutting process, which can be advantageous for heat-sensitive materials. However, the waterjet stream can introduce some level of taper and may result in a wider kerf, potentially affecting the precision of the cut, especially in thicker materials.

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