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Waterjet cutting software

A waterjet is a machine that mixes high-pressure water and abrasive material to cut through various metals, stones, composites, and sheet goods. The fabrication and manufacturing process is enabled through CAM software that creates the necessary toolpaths to drive these machines.

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What is waterjet cutting software?

Waterjet cutting CAM software allows manufacturers to control a water jet machine. CAM software provides tools to control and direct the water jet nozzle on multiple axes, from 2D to 5-axis. Waterjets can create complex features on metals, woods, composites, sheet products, stone, foam, and plastic. The process can generate high-quality components at enormous quantities.

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Benefits of waterjet cutting software

Manufacturers profit from waterjet cutting software. This technology brings up some interesting options for plants, companies, and contractors.

  • Accuracy

    Waterjet cutting can achieve high levels of accuracy with profile tolerances of ±0.1mm. This accuracy means waterjet cutting can match the stringent standards for automotive, aerospace, consumer products, and more.

  • Quality

    Waterjet machining creates high-quality, warp-resistant parts with minimum heat. CAM software controls nozzle pressure, traverse speeds, lead-in/out motions, and more.

  • Efficiency

    Waterjet machining is efficient because tool nozzles may be swapped to alter kerf thicknesses. This lowers machine downtime and increases flexibility.

  • Cost-savings

    Waterjet software's nesting tools enable batch manufacturing. Automated layering streamlines CAM programming, reducing human error. It reduces waste, boosts output, and cuts labor expenses.

What are the different types of waterjet cutters?

Waterjet machines come in many varieties. These are classified by material size. Some waterjet cutters have specialized abrasives and nozzles for certain materials.

  • Water-only cutting

    As the name suggests, water-only cutting use high-pressure without abrasive. While these waterjet cutters can lack the power to cut through certain metals, they are a solid option for materials like foam, rubber, plastics, wood, softer composites, and several other materials.

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  • Abrasive

    Abrasive waterjets are best suited to cutting through harder materials. They use pressurized water mixed combined with abrasive media to provide the extra power required for harder metals. The use of different abrasives types and sizes helps produce specific surface finishes.

  • High pressure

    High-pressure waterjet cutting combines abrasive media with water pressures exceeding 50,000psi. While not every material needs this pressure - this is an ideal choice when processing exotic materials including carbon fiber, ballistic materials, and Nickel-based alloys such as Inconel.

What can you make with waterjet cutting software?

Waterjet cutting is used to cut hard and soft materials precisely. Waterjet cutting doesn't heat the workpiece like other methods. This improves quality, consistency, and compliance. These industries and projects employ waterjet cutting.

Automotive

Waterjet cutting is used to make a wide range of component parts commonly found in vehicles. This includes interior trim, body panels (in both metals and fiber-glass), exhaust and braking systems, insulation, gaskets, bumpers, and more.

Aerospace

Waterjet cutting is used to make component parts including body parts, cabin panels, custom structural parts, and landing gear. It is also used for processing exotic alloys found in engine components such as turbines and guide vanes.

Medical

Waterjet cutting software is frequently used to make parts and components in the medical equipment industry such as surgical instruments, artificial limbs, braces, prototypes, and orthopedic appliances.

Sheet metal fabrication

Waterjet cutting is used to make sheet metal parts for different industries. Parts are cut to size and specification before being assembled for use in building enclosures, furniture, architectural works, or food and beverage components.

What materials can you cut with waterjet cutting software?

Waterjet cutting can process various materials that fit into three categories.

  • Organics

    A wide range of organic materials including different types of wood, stone, and ceramics.

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  • Metals

    A diverse range of metals including different grades of steel, Inconel, Titanium, and Aluminum.

  • Composites

    More advanced composites including ballistic materials, plastics, and carbon fiber.

Waterjet cutting resources

Learn more about waterjet cutting software with the following resources from Autodesk.

  • Learn about Autodesk software solutions and how they can help automate common workflows used to design sheet-based component parts.

  • Join our experts for a deep dive into the Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension to see how it can help automate sheet-based manufacturing.

  • Read our light-hearted blog to see how Autodesk technology was used to design and make a 40" sheet-metal pancake skillet.

  • Explore courses and skills that help you become an Autodesk Certified Associate in CAM for 2.5 Axis Milling. Learn at your own pace, track your progress, and determine your path forward.

  • Design software plays a central role in successful sheet metal fabrication. Learn how fabricators are using the Fusion 360 Nesting & Fabrication Extension to streamline their processes.

  • Get started by learning about computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. Explore how CAM can help you make better use of your CNC machinery, produce better quality parts, and grow your business.

Waterjet cutting software FAQs:

While we hope this article and the attached links answer most of your questions, you can find the answer to common queries below.

Yes, water jet cutting software like Autodesk Fusion 360 can be run on both PC and Apple Mac hardware.

A water jet can cut any type of metal, like aluminum, brass, copper, Titanium, and stainless steel. The most powerful water jet machines can even cut through diamonds.

Waterjet cutting machinery is generally supplied as a complete working solution and contains all of the hardware and consumable elements required. In addition, it is preferable to invest in CAM software that can generate NC machining code that tells the CNC machine what to do.

The answer depends on the material being processed. High-pressure waterjet machines can easily cut through hard materials up to 300mm thick. It is worth noting that cutting speed will generally need to reduce as material thickness increases in order to achieve acceptable levels of quality.

Autodesk provides a range of manufacturing software with the ability to generate high-quality NC code that can be used to drive CNC mills and routers (2-axis, 3-axis, and 5-axis), CNC lathes (including multi-tasking machines), mill-turn machines, as well as laser and plasma cutting machines.

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