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Waterjet Cutting Vs. Laser Cutting

When it comes to choosing whether to use waterjet cutting or laser cutting for your project, there is no number one choice. As two of the most common processes in the manufacturing industry, it is impossible to say that one is better than the other, it entirely depends on the specifications and type of application.

At City Special Metals, we have comprised an article examining the characteristics of both techniques to help you decide which is right for you.

What is the Difference Between Waterjet Cutting and Laser Cutting?

Waterjet Cutting Process

With a pressure level of up to 60000 pounds per square inch, pressurised water is focused in a very small point and used as a cutting jet. This water is usually mixed with an abrasive, such as garnet, to expand its cutting capabilities.

Laser Cutting Process

A focused beam of light generates an intense heat which is used as a laser to melt, burn and cut the material. The laser can either be static or move across the material, cutting precisely every time.

Material Range of Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet cutting has the ability to cut a wide range of materials, including thicker materials, with a good edge finish. However, due to its high pressure, it can cause delamination when combining two different materials and deformation to smaller parts.

Material Range of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is more commonly used for flat metal sheet and cannot cut thicker materials; the optimal thickness is between 3 to 10mm. Some problems that you may encounter are burn marks on the material and when two materials have different melting points.

Cost of Waterjet Cutting

As the thickness of material increases, waterjet cutting becomes more cost efficient.

Cost of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is cheaper and more accurate but quality of finish can be compromised for thinner materials.

Cutting Capabilities at City Special Metals

As you can see, each manufacturing process is better for different projects. We provide a number of alloy machining services, including both waterjet and laser cutting, so contact us today for more advice and information.