Waterjet Machining For Finishing Parts
Waterjet machines are a great way to manufacture metal pieces. I want to share a metal finishing process we recently assisted in. This process involved waterjet machining. We had the chance to help one of our customers who was using a waterjet machine to get the surface texture they were looking for on their product.
Water Jet Machining Advantages
Once the piece is cut, it is left with a rough finish that manufacturers usually want to smooth, especially on the edge. How rough depends on how fast you cut and the thickness of the metal.
Either way if you want to smooth the edge and remove the marks made by the abrasive that cut the metal a vibratory finishing process works well. If you have a lot of parts it can be a huge time saver.
Manufacturing With A Water Jet Machine
This is where we came in. One of our customers was using a water jet machine to manufacture bottle openers made from steel. This customer sent us some of his product to run through our test lab to help him fine tune his metal finishing process. Here is what we came up with.
The parts were made from stainless steel and were about 1/8″ thick. The finished piece was just over 7″ lone and 2 1/2″ wide. This size part was a good match for our .75 cubic foot benchtop bowl. We ran them in the machine with a 3/8 x 3/8 Angle Cut Triangle SF (super fast) ceramic media which is an aggressive formulation. The parts tumbled with the stones, water and an industrial soap to help keep everything moving for about three hours. This rolling action produced by the vibrating bowl gave a nice smooth surface to the steel. The ridges from the waterjet cutting were smoothed out and the slightly sharp edge was rounded making the pieces nice to handle. The end result was a stone washed finish with no rough edges. Just what the manufacturer was looking for!
There are some great parts and products being created with waterjet machines and we are glad to get to be a part of the process.
If you would like to see a video of rolling action produced by the vibration of the bowl check out this video below.