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How does a waterjet cut steel?

How does a waterjet cut steel?

Firstly we explain the process of waterjet cutting is and then dive into the range of materials it can cut including steel and how this is achieved.

What is waterjet cutting?

Waterjet cutting machines use a high-pressure water stream to erode the material you wish to cut. A granular abrasive is used, usually garnet which is added to the waterjet to increase the cutting power of the machine.

A range of materials can be cut with a waterjet at a high level of of quality and precision.

Can waterjets cut steel?

Waterjet cutting machines can cut a large variety of materials including steel, the different types of steel are detailed below. Furthermore, the variety of other materials are also detailed.


  • Hardened tool steel, aluminium, titanium and exotic metals.
  • Aluminium is a popular material cut on a waterjet as it’s cut so cleanly and quickly.
  • Additionally, brass alloys are also popular as there is no thermal distortion with the finished product.
  • Carbon Steel – as with the above two materials, carbon steel is favourable to cut with a waterjet as the material is not altered by the cutting process.
  • Copper – this highly reflective material is no problem for a waterjet to process.
  • Stainless Steel – Including 304 is easily processed on an waterjet cutting machine.
  • Titanium – Cut without surface embrittlement or thermal distortion. The waterjet is immune to dulled cutting tools.
  • Tool Steel – Cut tool steel with close to precision of an EDM machine, with up to 10 times the speed.

Benefits of cutting metal with waterjets

 Waterjet cutting is a cold cutting method, which means there is no heat affected zones, so you’ll achieve a smooth edge with no burn marks, cracking or excess burrs.


Within the natural range of materials, you can cut wood, stone and glass. With the low-pressure pierce, vacuum assistance, and water-only cutting you can cut natural materials with confidence.


Cut ultra-thin panels to thick multi-layered bullet proof panels. Such panels might be used in mobile phones, windows, and vehicles.


You can cut granite without chipping when compared to a conventional saw.


Cut with accuracy with a narrow kerf width.


Cut marble for bathroom and kitchens without the stress of chipping.


Machine intricate designs or for wood impregnated with additional agents.


Any fiber reinforced material, including Kevlar can be machined with ease, without any of the conventional draw backs of conventional machining.

Carbon Fiber

The biggest benefit of cutting composites with waterjet technology is there is no need to change the tooling no special considerations or restrictions due to heat build-up, melting or dangerous fumes.


The low pressure pierce, and high control of cutting layered materials. The waterjet can cut AeroFIBER.


FeroForm cuts without fraying on an abrasive waterjet.


Submerge the material while cutting ensures that the hazardous fumes and dust is eliminated.


Remove the threat of delamination when you cut G10 with a waterjet.


Reduce the risk of hazardous dust or fumes.


Abrasive waterjets leaves a smooth surface on phenolic.

Plastics & Rubber

Reduce any issues of distortion when machining plastic when you cut with cold-cutting techniques associated with a waterjet. The versatility of the waterjet makes it an easy addition to a workshop.


The low-pressure pierce function ensures the waterjet cuts extruded acrylic easily and cleanly.


When cutting foam, there is no need to use abrasive, just the water-only nozzle is required.

Linoleum Tile

Cut precisely without material distortion.


Submerging material as you cut, ensures that the likelihood of flying shards is reduced.


Reduce the time to cut this material and intricate designs.


Use only the water-only nozzle without abrasive to cut this material. Cut soft, fiber-reinforced rubber and very hard rubber cleanly.

Explore Headland’s range of Waterjet Cutting Machines

If you’re interested in discussing our range of OMAX Waterjet Cutting Machines including the MAXIEM machines discussed above Enquire Now.

OMAX’ high-performance water jet cutting machines are capable of cutting composites, metals, stainless steel, aluminium, titanium, copper, brass, glass, stone, concrete, ceramics, foam and rubber.

Our Experts

Matthew Weaver

Matthew Weaver

Product Line Manager – Fabrication Division

1300 138 285


Tim Stoddard

Tim Stoddard

Business Unit Leader - Metal Fabrication Division

1300 138 285


Joe Tippel

Joe Tippel

Technical Sales Engineer - Fabrication Division

1300 138 285