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Tips for Cutting Stone and Ceramic With Your Waterjet
Pierce stone countertops without chipping. Work ceramic with the least amount of dust. From granite to Dekton, OMAX abrasive waterjets allow quick, accurate, and safe machining. Fabricate with water and abrasives. Don’t waste money on costly specialty saw blades. Experience a cutting medium that is never dull, with a secure process. Here are some tips for cutting stone and ceramic materials.
Improve your stone cutting:
Use low-pressure piercing. Stone and marble will cut with ease. , Piercing should be at a low pressure to avoid cracking.
Use a long lead-in. Abrading and cracking tends to happen near the pierce point. Providing a long lead-in keeps these areas away from the part.
Veins can be a problem. Watch out for the veins in marble. This is because some of these can be very soft. They can cause your final part to fall apart, even though it may otherwise cut fine.
Evenly support the material. Make sure that the material is evenly supported on the slats. If it is uneven, it may wobble or one section may be higher than another. This interferes with the motion of the nozzle. Material that is unevenly supported is also more likely to crack. The waterjet brick provides even support for machining.
Use low pressure and high speed for etching. If you intend to etch stone, then use very low pressure, such as 15 ksi (100,000 kPa), and speeds as high as 150 ipm (380 cm/min). Note that the quality of etch will vary depending on the stone itself.
Cutting ceramic better:
Ceramics vary in regards to their suitability for waterjet cutting. Some will cut and pierce with ease and speed. Some will not pierce with ease and may crack. Others may cut very slowly.
The machineability of these materials will vary between 0.01 and 1000. Experimentation may be necessary to determine the machineability of materials not listed.
Use abrasives hard enough for your material. For very hard ceramics, you may wish to use a very hard abrasive such as corundum (aluminum oxide). This will help cut the ceramic much faster than garnet. Yet, hard abrasives will also wear your mixing tube at an accelerated rate. This limits the lifespan of the tube to about an hour of use.
Go green. Consider cutting hard ceramics while still in the “green” state.
Reduce the pressure. It is easier to cut some hard and brittle ceramics if cut at lower pressures. This means less chipping and cracking also. For example: Testing in 3/8″ (9.5 mm) ceramic ZTA (zirconia toughened alumina) showed good results at 20 ksi (1380 bar) pressure. While cutting at higher pressures shattered the exit side of the kerf.
Microchipping can occur along the edges of glass or other brittle materials. You can reduce microchipping by using the tips listed below.
Notice the microchipping along the edges in this closeup of a glass part
Use a finer abrasive – Use 120-150 mesh, or finer if possible. Make sure you change the abrasive size on the Pump and Nozzle Settings menu in MAKE. When you switch abrasive sizes, you’ll also need to remeasure the abrasive flow rate and use the new value.
Reduce the cutting speed and pressure. By using a lower machinability value, MAKE will slow down the cutting head. Lower pressures will further reduce microchipping.