Natural stones are the first choice when anyone wants a material that is luxurious and durable at the same time. Among stones, there are many different materials, such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, and more.
Stone cutting is required to make it usable for any application. For this purpose, traditional cutting tools such as angle grinders or blades are used for very small-scale applications. However, these cutting tools don’t work well for large production applications because of the thickness of the stone and frequent wear and tear on blades.
Therefore, modern methods such as laser and water jet stone cutting have wide applications in the stone cutting industry. Many experts consider cutting stone with water jet cutter technology the best modern method.
This article will discuss waterjet technology for stone cutting in detail. You will learn how it is done, its applications, and its benefits over other alternatives.
Can You Cut Stone With a Water Jet?
Yes. It is possible to cut any type of stone using waterjet technology. Water jet cutting is one the most common industrial cutting methods for engineered stone, thick granite, marble, and even other materials that aren’t stone, such as glass, metals, and plastics.
A waterjet stone cutting machine can easily cut 12 inches of stone at high speed. It is possible to cut more than 12-inch-thick granite, marble, and other similar stone. However, greater thickness reduces cutting speeds.
Benefits of Cutting Stone With a Water Jet Machine
Using a waterjet for stone cutting is better than traditional cutting tools. This is because of the several benefits that a waterjet cutter provides. Some of these benefits include:
Cold Cutting Process
Waterjet cutting is a cold cutting process, so it doesn’t cause heating of the cut area. Other cutting processes that use heat, such as laser cutting, create visible heat marks on the surface.
Heat stress also causes the material to lose its original strength and internal structure. The stone retains its original appearance in waterjet cutting – an immense benefit for stones like granite or marble.
Most stones have applications in aesthetic and decor projects. Therefore, the ability of a waterjet cutter to retain the original appearance of the stone being cut is a primary reason to use this method.
When cutting stones, cracking is a high risk that worries even professionals. Cracking during the cutting process can occur due to heat generation or due to the application of improper force.
In water jet cutting, there is neither heat nor any lateral force. The water beam is focused on little spots on the stone, eliminating the possibility of stone cracking and surface stress even at a high cutting speed.
Dust Free Cutting
One of the major issues while cutting stones is the dust generated in the process, especially with ceramic tile, granite, and marble. Dust can cause respiratory issues for workers close to where stone cutting is performed.
However, in water jet cutting, the stone particles removed from the workpiece get suspended in the water. Therefore, no dust particles are released into the air, leading to a cleaner and safer work environment.
Waterjet cutting is not just capable of cutting stone but also etching the surface of the stone. In fact, waterjet CNC machines can produce automated etching of digital designs on any stone.
Etching works exceptionally well for materials like marble, glass, granite, limestone, and other materials. The depth of the etching produced by the water jet can be adjusted, leading to exceptional details and quality.
All the water used in the water jet cutting process can be recycled back into the system. The dust captured in the water can also be collected and used as an abrasive when cutting other materials with a waterjet cutter.
This makes water jet cutting a very sustainable and eco-friendly process.
Water jet cutting is a very versatile process. The machine has flexible tooling to cut different pieces of stone without making any changes to the machine setup.
The advantages of flexible tooling are that it reduces costs for labor and downtime required for changing tools.
Water jet cutting has exceptional accuracy and produces minimal kerfs when cutting stone or any other material. Traditional cutting methods cannot achieve this kind of accuracy due to manual errors. The high accuracy is beneficial for applications like stone tiles, where a high degree of consistency is required.
Applications and Use Cases of Waterjet Cutting Stone
Water jet cutting works on several different types of stones:
- Precious Stones
- Semi Precious Stones
Since there is a wide variety of materials you can cut with water jet cutting, this technology has a lot of different use cases.
- Dams: The construction of dams is done with stone blocks with immense thickness. Traditional tools do not work on these, and manual labor takes too long. Water jet cutting cuts these stone blocks with ease.
- Bridges: The pillars in bridge construction require stone blocks that are cut using the water jet stone cutting process.
- Flooring: Marble and granite tiles are common for residential and commercial establishments. These tiles must be a consistent size. So they are cut using water jet cutting CNC machines.
- Sculptures: Techni Waterjet’s 5-axis water jet cutting machines can create complex sculptures for artistic installations and decor. These machines support cutting any type of material.
- Pavements: Stone tiles are chosen for pavements because of their sturdiness, resilience, and aesthetic look. Water jet cutting of pavement tiles results in high productivity, accurate sizing, and better material utilization.
- Buildings: Stones such as travertine and marble are often used in construction. These are used for making entire buildings, so thick slabs of these stones require cutting. This is usually done with a water jet stone cutting machine.
- Interior Design: Stones like marble and thick granite are common in interior design installations, such as their application in kitchen counters and wash basins.
Getting the Right Water Jet For Your Stone Cutting Needs
Choosing the right water jet cutting equipment can be challenging, as it is a vast market. Many manufacturers throw out a lot of technical terms to try and make their products appear the best.
However, deciding on the most suitable waterjet cutting machine should depend on your particular requirements. Here are some of the factors you should consider:
Outline a budget to spend on a water jet cutter. More features come at a higher price, so factoring in your budget can help you choose the equipment you can afford and features to ignore.
The water pressure of the water jet cutting machine will have a significant impact on the price. A medium-pressure pump will suffice if you want to cut stones of moderate thickness. You will require a more versatile ultra-high-pressure machine to handle the thickest materials.
A higher number of cutting axes on a waterjet cutting machine allows you to handle cutting shapes of greater complexity. A 5-axis cutter can create any intricate designs you require.
Some users might seek specific features for waterjet cutting. For instance, cutting stones underwater might be essential for people who want negligible noise during the cutting operation.
Best Water Jet Cutting Equipment for Stone
Techni Waterjet cutters offer the best value for money and material utilization. The abrasive waterjet’s unique ability to handle all materials and cut shapes makes it suitable for every workshop.
It comes with complementary software that even beginners can use with ease. The software is preloaded with common shapes for cutting stone, so you can create those with a single click.
Waterjet cutting is undoubtedly the best method to cut stone. It is a favorite among beginners and professionals because of its many benefits. And a waterjet cutting machine is easy to use.
The best part is that this method works for all materials, such as ceramic tile, granite, marble, engineered stone, or any other material you can think of.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding waterjet cutting of stone, marble, and granite.
Can a water jet cut rock?
Yes, cutting rock with water jet equipment is easy. In fact, water jet cutting machines designed for mining applications can cut through 100 feet of rock.
Can you cut quartz with a water jet?
Yes, you can make high-quality cuts in quartz. Most intricate designs in quartz are done with the help of water jet cutting.
How thick can a waterjet cut stone?
Waterjet cutting machines can cut 12 inches of the hardest stones like granite, marble, and quartz at high speed. Water jet cutting at an even greater thickness is possible if you decrease the cutting speed or increase the water pressure.
What pressure is needed for a water jet machine to cut stone?
For cutting soft rock, a water jet cutting machine of about 2,000 psi is enough. For harder stones such as granite, water jet cutting might require a pressure of up to 50,000 psi.
Will the stone crack or get damaged when cutting with a water jet?
No, the stone is not damaged or cracked by water jet cutting. This is because of the abrasive waterjet’s unique ability to eliminate surface stress in the cutting process.