Copper materials are used in a wide range of applications due to their physical properties such as high thermal and electrical conductivity. For most of these applications, professionals rely on waterjet cutting copper.
While copper waterjet is simple and similar to cutting other materials, there are certain doubts that arise, such as the types of copper materials that can be cut. This article will settle any questions regarding this process and provide many tips to improve cutting quality and efficiency.
Can a Water Jet Cutter Cut Copper?
Yes, water jet cutting is a great process to cut materials such as copper. In fact, waterjet provides several advantages (discussed in the sections to come) which make it the best copper-cutting method compared to alternatives like laser cutting and plasma cutting.
Waterjet cutting copper has a maximum thickness of 12 inches, which is more than enough for almost every application. Additionally, this method can cut any type of copper, including:
- Pure copper
- Copper alloys
- Recycled copper
- Copper compounds
- High conductivity copper
- Hard tempered copper
- Soft tempered copper
- Scrap Copper
Apart from copper, water jet cutters are also very practical for cutting a variety of metals.
What are the Benefits of Using a Water Jet to Cut Copper?
Water jet cutting for copper provides several advantages. Some of these are:
Cold Cutting Process
Waterjet cutting is a cold-cutting process, unlike alternatives such as laser cutting or plasma cutting. In methods like plasma cutting, the temperature at the edge rises sharply leading to heat-affected zones. Heat-affected zones change the visual appearance of materials and alter their properties and integrity.
In waterjet cutting, there is no heated element like a laser or plasma. Additionally, the water itself acts as a coolant. Therefore, there is no heat-affected zone formed in the process.
One of the reasons that make waterjet cutting the favorite of professionals is the high precision of the process. Waterjet is the most accurate cutting process second only to laser cutting. The high precision also results In higher consistency. This is why water jet cutting is used for making cases for electronics such as iPhones and laptops.
Waterjet cutting is capable of processing thick blocks of copper at a high speed. Additionally, multiple copper sheets or pipes can be stacked together to exponentially increase production speed. This process is called stacking and is only possible for waterjet cutting machines.
The high pressure water used in waterjet cutting copper creates an edge quality that is second to none. The smooth edge quality eliminates the need for any secondary processing method such as grinding. It is also an added advantage in the aesthetic applications of copper.
Waterjet cutting does not require the operator to manually handle the tool. Additionally, there are no high-temperature laser or plasma that can cause burns. The lack of high temperature also eliminates the emission of toxic fumes during cutting. All these factors make waterjet cutting one of the safest processes out there.
Dust Free Cutting
All the copper particles generated during the cutting process get dissolved in the water. These can be strained and recycled later on. in high-temperature cutting methods, the removed copper particles either settle around in the workshop or form a melted slag that cannot be recycled due to contamination with other elements.
Applications of Copper Waterjet Cutting
Here are some of the use cases of copper materials cut with a waterjet cutter:
- Kitchen Utensils
- Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
- Rings and other jewelry
- Electrical Conductors
- Electronic Devices
- Sanitary Fittings
Tips For Cutting Copper With a Water Jet Cutter
Waterjet cutting is by far a very superior method for copper processing. It is possible to increase the cut quality and efficiency even further by incorporating the following tips when cutting copper:
- Optimizing Design: Making slight changes to the design can increase the speed and quality of waterjet cutting significantly. For instance, replace the sharp corners and edges with curves. This will speed up the cutting because the waterjet cutting machine has to stop and start at the sharp edges, but it can navigate through the curves without stopping.
- Using Stacking: Stacking can increase the output of the waterjet cutting machine with a huge output. When the project needs consistently the same shapes, stack multiple sheets of copper over each other and cut them simultaneously with the cutting machine.
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Jet Copper Cutting Machine?
If you are looking forward to buying a water jet cutting machine for copper, here are some of the considerations to make:
- Pump Pressure: High-pressure water is the element that accomplishes the cutting process. It might make you think that going for the ultra high pressure pumps (about 90,000 psi) will work the best. However, they are not necessary since copper is a softer metal and ultra high pressure pumps have frequent breakdowns. Choose a pump in the range of 50,000 psi to 60,000 psi for optimal performance and efficiency.
- Build Quality: Build quality is the driving factor for a waterjet machine. If a machine has poor quality and design, it will break down frequently leading to high downtimes for the manufacturer. However, good quality machines with spare part availability ensure a smooth, uninterrupted operation.
- Number of Axes: Higher cutting axis means that the water jet cutting machine can create a highly intricate design. However, a higher number of axes also means a significantly higher cost of equipment. Therefore, choose the machine axis that is suitable for meeting your design requirements.
Recommended Water Jet Cutting Machine for Copper
If you want to meet all the important factors for cutting copper with water jet cutting, Techni Waterjet cutters are the best equipment for the job. They are designed with the highest manufacturing standards to handle whatever you throw at them. Additionally, when the requirements arise, spare parts are available on quick notice.
Is a Water Jet the Best Solution For Cutting Copper?
Yes, waterjet cutting is the absolute best option for copper. The benefits mentioned earlier are just the tip of the iceberg of what water jet cutting copper has to offer. As you will notice, the smooth edges and high accuracy of copper speak for themselves.
Copper is an extensively used material and only a few processes such as water jet cutting meet the extensive requirement for the job.
Therefore, if you want to incorporate the best cutting method for your manufacturing workshop, look no further than a waterjet cutting machine. Get in touch with Techni Waterjet to find out which water jet cutting machine for your requirements.