Copper materials are used in a wide range of applications due to their physical properties, such as high thermal and electrical conductivity. Professionals rely on waterjet cutting technology for most copper-cutting jobs.
While copper waterjet cutting is simple and similar to cutting other metals, certain doubts arise, such as the types of copper materials that can be cut. This article will settle any questions regarding using a waterjet to cut copper and provide many tips to improve cutting quality and efficiency.
Can a Water Jet Cutter Cut Copper?
Yes, water jet cutting is great to cut materials such as copper. In fact, waterjet cutting provides several advantages (discussed in the sections to come) that make it the best copper cutting method compared to alternatives like laser cutting and plasma cutting.
Waterjet cutting copper works well up to a maximum thickness of 12 inches, which is more than enough for most applications. 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
What are the Benefits of Using a Water Jet to Cut Copper?
Water jet cutting provides several advantages when used for cutting copper. Some of these are:
Cold Cutting Process
Waterjet cutting is a cold-cutting technique, unlike alternatives such as laser cutting or plasma cutting. In methods like plasma cutting, the temperature at the cut edge rises sharply leading to heat-affected zones. Heat-affected zones change the visual appearance of materials and alter their properties and integrity.
But waterjet cutting has no heated element like a laser or plasma. Additionally, the water itself acts as a coolant. Therefore, there is no heat-affected zone formed during cutting.
One reason waterjet cutting is the professionals’ favorite is its high precision. Waterjet cutting is a highly accurate method, second only to laser cutting. The high precision also results in better 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 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 with waterjet cutting machines.
The high-pressure water used in cutting copper creates a cut-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 is 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 cutting processes available today.
Dust Free Cutting
All the copper particles generated during the cutting process dissolve in the water. These can be strained and recycled later on. In high-temperature cutting methods, the removed copper particles either settle in the workshop or form 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)
- Electrical Conductors
- Electronic Devices
- Sanitary Fittings
Tips For Cutting Copper With a Water Jet Cutter
Waterjet cutting is a far 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 significantly increase the speed and quality of waterjet cutting. For instance, replacing 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 can navigate through curves without stopping.
Using Stacking: Stacking can considerably increase the output of a waterjet cutting machine. When a project needs consistent shapes, stack multiple sheets of copper on each other and cut them simultaneously with one waterjet cutting machine.
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Jet Copper Cutting Machine?
If you are looking to buy a water-jet-cutting machine for copper, here are some things to consider:
Pump Pressure: High-pressure water is the element that accomplishes the cutting process. It might make you think that opting for ultra-high-pressure pumps (about 90,000 psi) will work the best. However, they are unnecessary since copper is a soft metal, and ultra-high-pressure pumps suffer 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. From the table size to the number of cutting heads incorporated, if a cutting machine has poor quality and design, it will break down frequently, leading to downtime for the manufacturer. However, good quality machines with spare part availability ensure a smooth, uninterrupted operation.
Number of Axes: More cutting axes mean the water jet cutting machine can create a highly intricate design. However, a higher number of axes also means a significantly higher equipment cost. Therefore, choose a machine with adequate cutting axes suitable for your design requirements.
Recommended Water Jet Cutting Machine for Copper
Do you want all the benefits of cutting copper using 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. Also, spare parts are available on short 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 can offer. The consistently smooth edges and high accuracy of cuts produced by water jet cutting speak for themselves.
Copper is an extensively used material, but only a few processes, such as water jet cutting, meet the demanding requirements for cutting it successfully. 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 best suits your requirements.