Glass is the foundation for decor, from art to architecture. For making glass usable in these applications, glass cutting is required.

Glass cutting is not as simple as it may sound. For one thing, glass is delicate and can shatter on the applications of improper force. Additionally, glass has sharp corners so it requires a method that does not cause any damage to the operator.

This article will discuss waterjet glass cutting and its various benefits and applications. You will also learn about the many tips to improve waterjet glass cutting quality.

Can You Cut Glass With a Water Jet Cutter?

Yes, cutting glass is quite possible with waterjet cutting. In fact, waterjet cutting is one of the best cutting methods for glass cutting. Waterjet glass cutting works for any possible types of cuts. It is also possible to etch glass with waterjet cutting.

What are the Benefits of Using a Water Jet to Cut Glass?

There are many advantages of waterjet cutting that makes it one of the best methods to cut glass. Some of these benefits are:

Versatility

Waterjet glass cutting works for any type of glass and any thickness of glass. This factor alone is one of the major reasons for adopting waterjet cutting. Cutting glass through conventional cutting methods requires particular tools for different types of glass and its thickness.

Smooth and Precision Cutting

When cutting glass with a waterjet, the edges are completely smoothly cut. This not only eliminates the risk of injury through sharp edges, it also adds to the aesthetic appeal of the glass. The high precision makes the glass usable in intended applications without secondary finishing.

Complex Shapes

It is possible to create complex cuts on glass with waterjet glass cutting. For this purpose, a multi-axis water jet cutting machine is used. These machines can make 3D cuts as well as etch the glass without cutting through it completely.

Minimal Kerfs

The water stream in waterjet cutting has a very narrow width. Due to the narrow width, the kerfs in waterjet cutting are negligible. The minimal kerf means that there is negligible wastage of material and higher accuracy.

Increased Productivity

Multiple panels of glass can be placed on top of one another and cut simultaneously with waterjet cutting. This process is known as stacking. It increased the production speed of the process manifold. Additionally, the parts cut through this process are highly identical.

Reduced Scrap

It is possible to reuse all the glass removed in the waterjet cutting process. This glass dust can be separated from water easily with a mesh and reused as an abrasive. Therefore, the wastage created in waterjet cutting is very low volume.

Flexible Tooling

Waterjet technology works in the same manner for any type of glass. Therefore, with the same abrasive waterjet setup, you can cut ordinary glass, laminated ballistic glass, laminated glass, and other glass materials. Tooling change is not required even for varying thicknesses of glass.

Low Operating Cost

The cost of the operations of abrasive waterjet technology is very low. The main requirement is water, which is cheap and abundant. Other than that, the cost of abrasives makes up for the remaining major costs. However, since the abrasive can be reused in the process, the operating costs remain very cheap.

Applications of Waterjet Cutting Glass

There are many applications of cutting glass with water jet cutting. Here are some of these applications:

  • Ornamental Pieces: Waterjet technology can create very intricate and small size glass parts due to the extremely thin waterjet width and high precision. For this reason, water jet cutting is applied for making ornamental pieces of glass.
  • High-Pressure Resistant Glass: Certain types of glasses are built to resist high pressure and even explosions. These types of glass have a high thickness, so ordinary cutting methods don’t work well. Waterjet technology is a great option since it can cut thick glass with ease.
  • Shower Doors: Glass shower doors and windows add a luxurious feel to modern bathrooms while adding a lot of utility. These doors are made through waterjet technology for smoothly cut edges and high precision.
  • Mirrors: Cutting mirrors is a sensitive task since it requires special care to avoid chipping of the reflective paint side.
  • Table Top: It is common to install water jet cut glass panels on top of the center table and dining table. Glass top not only looks elegant, it is also easy to clean and maintain.
  • Insulated Glass: In recent years, the application of large panels of insulated glass on buildings has become common. This glass provides the ability to keep indoor areas thermally insulated from the outdoors.
  • Automotive: Automotive industries have extensive use of varying types of glass. Strong fiber glass is used on windshields and windows of cars and other vehicles. Smaller, reflective panels are used on the rearview mirrors.

Tips for Cutting Glass With a Water Jet Cutter

It is easy to cut glass with a high-pressure water jet and the process does not require a high level of expertise. However, there are certain tips that can improve the quality of the cut.

Fixturing: When cutting glass on a waterjet cutting table, it is important to add sufficient support surface under the glass. This surface should be evenly spread out under the glass, and should be soft enough for the waterjet stream to pass through without bouncing back on the glass.

Quality of Abrasive: The quality of abrasive can significantly improve the quality of the cuts. Using finer abrasive eliminates microchipping of the glass edges along the cut.

Sagging: A long abrasive line can cause sagging of the abrasive, leading to the possibility of glass cracking. Reducing the abrasive line can eliminate sagging, leading to a better abrasive flow and prevent cracking.

Cutting Mode: High-end waterjet cutters, such as those provided by Techni Waterjet, come with a complimentary software. This software contains various cutting modes, so choose the right cutting mode when cutting brittle material like glass.

Water Pressure Control: Waterjet technology uses water at very high pressure. However, when cutting glass using an abrasive waterjet, start with low pump pressure and increase it slowly. This is because the abrasive flow rate is quite slow in the beginning, so the water pressure should be proportional to this flow rate for cutting consistency

Lead-in: When cutting glass with a waterjet, it is a good idea to have a long lead-in if possible. A long lead-in ensures that if a crack emerges during the first piercing, the cracking does not enter the edge of the final glass part.

Temperature Shifts: Sudden shifts in temperature can cause the ordinary glass to break. For instance, if the glass is taken out of a hot water tank and gets in touch with cold air or cold water from a hose, it can lead to the shattering of the glass.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Water Jet Cutter

A water jet can be an expensive investment. Therefore, evaluating different cutters on some important factors can be beneficial to make sure that you make a cost-effective decision.

  • Cutting Axis: The cutting axis is the freedom of movement of a water jet machine. The higher the number of axes, the higher the complexity of parts that can be made with the cutter. Multi-axis cutters (four or more cutting axis) greatly increase the cost of the machine.
  • Water Pressure: Water jet cutting is all about using the high pressure of water to remove the material from the workpiece. The pressure denotes the capability of the waterjet machine. Therefore, the cutter you choose should have sufficient pressure to cut glass of your thickness.
  • Software Compatibility: Modern waterjets can work without human intervention, through compatible software. Ideally, the software should come bundled with the waterjet cutter, along with the common cut shapes preloaded in the software.
  • Budget: The price range of water jet cutters is vast. Therefore, shortline a budget that you can spend on the machine itself, and then browse through the various machines that fall into this budget.

Recommended Machine For Glass Cutting

Techni Waterjet is one of the most reliable water jet manufacturers, providing a range of cutters with varying features and functionality. These machines are often lauded by industry experts due to their high value for money. They shine bright in all the factors mentioned above, and can cut through any material thickness.

These machines come with complimentary software that contains preloaded cutting shapes you commonly require. Additionally, there is an extended warranty that reflects the manufacturer’s faith in the build quality of these water jets.

Is a Waterjet the Best Solution for Cutting Glass?

Yes, waterjet cutting is undoubtedly the best glass cutting method. There is no other method that provides the benefits and scalability of waterjet glass cutting while retaining a pinpoint accuracy in the process.

Conclusion

Regardless of the type of glass, waterjet cutting is the go-to choice for glass machining. In fact, the process is extendable beyond glass and can also be used on any other soft or hard material. For this reason alone, waterjet machines are being adopted across all industries involving metal, wood, glass, plastics, and more.

Therefore, if you are in need of an industrial cutting machine for metal, glass, or any other material, do give waterjet cutters a try. For more information, browse through the vast catalogue of high-end cutters provided by Techni Waterjet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some common concerns regarding waterjet cutters:

Can you cut tempered glass with a water jet cutting machine?

No, it is not possible to cut tempered glass with a water jet cutting machine. Tempered glass is an exception for waterjet cutting, since this type of glass is designed to shatter into pieces whenever it is punctured.

Can you cut stained glass with a water jet cutter?

Yes, waterjet cutting can be easily applied to stained glass of any thickness and dimensions.

Can you cut laminated glass with a water jet cutting machine?

Yes, water jet cutting machine can cut through laminated glass. In fact, the hardest variety of this glass, such as laminated ballistic glass material, can also be cut with a water jet.

Can waterjet cut bulletproof glass?

Yes, water jet machines can cut through bulletproof glass.

Can waterjet cut float glass?

Yes, a water jet can cut float glass material without any risk of glass shattering.

Can waterjet cut strengthened glass?

Yes, the waterjet can easily cut strengthened glass material at a high speed with an abrasive of higher mesh sizes.

Can waterjet cut thin glass?

Yes, the waterjet can cut thin glass with ease. In fact, waterjet cutting is one of the best methods for thin glass since other alternatives can cause the thin glass material to break.

What glass can’t be cut by a water jet glass cutter?

Among all materials, only tempered glass cannot be cut with a water jet cutter. This is because tempered glass is designed to shatter upon impact or puncture.

 

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