Titanium is one of the hardest metals out there, which is why it finds countless applications where high strength and durability are required. It also narrows down the available methods for cutting titanium. This is why professionals often ask ‘Is water jet cutting titanium possible?’
Water jet cutting is an entirely different concept from other methods. Therefore, cutting titanium with a water jet requires an understanding of the unique benefits of this process and the tips to improve its quality.
Can a Water Jet Cutter Cut Titanium?
Yes, a water jet works quite well for cutting titanium. In fact, with waterjet cutting, you can cut titanium blocks up to 8 inches in thickness (12 inches for softer metals such as cutting aluminum). This is higher than any other method such as laser cutting can achieve.
There are many different types of titanium available commercially. Titanium waterjet cutting works well for every type of titanium, without any requirement to change the machine. Here are some of the different types of titanium cut using a waterjet:
- Commercially Pure Titanium
- Titanium Grade 1
- Titanium Grade 2
- Titanium Grade 3
- Titanium Grade 4
- Titanium Grade 5
- Metastable β Type Titanium Alloy
- α type Titanium Alloy
- α + β Type Titanium Alloy
- β Type Titanium Alloy
Apart from titanium, water jet cutting machines are used for a variety of metals.
What are the Benefits of Using a Water Jet to Cut Titanium?
Manufacturers prefer abrasive waterjet cutting titanium over any other alternative due to the several advantages of this process. Some of these benefits of waterjet cutting are:
No Heat-Affected Zones
A heat-affected zone occurs when the friction or heat generated by the cutting tool raises the temperature of the areas adjacent to the cut location. Heat-affected zones are unwanted as they can ruin the material integrity and make the material visually unappealing.
Since waterjet does not utilize a cutting tool and due to the presence of water, there is no heat-affected zone formed during the process. This is the biggest advantage of waterjet cutting.
When you cut titanium with abrasive waterjet cutting, there is high efficiency in the process. Additionally, waterjet has the capability to cut multiple sheets of titanium simultaneously by placing them on top of each other. This process is called stacking, and it boosts the productivity of the process exponentially.
By employing stacking, manufacturing units also save costs in terms of reduced labor, maintenance, and hourly costs. Stacking cannot be used in other cutting methods such as laser.
Machining titanium with a waterjet has one of the lowest tolerances, making it a high precision cutting process. This unmatched accuracy of waterjet cutting, combined with its high quality cuts, eliminate the need for any secondary finishing further saving time and costs.
Waterjet machines come in multiple-axis options such as 3-axis, 4-axis, 5-axis, and so on. A higher-axis machine provides the opportunity to create highly complex and intricate designs in 3 dimensions.
Water jet is one of the safest cutting methods out there. Firstly, the process itself does not require manual handling which eliminates the possibility of injury. Secondly, since it is a cold cutting method, there are no toxic fumes eliminated. This keeps the workspace safe for the workforce.
Dust Free Cutting
When you cut titanium with blades and cutters, it generates a lot of metal dust in the workplace. Methods like laser cutting create slag that is hard to get rid of. In cutting aluminum or titanium with a water jet, all the dust generated is dissolved in the water and can be separated easily with a strainer. This keeps the workshop clean and dust free.
Applications of Water Jet Cutting Titanium
Waterjet cut titanium is extensively used in applications such as:
- Jewelry Making: Jewelry applications require cutting titanium on a very precise and minute scale for making rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, and many other things. Since the thickness of a water jet is less than a human hair, it accomplishes this job quite well.
- Tennis Rackets: Sports equipment such as tennis rackets require cutting titanium or aluminum. The versatility and high-quality finish of the waterjet make it the ideal method for cutting aluminum and titanium for tennis racket production. Other sports equipment such as goaltender masks are also made with a waterjet.
- Cycle Frames: High-quality cycle frames are made by cutting titanium and aluminum and then welding the parts together. The cutting process is accomplished with a waterjet cutter for high productivity and accuracy.
- Smartphones: To make smartphones sturdy, they incorporate metals such as aluminum and titanium. Waterjet cutting titanium is the best way to make these frames due to the ultra-high level of precision and quality control required.
Tips to Improve Quality When Cutting Titanium With a Water Jet Cutter
It is quite evident that waterjet technology is the best way for cutting titanium. The cut quality of the process can be improved further by incorporating the following tips:
- It is recommended to cut titanium underwater as the water dampens most of the noise generated in the process. Cutting aluminum or titanium underwater keeps the work environment quieter and more comfortable.
- Adjust the cutting head nozzle and water pressure based on the thickness and type of titanium cut using the water jet. These values are generally provided by the manufacturer of the machine.
- Prefer using curved edges in the design instead of sharp corners when you cut titanium. Curves speed up the productivity of the process and make the hardened edge smoother to the touch.
How to Choose a Water Jet Titanium Cutter?
Titanium can be a difficult metal to cut but the right water jet machine can make the job quite easy. Here are some tips to choose the right machine:
- Pump Pressure: High-pressure water is the core of the waterjet cutting. Therefore, choose a pump with a pressure that is enough to handle your requirements.
- Axis: The number of axes in the machine will determine the complexity of the part that can be cut. Higher-axis machines increase the price significantly, so choose the right axis after examination of the parts that require cutting.
- Features: Additional features such as underwater cutting and software operation come in handy for better operation.
- Build Quality: Metals like steel and aluminum require a cutter with extra attention to the build quality or they can break down frequently.
Best Abrasive Waterjet Cutting Machine for Titanium
Techni CNC waterjet machines are often regarded as the leaders for cutting titanium, steel, aluminum, plastics, glass, or any other materials. These machines are used in all types of industries regardless of the scale and size of the production.
Techni Waterjet pays extra attention to the build quality to create rugged machines that ensure a smooth operation without breakdowns. There is a prompt spare part availability whenever required, along with complimentary software that has all the common cut shapes preloaded in the system.
In the last few decades, waterjet cutting services have replaced every other method in every manufacturing industry. Titanium cut with a waterjet has an edge quality and accuracy that is second to none. Additionally, the countless benefits of waterjet make it highly preferable over any other cutting alternatives.
Therefore, if you are wondering whether to use a waterjet to cut titanium, it is actually the best option out there. To know about the best machines for the job, get in touch with Techni Waterjet.