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Water jets can cut almost any material. Learn how very high pressure water, plus fine abrasive sand will help you cut what you could not have cut before.

How Do Waterjets Cut?

diagram explaining water jet cutting nozzle

Coupling CNC precision with intense water pressure can meet your toughest cutting requirements

The Colorado River cut the Grand Canyon in 6 million years.

Today, using very high-pressure water, mixed with fine abrasive sand and pumped through a focused orifice, water jets can cut metal or stone in minutes.

With the addition of CNC accuracy, the waterjet becomes the industrial-grade precision cutting technology of choice.

What Can You Cut With a Waterjet?

water jet cut tile, stone, metals, glass, rubber, foam

Water jet cutting is ideal for just about any material

With its unique cutting properties, a waterjet can cut a massive range of materials such as:

  • Metal (steel, aluminum, titanium and more)
  • Composites such as carbon fiber
  • Tile including ceramic, marble, and granite
  • Glass for art or industrial applications
  • Soft materials including plastic, rubber, and foam

The possibilities for waterjet cutting are virtually endless!

How do Waterjets Compare to Other Cutting Technologies?

There are many ways to cut a sheet of material. For applications that require digital precision (CNC), the four most common are machining, laser, plasma, and waterjet.

Each cutting method has its strengths and weaknesses, and no single method will work for everything.

Waterjet cutting overcomes the limitations of other technologies

Depending on which other cutting technology it is compared to, water jet cutting can offer various advantages including:

The chart below outlines pros and cons of each cutting technology. Since WAZERs are a unique type of waterjet (operating at a much lower water pressure) we distinguish between the WAZER Pro and large-format water jet machines.

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WAZER PRO WaterjetLarge-Format WaterjetIndustrial LaserCNC PlasmaCNC Machining
MaterialsAny MaterialAny MaterialNon-reflective MetalConductive MetalMetal, Plastic
AccuracyUp to ±0.005”±0.003”±0.001”Up to ±0.010”±0.0005”
ThicknessUp to 1”Up to 12”Up to 0.25”Up to 1”Above 0.25”
Cutting SpeedSlowSlowMediumFastSlow
Edge QualityGood(jagged bottom edge on thick material)ExcellentGoodPoorExcellent
Material DistortionNoneNoneHeat affected zoneHeat affected zone.
Warping on thin material.
Kerf (width of cut)0.044”0.030”0.007”0.1”Varies with tool
(parallel edges)
Cutting Area12” x 18”48” x 96”48” x 96”48” x 96”24” x 36”
Electrical PowerSingle Phase3-Phase3-Phase3-Phase3-Phase
Water Pressure7,150 psi60,000 psiN/AN/AN/A
Capital Cost$19,000>$100,000>$200,000$10,000>$50,000

Note: this table makes significant generalizations, because its purpose is to show a general comparison among cutting technologies. It should not be viewed prescriptively to define the performance of any one machine or technology. Actual performance of any machine will vary depending on the exact cutting conditions.

The Benefits of Cutting with Waterjets

While every technology has its place, water jet cutting offers the advantage of handling any material cleanly and safely.

Cuts any Material

So you can make things you could not have made before

Cold Cutting Process

No heat distortion, fumes, or ventilation requirements

Clean Cuts

Delivering tight tolerances, smooth surface finishes, and clean edges


Less dangerous and toxic than other processes

WAZER waterjets are suitable for virtually any factory, engineering lab, studio or classroom

waterjet cutting head

Who uses Waterjets?

The industries and applications for water jet cutting are literally limitless.

Water jets are used in any industry or project that needs to cut parts from sheet material, especially automotive, aerospace and metal fabrication shops.

Applications include rapid prototyping, one-off tooling, customized end-use parts, and low volume production. Virtually every industry in the manufacturing sector requires one or more of these applications.

Today, high schools, vocational schools, and colleges are preparing the next generation of engineers with hands-on CNC and technology skills to succeed. Many artists use waterjets to produce their designs, reducing manual labor.

WAZER is the First ACCESSIBLE Waterjet

Historically, water jets were limited to the largest industrial companies, because of their large size and expense. Now, WAZER brings industrial-grade water jet cutting to any factory, shop, school, or studio.

How are WAZER waterjets different from all other waterjets?

Easy and fast to setup and use

Small enough to fit in any shop

Affordable for any business

Standard power and water. No special utilities needed


Resonetics, a WAZER waterjet customer

How a Waterjet cutter paid for itself in 3 Months

A manufacturer reengineered its operations by moving tooling in-house, dramatically speeding up its turnaround time.


UC Boulder uses the WAZER water jet in its classrooms

Learning Aeronautics and CNC in the same Classroom

Students explore modern materials and learn CNC technology with hands-on project based learning.


Meet WAZER, the Small-Footprint, Industrial-Grade Water jet