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An Introduction to Water Jet Cutting Abrasives

The abrasive added to water jet cutting is essential for creating a cutting force capable of getting through harder materials.

However, not many people know what is used as the abrasive, why this substance was chosen or what the advantages are.

In this post, we will provide some key details but also point you in the direction of a wonderful resource, a video made by water jet cutting experts over in Minnesota – Hennco Water Jet Supply. We suggest that if you are reading this in the US, give them a call for all your water jet cutting needs, those in Europe and the UK should look us up.

Plug over with, let’s look at abrasives.

Topics covered in the video, include.

What are abrasives?

Abrasives are any material that causes damage, wear or removal to a surface material by grinding or rubbing.

There are two main types – natural and manufactured. Within each there are numerous materials.

The best abrasive for water jet cutting

Initially, a huge range of substances were tried, including sand, but garnet was found to be the best, specifically almandine garnet. This has the right combination of toughness, denseness and particle shape and size to work perfectly as an abrasive.

More on where the garnet is sourced from in the video.

Within garnet, there are pros and cons between the different forms of garnet – some are more cheaply produced, others offer better cutting performance.

Abrasive Blends

Nowadays it is common to use abrasive blends, you might like to think of this as similar to a coffee blend, giving a bit of the best of many worlds.

By using a blend the perfect garnet can be made for any situation or cutting purpose.

As water jet cutters, we don’t always require the same abrasive, after all, the density of what we are cutting will vary greatly, so too the level of accuracy and detail required. Clearly, it would be a mistake to use the highest grade blend, the most expensive mix when this is not required for the cutting job at hand.

Equally, cutting intricate parts in a dense material would be a laborious task if too low a grade was chosen.

The expertise of the water jet cutters lies in not only having the many options at hand, but also knowing which to use for each job to maximise efficiency, creating the cut in the most timely, cost-effective manner.

A Trick to See The Quality of the Garnet

The video gives away a little pro tip which lets you see the quality of a garnet in a quick and easy way.

Grab a clear bottle and fill it to close to the top with water, then pour in the garnet. If it all settles quickly to the bottom, with no cloudiness higher up you have a good quality garnet, if the water towards the top is cloudy, this means there are many non-garnet impediments.

The impediments not only do nothing to aid cutting, they can actually dampen the cutting effect.

Garnet is relatively heavy and so settles quickly to the bottom.

Work with the UK’s leading Water Jet Cutters

At TMC, we are a water jet cutter who serve the whole of the UK and increasingly Europe too, with clients across the content trusting us to work on their projects.

Despite our success, we remain a company that focusses on every client and work on projects of all sizes.

If you think water jet cutting might be of use for your project, please do get in touch for an obligation-free chat.

Call us on 01625 610 441 or use our Contact Form.