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The craft and beauty of water jet cutting

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of water jet cutting. It’s often seen as a tool for industries like car manufacturing, aviation, petrochemicals, food production and electronics. But what we really love about it is its versatility. And drill down into that a little further (no pun intended), and it’s the intricacy and beauty that water jet cutting is capable of producing that really has us hooked.

Here are three projects that demonstrate how the strength of water jet cutting and its accuracy can produce beautiful, even delicate work on materials such as stone and metal. The end results are objects or effects that are more closely associated with traditional craftwork. We believe water jet cutting perfectly complements art, design and architecture.

Natural stone jigsaw puzzle
Water jet cutting lets you create special objects out of unusual materials. Take for example this jigsaw puzzle cut from a 160-pound slab of natural stone. A few enthusiasts, working with a 60,000 psi water jet cutter, created what may be the world’s heaviest jigsaw puzzle. The beautiful stone pieces slot together with satisfying precision – have a look at how they did it on The Waterjet channel on YouTube.

Not a chisel and hammer in sight, and all done in under 2 hours! Water jet cutting is ideal for this project because the technology does not stress or damage the material, in this case the natural stone. All that was needed was an idea, the right raw material, and water jet cutter know how!

Ceramic tiles project in Switzerland
At TMC, we’ve undertaken stunning visual arts projects for customers that we’re understandably proud of. One that stands out for its detail and impact is ceramic tiling for a public art project within a building renovation in Switzerland.

The new space, designed by architects Bak Gordon & Maurer, included an enclosure with a study room and garden at the core of the building, reminiscent of a cloister gallery. Natural wooden screens partitioned the study area and garden from the corridor, creating a central hall that focused on quiet and concentrated study.

Ceramic tiling was chosen to introduce accents of intense colour in the hall, contrasting with the minimalist surroundings. The designers proposed relatively small tiled surfaces to offset and enhance the building rather than to compete with the prevailing aesthetic.

The areas ideally suited to the addition of ceramic tiles were the light wells and staircases, where they would provide natural framing to the building’s features. The proposed pattern for the tiles was based on trapezoidal shape cut very precisely by means of water jet and repeated in a three-colour-way scheme in jade green, deep red and eggshell white.

In addition to the overall ‘wow’ impact of the finished project, we were delighted to serve clients in Europe, as Switzerland, France and Germany have some fine water jet cutting companies of their own.

Cutting tiles is an incredibly common requirement. Here is a closer look at how water jet cutting stacks up the task for precision and cost compared to laser and mechanical cutting.

Bespoke central London building sign
We worked with Leander Architectural to produce a beautiful metal and gilt sign for a building in Great Marlborough Street in London, situated near the top of Carnaby Street.

The building dates back to 1710 and was once the location of the historic London College of Music. The sign sitting above its entrance needed to be elegant and impactful, to catch the eye and be in keeping with the period of the property.

Our role was to produce the intricate frame from Leander Architectural’s designs, turning their plans into reality. Traditional blacksmith’s skills were then used to finish off the rest of the detail, which was finally painted and gilded in gold leaf.

For the accurate cutting of a metal frame, water jet cutting cannot be bettered. Creating this stylish sign called for a fusion of modern technology and skills, and traditional metalwork and blacksmith’s craft, which made the end result particularly satisfying for us.

Find out more about this project.

New scholars’ bridge in Oxford

The last bridge to be built over one of Oxford’s city centre streets was the iconic Bridge of Sighs completed in 1914.

We were commissioned by Anthony Walters Architectural Metalwork to contribute to work on a new bridge for Brewer Street, linking old and new parts of Pembroke College over a surviving section of Oxford’s medieval city wall.

The plan for the bridge was to combine traditional and contemporary design, using glass and steel. Anthony was looking for a way to cost effectively and quickly produce the unique stainless steel components.

We took over the making of the stainless steel beveled handrail support for the bridge. Using the latest XD technology, we were able to manufacture the beveled and profiled parts in one operation; these were then welded together to complete the bridge.

The new bridge allows students and staff to to cross Brewer Street between the old and new parts of beautiful 16th-Century Pembroke College. You can see photos of the bridge construction project here.

Find out more about this project.

You can read more about water jet cutting projects we have undertaken for the art or design world, including a spectacular grating for the V&A Museum in London, and sculpture outside Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery. And you can discover more about the Swiss ceramic tiles art project here too, which was called Queen to Bishop; A Rite of Passage.

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.