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Frequently Asked Questions
Why was OMAX started when there were so many other waterjet companies around?
Are there special considerations for making glass parts?
What is the thickest material the OMAX JetMachining Center can cut?
There is a practical limit, and a physical limit. (The Grand Canyon was essentially created with a natural abrasivejet.) The practical limit for most materials and conditions is about four inches thick. Thicker than that, and tolerances drop while machining times increase. For some projects, however, OMAX users have found it practical to machine material eight or more inches thick. Cutting titanium is one such application where OMAX customers report great profits at these high thicknesses.
The physical limit is the maximum Z-axis travel, which is typically around 8 inches (20 cm) for most OMAX machines. The actual Z-axis travel will vary depending on options installed. Note that it is possible to cut parts that are thicker or taller than the maximum Z-axis travel by removing the slats and submerging the part in the catcher tank.
How is the material fixtured?
What size pump would be best?
This depends on the kind of work you want to do. If working in very thick metal, get a pump that is capable of putting a lot of horsepower to the nozzle. Although a smaller pump can machine thick metal, a larger pump will be faster, and therefore more practical. If cutting mostly thin metal, or doing water-only cutting, get a smaller pump. Smaller pumps are often cheaper, cost less to run, are easier to maintain, more reliable, and are quieter. Bigger pumps, however, allow faster cutting.
Note: It is very important to understand that it is horsepower at the nozzle that is important, not the size of the motor turning the pump. This is important because many pumps have big motors driving inefficient pumps, while other pumps have smaller motors running efficient pumps.
For example, a 50 hp (37 kW) intensifier pump will typically only put 30 hp (22 kW) to the nozzle, while a 30 hp (22 kW) crankshaft pump will put 28 hp (21 kW) to the nozzle. Examine the price and maintenance differences between the two types of pumps, and the lower horsepower pump quickly starts to look like the better choice:
Comparison with English units
50 hp intensifier = 30hp at nozzle = 20 hp lost to inefficiencies
30 hp crankshaft pump = 28 hp at nozzle = only 2 hp lost
Comparison with Metric units
37 kW intensifier = 22 kW at nozzle = 15 kW lost to inefficiencies
22 kW crankshaft pump = 21 kW at nozzle = only 1 kW lost
The amount of electricity lost as efficiencies can have a significant effect on operating cost. For example, if electricity costs $0.10 per KWH, and you are wasting 15 KWH per hour, then you are losing $1.50 per hour to heat. In addition, because Intensifiers require additional cooling water, you are losing even more in the cost of cooling water.
See also:A Comparison Between Intensifier and Crank Drive Pumps
Operating Efficiency of Crankshaft Drive Pumps (PDF)
What is the difference between an intensifier and a crankshaft pump, and why did the inventor of the modern style Intensifier decide that direct drive pumps are better?
The intensifier pump is not as efficient and is more costly to operate than the direct drive pump. It has pressure ripples and is noisy, but it does have a longer seal life and is more suited to 24-hour operations using multiple independent nozzles. The crank drive pump is quieter, uses less water and power and is more straightforward to maintain. It is the better option for environments where operating costs and profitability are important.
A Comparison Between Intensifier and Crank Drive Pumps
Operating Efficiency of Crankshaft Drive Pumps (PDF)
What other differences does a different size pump make?
When I purchase a machine from OMAX, how many licenses of the software do I get, and what does each additional seat (license for a computer) cost?
Upgrades to standard OMAX Software products are also free, as long as you own the machine.
Why would I ever want to upgrade my software? Isn't what came with the machine "good enough"?
See Intelli-Max Facts for an example of a past free software upgrade.
Does OMAX sell nesting software?
OMAX also works hard to support third party software vendors to help make their software support OMAX equipment. As a result, nearly all major third party nesting software vendors support the OMAX file formats, should you need features beyond those included in the OMAX software.
What other software options does OMAX offer?
This hardware/software combination can be used to locate precisely from features on an existing part. It can also be used to position a part on an arbitrarily placed piece of material, or to reverse engineer an existing part.
Another hardware/software combination is support for one or two additional Z axes. Each can be manipulated together or separately. The motorized Z-axis is standard on new machines, and available as an upgrade to older machines.
OMAX has many free utilities for file conversion, jet simulation, feed rate calculation, 3D Path Editing, remote machine tool monitoring, and other useful tasks. For details, contact email@example.com. Otherwise, you won't see a lot of additional options, simply because the software you need is built into the standard software for free.
What are some of the features of OMAX Make (the control software)?
What do software upgrades cost?
What are some of the features of OMAX Layout (The CAD/CAM software)?
What does the nesting built into OMAX do?
Parts can be manually nested using OMAX Layout
Clusters of parts already nested in Layout can be nested using the OMAX Array Nester
There are many third party solutions available. Nearly all third party nesting software vendors support the OMAX file formats directly. Those that don't yet support OMAX can be easily upgraded to do so, and OMAX will support your vendor in this effort for free. OMAX does not resell any third party nesting software specifically because there is no single package that will fit the needs all OMAX customers.
How do I program an OMAX?
Layout is a built-in CAD/CAM program developed by OMAX specifically for the job. Because it is designed for making OMAX tool paths, it is extremely fast and easy to use. It has all of the features needed to draw parts from scratch, import files from other CAD/CAM software, and create tool paths quickly. Because of its ease of use and speed, Layout is by far the most popular method for programming the OMAX.
Other CAD/CAM Support
OMAX file formats are published, and public. This means most major third party CAD/CAM software packages, such as MasterCam® and others, support the OMAX Routed Data tool path file directly. Other CAD formats, including DXF and DWG can also be imported into OMAX Layout.
Nearly any third party CAD / CAM, Nesting, scanning, or vector drawing software that does not currently support OMAX file formats can be upgraded to support the OMAX through a custom POST processor. The OMAX software engineering department will work with your CAD/CAM or third party software vendor as needed.
Other 3rd party software
In addition to CAD/CAM software, a wide variety of 3rd party software also already supports the OMAX file formats. For example, nearly all the major nesting software makers can write the OMAX ORD file format directly. In addition, OMAX can import DXF, DWG, and other common CAD file formats from nearly any maker. Scanning software, art and sign making software, and just about any CAD program can create files that OMAX can read.
Custom software solutions
It is possible to write your own software to output to the OMAX file formats. A few OMAX customers have taken advantage of this for specialty applications. OMAX can provide documentation useful for this.
What software comes for free with the machine?
CAD/CAM software for programming tool paths and drawing parts from scratch. Features waterjet specific drawing tools, image tracing, array nesting, gear generation, part clean-up, and many other tools that are especially useful for OMAX users.
Machine tool controller software. OMAX's patented third generation abrasive waterjet machine tool controller is designed and created specifically for the needs of abrasivejet and waterjet machining.
Remote machine monitoring across a network
OMAX Interactive Reference
Thousands of pages of in-depth help and advice on using the machine, including tips and tricks, tutorial, troubleshooting, technical reference, and much more. Extensive information for the beginner and advanced user alike.
A collection of miscellaneous utilities such as a 3D Abrasivejet Simulator, 3D Path Editor, Remote machine monitor, Feed Rate Calculator, Math Calculator, and more.
Why are OMAX machines so much faster than others on the market, while at the same time being so much more precise?
1. Superior software
OMAX incorporates an advanced cutting model into the controller which automatically creates the optimal cutting path. It varies speeds and accelerations so that no time is wasted going more slowly than necessary. In addition, the OMAX controller automatically takes advantages of many speed-up tricks that would be too difficult and cumbersome for a human to program. For example:
The OMAX controller automatically adds corner passing on corners that will allow for it. This can result in speed increases from 5 to 25%, depending on the geometry of the part. This process is automatic, and does not require additional work or knowledge from the operator.
The OMAX controller automatically adjusts the speeds and accelerations around curves and corners to optimize the tool path for speed, precision, and square corners. This makes it very fast and easy to program the machine, and allows the parts to be machined as quickly as possible while still maintaining the highest tolerances.
The OMAX controller selects the optimal pierce speed, and length, based on an advanced piercing model. This greatly speeds up the otherwise slow process of piercing the material, automatically and optimally.
There are also tools such as the "optimal stack height calculator", which can be used to greatly speed up some categories of parts.
2. Superior X,Y positioning system
All OMAX JetMachining Centers are designed for high precision machining. A combination of precision mechanics, rigid construction, and precision velocity control from the software insures the highest degree of precision in the machined parts, even in shops where vibrations from other tools such as punch presses or fork-lifts driving by may exist.
3. Superior direct drive pump technology
OMAX pumps are highly efficient, so 33% more horsepower makes it to the nozzle than in the competing intensifier pump designs. This means that for the same horsepower rating, the OMAX system's pump will cut much faster, and at a significantly lower cost.
4. Superior nozzle technology
OMAX MAXJET® and MiniJet nozzles are designed for maximum precision, life, and cutting speed.
How hard is it to learn how to operate the OMAX?
Can secondary machining operations on an existing part be done?
The optional OMAX Precision Optical Locator (POL) makes secondary machining on existing parts easy (for more information, see the POL Spec Sheet).
You can also do secondary operations on existing parts by cutting a "square" from a plate of steel, then sliding the parts into the corner of the square, which provides a known reference point.
The OMAX Controller also allows up to 100 user-specified home locations, which provides multiple tooling locations on a single machine.