Excerpt from the Fabricator
2-D + 3-D = 5-axis waterjet cutting
While five-axis operations such as bevel cutting and other weld prep operations have been possible on abrasive waterjet machines for some time, the capability to process 3-D parts such as tubes and pipes on the same waterjet is relatively new. This is opening up new possibilities for metal fabricators.
Shops that once focused primarily on flat 2-D work now have the opportunity to take on 3-D work with one five-axis abrasive waterjet machine. And those shops specializing in tube and pipe fabrication can now process their 3-D cylindrical parts on the same type of machine. Additionally, that same five-axis abrasivejet machine allows fabricators to process flat 2-D parts, such as gussets and supports, that may have been previously farmed out to other shops.
Because abrasive waterjet machines cut practically any material, fabricating shops with five-axis machine capability can broaden their markets in terms of the materials they are able to process. Shops can waterjet-cut glass and help customers avoid the headaches associated with machining these types of brittle materials. The waterjet, without the use of abrasive, can be used to cut rubber gaskets and forms much more quickly and cleanly than conventional cutting equipment. The waterjet, using low-pressure piercing, also can cut stone for architectural or decorative purposes.