Cut edge quality refers to how rough the edge of a cut part appears and how square it is. With waterjet, edge qualities typically range from Quality 1 (Q1) to Quality 5 (Q5) with Q5 being the best, most accurate edge quality. Following are descriptions for edge quality options available when cutting with OMAX abrasive waterjet machines.
Edge Quality 1
Q1 is described as a “separation cut”. It’s a rough cut and the edge has pronounced lines, called striations. While Q1 does not produce a high quality edge, it will give you very fast cutting speeds and can be used for roughing out parts.
Edge Quality 2
Q2 is a medium rough cut. The striations are less noticeable than in a Q1 edge and cutting speed is a bit slower than Q1.
Edge Quality 3
Q3 is a standard machining cut. The quality is good with striations on the bottom half of the cut. Q3 is a little slower than Q2 and is the most commonly used edge quality.
Edge Quality 4
Q4 is a high quality finish. The striations are minimal.
Edge Quality 5
Q5 is a very high quality finish. It is very precise and has no striations. Q5 produces the most accurate edge quality.
In abrasive waterjet machining, cutting speed and edge quality are directly related. In general, the higher the quality, the slower the cutting speed. It is possible to choose Q5 for every cutting job, but it may take two or three times as long to achieve Q5 than Q3 on the same part. Since the time taken to cut parts is usually a major factor in the cost of project, you must take into consideration the requirements in the job specification and select the appropriate edge quality to give you the edge quality you need at the fastest possible cutting speed.