Industrial water jet cutters can easily run over $100,000. Adam Libert, a young engineer, led his team to design and create the first Low-Cost Water Jet Cutter at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. His version brought that cost down to about $10,000, making it more feasible for Fab Labs and workshops to own and use.
Adam’s custom-designed water jet includes all of the advantages of commercial water jet cutting machines but has a compact 2 ft. by 2 ft. footprint on wheels and uses a normal electrical outlet. Meaning, it can easily fit in most spaces or moved to any location, and conveniently plugged into an outlet.
This newer model is ideal for small businesses and facilities like Fab Labs for its low-cost yet powerful pressure-cutting abilities.
A water jet cutter is a machine that can cut materials, such as metals, plastics, composites, acrylics, and more, using an extremely high pressure stream of water. It is used for a wide range of industries, such as medical, aerospace, automotive, food and energy, and for smaller projects like metal signage and stamps. Over the years, water jet cutting has become more and more favored over other methods of cutting because of its ability to produce a smooth cut without heat and chemicals.
According to MILCO Water Jet company, other cutters like laser and plasma rely on high heat and chemicals, which can leave burn marks on materials and release toxins into the air. Since water absorbs heat and relies on water pressure, materials won’t become altered or discolored with a water jet.
Additionally, since water jet cutters force water downward, the material is secured to the table, thus the material suffers no mechanical stresses.
Adam Libert is presently a Structures Engineer at Space X in Los Angeles, CA.
Visit Adam Libert’s website.