Advantages of Water Jet Cutting vs. Laser Cutting

Cutting thickness, material and accuracy requirements are primary considerations when choosing between water jet and CO2 laser cutting for your application. As the water jet cutting specialists of Greater Cincinnati, Hydro-Cut offers optimized CNC cutting solutions that yield better results than laser cutting services in many situations.

What are some advantages of water jet cutting over laser cutting?

  • Because water jet cutting is a cold process, there is no thermal distortion, melting or cracking of the material being cut, as you will find with laser cutting. For cutting softer materials with a lower melting point, this can be a particular problem - such as in laser cutting of plastic.
  • Water jet can cut material that is up to 10" thick and routinely cuts 2-6” thicknesses in metal with abrasive water jet cutting, while laser machines can cut no more than 0.75" thicknesses.
  • Water jet cutting is effective on a wider range of materials than laser. In particular, water jet machines can handle reflective and “mirror finished” materials, while the laser cutting process has difficulty in this situation.
  • Unlike laser cutting, water jet loses minimal focus when cutting uneven surfaces.
  • The water jet process can also cut stacked layers of different materials with various melting points, which poses a problem for laser cutting.
  • On parts thicker than 0.5", water jet machines can achieve higher tolerances than laser cutting services and this advantage improves as the thickness of the part increases.
  • Cleaner edge quality can be achieved with water jet than laser cutting.
  • The water jet process is particularly "friendly” to the environment and does not create potentially hazardous gasses as CO2 laser cutting does.