When it comes to laser cutting and water jet cutting, we know the ins and outs of each process. As part of our full-service production capabilities, the two processes serve an important point for many people in a variety of industries like construction, automotive, and safety. 

Water jet cutting and laser cutting are two of the most commonly used processes that metal manufacturers employ to cut materials. A machining company will be able to determine which process is the best to use for the specific project that you might have.

But for those outside of a machining company like Fab-Tec, you might be wondering what the differences between water jet cutting and laser cutting are. 

Differences in Laser Cutting

When it comes to laser cutting, a gas laser is what powers this process. Mirrors help to guide the gas laser during the process as well, ultimately directing the laser to whatever material is being cut.

There are a number of materials a machining company can cut with lasers. Those materials include glass, wood, plastic, and virtually any kind of metal. Laser cutting typically works the best with materials that range in thickness between 0.12 and 0.4 inches.

The waste that is left behind from metal fabrication cutting is also important to consider. Laser cutting helps reduce the amount of waste, making for a more environmentally friendly process! Waste will appear as dust for the most part and can easily be cleaned up through vacuuming. 

Lastly, laser cutting is an extremely precise cutting method that can work at a fairly quick pace.

Differences in Water Jet Cutting

Where laser cutting uses a laser to perform cutting, water jet cutting uses pressurized water to cut through different materials. A machining company that performs water jet cutting, like here at Fab-Tec, can expect a water output of about 4 to 7 kilowatts.

Water jet cutting is also a cold process! For those in the aerospace industry and other spaces where you might want to avoid alterations to the physical state of the material being cut, a cold process is perfect because there won’t be any heat warping or other changes.

Water jet cutting isn’t quite as precise as laser cutting can be. This is most prevalent when dealing with small or thin parts. This is due to the high level of force that using a water jet creates, meaning that small pieces need to be handled carefully.

Lastly, water jet cutting is able to cut just about any kind of material. These materials include: aluminum, titanium, hardened steel, and others. 

Best of Both Worlds with Fab-Tec

As you can see, there are some key differences between water jet and laser cutting. The experts at Fab-tec can guide you to the process that will work best for your fabricated parts. Get in touch today with any specific questions you may have.

Reach us through our contact page or call us today to learn more!