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Author: Subject: Water-jet cutting?
David Jenkins

posted on 26/7/20 at 12:05 PM Reply With Quote
Water-jet cutting?

Nothing to do with cars - not directly, anyway.

I'm planning to upgrade my CoreXY 3D printer, which will involve mounting the motors, slides and pulleys on a single metal frame for accuracy and rigidity. The frame and its X-axis piece will be made from 5mm aluminium plate - the frame is roughly 450mm square, the X-axis roughly 450mm long. I have DXF files for both parts, although I'll need to modify them slightly. Note that the following picture suggests that the X-axis piece is narrower than the frame - this is due to the way the CAD software produced the images - in reality they're just about the same width.





Now I know three-fifths of f**k-all about water jet cutting. I don't know (a) where to find a company who can do this, and (b) how much it would cost. There are other details I'll need to know as well - many holes will end up being tapped for M3 screws, others will be 5mm clearance - should I ask the company to just spot the holes for me to drill out later, or can they do them accurately enough with the water jet?

Any advice and/or guidance gratefully received.

TIA, David

[Edited on 26/7/20 by David Jenkins]





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907

posted on 26/7/20 at 02:20 PM Reply With Quote
There's a place at Bulmer between mine and Sudbury. Goldingham Hall.

East Anglian Sealing Company Ltd.

Just had Turbo flanges cut for a Variomatic there. They also cut gaskets including vintage cylinder head jobbies.


Paul G

[Edited on 26/7/20 by 907]

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David Jenkins

posted on 26/7/20 at 03:25 PM Reply With Quote
Very useful - thanks Paul.





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rf900rush

posted on 26/7/20 at 04:59 PM Reply With Quote
Not water jet but laser cutting
These May be worth a try

https://www.sorblasercutting.co.uk/

You can get an online quote as well

I have used them for work.
I'm not how the cost compares to water jet.
I had 12 ali plates done cost was just over £100

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bi22le

posted on 26/7/20 at 07:42 PM Reply With Quote
The cost with these services is all in the set up. Unfortunately just having 1 of each will cost a lot, they may even strongly suggest you get 5 or 10 made for them to entertain the business. Would you be able to sell the others on to get some money back?

Regarding accuracy, they will be spot on really. cutting a tap M3 hole in 5mm plate maybe hard for them but you would need to confirm. That's an approx 2mm dia in 5mm thick plate.

Another point to note is the 'waste' material in the middle. They may not be able to nest the top part which means you will be paying for the middle. Depending on the side that may be unfortunate but again bump up cost.





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David Jenkins

posted on 27/7/20 at 07:12 AM Reply With Quote
Hmm - I hadn't thought about the setup costs for a one-off job... I said that I didn't know much about water-jet cutting!

One alternative is for me to fabricate something like this, using 2 separate plates (I already have the extruded frame that goes underneath):



The problem is that the slides I'm proposing to use have to be exactly aligned as they're very unforgiving - if they're not exactly parallel they won't run. Looks like it would be a much cheaper option though.





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coyoteboy

posted on 27/7/20 at 09:08 AM Reply With Quote
This guy did me a nice 600 long crank pulley tool which came in at about 65 shipped, but don't forget to tell him it's not a business and you need it shipping:
northwestwaterjet.co.uk

Setup time on waterjet cutting is minimal compared to other machining techniques, but it still takes time and a bit of CAM work.

While making it from Al will certainly improve your stiffness, unless you give flatness tols and potentially get the surface skimmed, you could still end up with a banana, just a stiff banana.





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Big T

posted on 28/7/20 at 12:51 PM Reply With Quote
I was recently on a course (laser cutting) with a chap who was based in Ipswich if I remember rightly. Iíll see if I can find their company name, they would be able to run this no problem, as would I but unfortunately I canít offer at the moment.
Let me see if I can locate their details.

[Edited on 28/7/20 by Big T]

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David Jenkins

posted on 28/7/20 at 01:56 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks - I'd appreciate that.

Answering some of the comments made:

  • aluminium plate - this can be bought ready-machined almost dead flat. I know this as I bought some for the bed of my printer! This comes at a premium, as I'm sure you can imagine. Water-jet cutting shouldn't distort this stuff.
  • Yes, there will be a piece cut out of the middle. Ideally I can design a few pieces to go in there to make best use of the cutting session and the materials.
  • I would probably get them to spot the holes undersized so that I can drill and tap them, although I might get them to cut the 5mm through holes as they're not super-critical. There are also a few elongated holes for adjustment that would be easier if they cut them.
  • This is a long-term project, as the current setup does work. It's just that (a) it's not a brilliant setup mechanically, and (b) it's a total PITA to maintain. I've just had to dismantle the top of the frame (non-trivial) to do some work on the bearings, and it takes me anything up to an hour to weave the drive belts through the pulleys.
  • Another reason why this is a long-term project is that I have to modify the DXF files a bit, so I have to learn the software (LibreCAD) and somehow validate the DXF before sending it to be cut (another skill to learn).

I look at this as an opportunity to learn new skills, which I always enjoy. Actually getting the metal cut will be near the end of the project, as I have to find a supplier of good-quality linear slides at an affordable price (not dodgy Chinese clones), learn how to modify the design to fit those slides, then assemble it all at the end. Definitely a long-term thing!





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cr500dom

posted on 10/9/20 at 06:52 PM Reply With Quote
http://www.inspiredwaterjet.com/

Speak to Tim
Really nice guy, knows his stuff

normally you can go straight to tapping drill size with waterjet but M3 might be a bit marginal in 5mm plate, Tim will advise

0.1mm accuracy is pretty standard nowadays on water or laser, so your other holes will be fine.

(Fractory are also often surprisingly good too for one offs)

Hope that helps

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coyoteboy

posted on 11/9/20 at 08:36 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
Thanks - I'd appreciate that.

Answering some of the comments made:

  • aluminium plate - this can be bought ready-machined almost dead flat. I know this as I bought some for the bed of my printer! This comes at a premium, as I'm sure you can imagine. Water-jet cutting shouldn't distort this stuff.



Intuitively, you'd think. Waterjet doesn't introduce cutting forces, but it can break internal stresses and end up with it bent. Just depends on your plate's heat treatment status and any internal stresses. Just warning that without flatness tols, you could get a 'nana and have no recourse- been there, done that with more mitigations in place than you can imagine





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