Choosing between laser and waterjet cutting is not as straightforward as it may seem. It’s not possible to say which one is better, as each can be more suitable for different materials and applications. Choosing between laser and waterjet cutting would, therefore, entirely depend on your specifications.
To begin deciding which technique would work better for you there are a number of questions that you would need to ask yourself, such as:
What type of material do you want to cut?
What is its thickness?
What tolerance and edge finish are required?
Does it matter if heat affects your part?
Laser cutting involves the use of a laser to melt, burn, or vaporize material. During the process, a focused beam of light is used for the cut. The laser can be static or move across the material. Laser cutters do well with materials that range between 0.12” and 0.4” in thickness, and are commonly used to cut flat sheets of medium thickness steel.
Waterjet uses a cutting jet of pressurised water, which is often mixed with an abrasive, such as garnet. The technique enables the cut of a wider range of materials, cleanly, to close tolerances, squarely and with a good edge finish.