Comprehensive Comparison of Water Jet Cutting and Laser Cutting in CNC Machining

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by assistant


In CNC machining, precision and efficiency are of utmost importance. When it comes to cutting various materials, two popular methods stand out: waterjet cutting and laser cutting. Both technologies have their unique advantages and are widely used in various industries.

In this article, we’ll delve into the details of waterjet and laser cutting, comparing their features, applications, and advantages. Suppose you’re a CNC operator just starting out. In that case, you can determine which cutting technology is best for your specific CNC machining needs by understanding the advantages and limitations of each method. If you’re a designer, it’s a good idea to know some production techniques. Here are the details.


Water jet cutting

Waterjet cutting is a versatile and precise cutting method that utilizes a high-pressure stream of water mixed with an abrasive substance to cut a variety of materials. Typically, abrasive particles in a water jet enhance its cutting capabilities, allowing it to cut through materials such as metal, stone, glass, ceramics, and composites. Waterjet cutting has the following advantages:

Versatility: Waterjet cutting can handle materials of varying thicknesses and complexity, making it suitable for various applications, including aerospace, automotive, construction, and manufacturing.

No heat-affected zone: Since waterjet cutting is a cold cutting process, no heat is generated during the cutting process. This eliminates the risk of the material deforming, melting, or warping, making it ideal for heat-sensitive materials.

High Precision: Waterjet cutting enables high precision with tolerances as low as +/- 0.003 inches. This precision makes it suitable for intricate designs and delicate materials.


laser cutting

Laser cutting is a precise and efficient cutting method that uses a high-power laser beam to cut a variety of materials. The laser beam is focused and directed by computer-controlled mirrors to vaporize or melt material, resulting in clean, precise cuts. Laser cutting has the following advantages:

Speed and Efficiency: Laser cutting is known for its high cutting speeds, making it a top choice for projects that require quick turnaround times. It can cut thin to medium thickness materials easily and quickly.

Precision and Accuracy: Laser cutting offers exceptional precision with tolerances as low as +/- 0.001 inches. It can achieve complex cuts and complex geometries with extremely high precision.

Versatility: Laser cutting works on a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, wood, fabric, and more. It is widely used in industries such as automotive, electronics, signage, and jewelry.


Comprehensive comparison

In general, both waterjet and laser cutting can handle a wide range of materials. But waterjet cutting is particularly suitable for thick, heat-sensitive materials such as metal, stone, and glass. Laser cutting, on the other hand, excels at cutting thin to medium-thickness materials, including metal, plastic, and wood.

In terms of cutting speed, laser cutting is generally faster than water jet cutting due to the concentrated energy of the laser beam. This makes projects with tight deadlines or high volumes more efficient.

Cutting accuracy: While both methods offer high precision, waterjet cutting is generally better suited for thicker materials and complex shapes, while laser cutting excels at complex designs and thinner materials.

Heat Affected Zone: Waterjet cutting eliminates the heat-affected zone, making it beneficial for heat-sensitive materials. On the other hand, laser cutting may create a small heat-affected zone, which may affect some materials.

In conclusion

Waterjet cutting and laser cutting are two highly effective technologies used in CNC machining, each with its own advantages and applications. If you are looking for a CNC machining service manufacturer with advanced equipment to produce your design projects, Ruitai will be a good choice for you. We have advanced hardware equipment and experienced operating engineers to provide the most professional support for your CNC machining projects. Contact us today and we’ll provide you with a free quote. What are you still waiting for?