Mechanical Basics

What is Water Jet Machining?

Water Jet Machining is a process of machining or cutting the materials to required shapes. It is one of the types of Non-Traditional or Non-Conventional Machining Process. The machining process is called as non-traditional or non-conventional when the materials are machined using the non-traditional and non-conventional machines.

Water Jet Machining Working Principle – Advantages & Disadvantages of Water Jet Machine

The non-traditional or non-conventional machines are the machine tools that does not use any cutting tool like single point and multi point instead, they will use electricity or water or pressure to remove the material. Such machines are called as non-traditional or non-conventional machines.

Does water jet really use for machining purposes? If so, does the water jet really capable of machining the metals? The answer to all these questions can be clarified in this post.

Water Jet Machining Working Principle:

  • As an individual, we know water is an important source of our survival in this nature. Apart from that, water can be used for several purposes in our daily life. Water plays a prominent role in Production world; It just means that water can be used for machining (or to cut the Metals with the help of water) of materials apart from using it for our daily purposes.
  • The cutting equipment that use water as a source to cut (or remove) the unwanted material to acquire a shape is called “Water Machining” whereas a high-velocity of water or Ultra High Velocity called Jet is used to cut the metals is called as the Water Jet Machining Process. As mentioned, this process is a non-traditional process because it is rare and cannot be seen in normal machining works.
  • A Water Jet Machining is a Non-Traditional Machining process or Special Purpose Machining Process which converts the Kinetic Energy into the high-Pressure Energy to achieve an Ultra High-Velocity jet that requires to cut even a hard metal.

What is Non-Traditional Machining Process?

The machining that requires an irregular process in cutting the materials or the materials and shapes that unable to machine by regular machining process requires different machining methods; such methods of machining are called the Non-Traditional Machining Process.

Water Jet Machine Parts:

A Water Jet Machining consists of the following parts.

  1. Water Tank or Reservoir: It is the reservoir that is required to store the water for the jet.
  2. Filter: The filter is used to remove the unnecessary or dust particles from the water.
  3. Pump: The pump is used to pressurize the water for machining.
  4. Accumulator: Accumulator is used to collecting and equalizing the pressured water.
  5. Control Valve Nozzle (consists of Orifice): It is used to pass the water and at the same time it will increase the velocity of the water for machining.

Types of Pumps Used in Water Jet Machining:

The pump is one of the parts or necessary processor in the water jet machining, it will pressurize the water to cut the material so, this process uses any one of the two types of pumps. They are

  1. Intensifier Type Pump.
  2. Direct Drive Pump.
1. Intensifier Type Pump:

This type of pump runs with a piston, the hydraulic oil pushes the piston in to and fro direction; due to this to and fro direction or movement the water will be compressed and as a result, the water acquires a large amount of pressure that is required to machine the material.

2. Direct Drive Type Pump:

This type of pump consists of the Crankshaft; it means it will be rotary motion type, the water enters into the pump and gets compressed; due to this compression, the water will achieve a good pressure to machine the materials or workpiece.

Water Jet Machining Process:

Water Jet Machining Working Principle – Advantages & Disadvantages of Water Jet Machine

  • The water will enter into the Filter from the Reservoir, then the dust particles or un-necessary material will be removed here and as a next step, the water will move forward into a Pump (whether it may be an intensifier or direct drive pump).
  • Water Jet Machining uses two types of pumps either Intensifier type or Direct Drive

In this pump, the water is pressurized up to 60,000 psi or 413 MPa and passes through Accumulator.

  • An Accumulator is a collecting tank that stores the compressed water to avoid the Pressure Fluctuations; after the pressure fluctuations are neutralized then it will head to the Orifice (diameter of 0.015) that located in the Nozzle.
  • In the Orifice, water will acquire a velocity of 900 m/sec because of its narrow diameter tube. Such velocity and pressure are all enough to shear or machine the material to the required Shape.

Metals that Water Jet can Machine:

I already defined that Water Jet used to machine the Metals where other Machining Process cannot do; it does not mean that Water Jet can machine all types of materials or metals whereas Water Jet Machine can machine only Soft materials like Wood, Plastics, Rubbers, Gaskets, etc.

It can machine intricate shapes where other traditional or conventional types of Machines cannot.

Technical Points in Water Jet Machining:

Here are some Technical Points that should be remembered in Water Jet Machining.

  • Maximum Pressure that water acquires at the end of Pump – 60000 psi.
  • Maximum velocity that water acquires after the orifice or nozzle – 900 m/sec approximately.
  • Orifice – Composite Tungsten Carbide or Sintered Boride.
  • Nozzle – Saphire.

Advantages of Water Jet Machining:

  • Water Jet Machining can machine intricate shapes on Soft Materials.
  • It gives good finishing where others cannot.
  • No friction develops so there will be no chance of heat production.
  • Water Jet Machining has a Minimal Inner Radius.

Disadvantages of Water Jet Machining:

  • Water Jet Machining cannot be used for normal or traditional machining purposes.
  • It needs a separate reservoir for water storage.
  • Water Jet Machining is only used for machining soft materials.
  • Water Jet Machining requires a large setup when compared to traditional Machines.

Applications of Water Jet Machining:

Applications of Water Jet Machining is wide and cost-effective and it is used to machine the parts or materials that use in

  • Aerospace
  • Aluminum body part:
  • Interior cabin panels.
  • Titanium Bodies, etc.
  • Architectural works
  • Electronic Parts.
  • Automotive Parts.
  • Gaskets.
  • Medical/Surgical.
  • Glasses.

As the above application materials are soft and required intricate materials so, it can be machined by the water jet machine. By this application, it is proved that Water Jet Machining is used to machine the soft and intricate materials for good and proper finishing.


The Water Jet is all about using the pressurized water for machining purpose and it does involve many equipments that are sensitive and cost-effective too. As this type of process is used to cut the intricate shapes, the usage of the water jet is rare when compared to the traditional machining process. For that reason, the water jet machining is  costly and even the machining process is cost-effective.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is Water Jet Machine?

The water jet machine is a non-conventional machine that is used for machining process. In the field of mechanical, it is not possible to machine or cut all types of materials and shapes using conventional or traditional machines so, there are few machines tools that helps to accomplish few tasks and water jet machine is one of them.

2. How the machining done using Water Jet?

The main source that is used for machining process is Water. The water is compressed to high pressure using a pump and allowed to flow through a narrow hole called Nozzle which we call as Water Jet. Due to this high pressurized water flow through nozzle, the metal will be machined perfectly as planned.

3. What are the parts used in Water Jet Machine?

The parts that are used in Water Jet Machine are

  • Water Storage or Tank
  • Accumulator
  • Pump or Compressor
  • Control Valve
  • Nozzle
  • Filter

4. What type of materials can be used to machine using Water Jet?

The Water Jet machine is a type of non-conventional machining process that is used to machine or cut the soft materials like Aluminum, Copper, Plastics, Glass, etc. Water Jet Machine is a kind of machining process that mainly used to machine or cut the complex or intricate shapes.

5. What kind of machining process is Water Jet Machining?

The Water Jet Machining process is not process that is used for regular materials. As it is used to machine the soft and complex materials, water jet machining process is called as Non-Traditional or Non-Conventional Process.

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