Finepart | How to cut | Micro Waterjet Cutting Titanium – Precision Cutting Titanium

Micro Waterjet Cutting Titanium – Precision Cutting Titanium

Micro waterjet cutting titanium – In this article, we will show you how cutting titanium with micro abrasive waterjet can be done with ease and how you achieve both ultra-high precision and efficiency using just one cutting process.

Titanium offers a very attractive combination of characteristics, including a high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent mechanical properties, and superb corrosion resistance. This makes titanium the ideal choice for critical applications in the aerospace industry, various medical fields, and many other areas that leverage advanced materials.

Video showing precision cutting titanium

Why titanium can be difficult to cut

Titanium’s impressive properties work together to compound how difficult it is to cut or machine this material. It’s high tensile strength makes the material resistant to deformation, while it’s comparatively low modulus of elasticity makes it so that deformed material galls around mechanical cutting tools instead of breaking off. This causes increased wear on tooling, results in slower processing times, and makes reaching precision tolerances all the more challenging.

Titanium also has a low thermal conductivity compared to steel for example. This makes it more difficult for thermally-based processes to cut or machine the titanium without excessive heat build-up damaging the workpiece and effecting its properties. This effect is even more exaggerated in thicker titanium parts which require more cutting time to process, resulting in a higher localized heat build up. In order to manage this heat input, many thermal processing methods will need to extend cutting and machining times to allow for slower heat buildup and easier cooling.

As a non-contact, cold-cutting process, the Finepart micro abrasive waterjet machines therefore has a distinct advantage for the precision cutting of titanium parts.

Benefits of Cutting Titanium With a Micro Waterjet

Waterjet cutting titanium is a very efficiency process. A micro abrasive waterjet can cut Titanium of any thickness, with very little effort, extremely high precision, low cost, and minimal tool wear. All together cutting titanium with micro abrasive waterjet provides manufacturers with highest precision available in waterjet technology. The high precision cutting capabilities allows manufacturers to cut complex 2D and 3D parts in higher quality, at higher levels of productivity, and capture the financial advantages.

The elastic behavior of titanium makes it more difficult for mechanical processes to meet tight cutting tolerances, but micro waterjet machines can achieve tolerances as low as +/- 10 microns.

Thanks to a combination of precision CNC micro waterjet, highly accurate controls, and minimal cutting kerf width, a micro waterjet machine can easily carry out complex cutting operations for parts with ultra-fine details. 

Unlike cutting by traditional waterjet, micro abrasive waterjet cutting achieves an excellent edge finish without tapered edges or burrs. The edge quality of micro abrasive waterjet even surpasses many laser cutting operations.

The powerful penetration of the cutting jet allows micro waterjet to perform finish-worthy cuts in a single pass for a full range of material thicknesses. Cutting titanium with a Finecut micro abrasive waterjet typically leaves perfect surface quality and therefore no need for a second finish.

Since waterjet cutting does not cause heat stress in the workpiece, there is no risk of thermally damaging the titanium part. This is a distinct advantage over other precision cutting methods like laser cutting, which needs careful optimization and slower processing to prevent burning titanium. The cold cutting process in a Finecut does not give any micro cracks in the surface which is common with a thermal cutting method.

A micro abrasive waterjet can easily cut small, complex 3D titanium parts that would be impossible with a conventional waterjet cutting process. This means reduced processing time and better part quality.

One of the advantages of a micro waterjet cutter is it can be used on a wide range of metals and materials other than titanium; for example, stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, brass, titanium, alloys, and more. In most cases, you can use waterjet cutting technology for materials like wood, stone, paper, glass, rubber, and plastics.

Examples of micro waterjet cutting titanium

Cutting Titanium Hip Replacement Bowl

Watch Finepart micro waterjet cutting titanium hip replacement bowl in 3D with no need for second finish.

How to cut titanium with micro abrasive waterjet

There are a few things that will help you improve quality, productivity, and cost-effectiveness when using your waterjet machine for cutting titanium.

Precision cutting

Just like with other materials, Finepart micro waterjet machinery can cut titanium with exceptional accuracy and precision. This means a positional accuracy for the cutting head (within ±2.5 microns or 0.0001 in.) and the ability to cut within a ±10 micron (0.0004 in.) tolerance for ultimate precision in the most demanding applications.

Material Sizes for Micro Waterjet Cutting

Finepart micro abrasive waterjet machines can accommodate a wide range of material sizes for all your cutting needs that fit within the dimensions of the work envelope 500 x 500mm (19.69″ x 19.69″). How thick material that can be cut depends on the size of the cutting system.

Tubing up to 300 mm (11.8″) lenght can be cut and synchronously rotated in our 4th axis.

40 mm (1.6") thick titanium grade 4

Cut Width (Waterjet Kerf Width)

The cutting system in a Finecut machine can be equipped with different nozzle set up to reach different kerf width. Waterjet kerf width between 0.2 mm to 0.5 mm (0.0079″-0.0197″) can be chosen.

What nozzle set up to choose is based on material thickness and how small features and radius you want to cut.

Smooth edges and a high-quality surface finish

When it comes to cutting titanium products and designs, micro abrasive waterjet provides an excellent surface quality finish without risking damage to the workpiece or forming burrs. You will be able to achieve excellent surface quality with surface roughness values down to 0.8 µm (Ra).

Cutting speed

Titanium is notoriously challenging to cut or machine, normally requiring slower processing times to accommodate its unique material properties and to prevent heat buildup. As a precision, cold cutting process, micro abrasive waterjet can cut titanium faster than other methods and without impacting materials properties on the edges.

No thermal damage and heat-affected zones

As mentioned above, overheating titanium is bad, compromising its integrity. Thermal cutting processes can cause rapid, concentrated heat build-up in a localized area, creating a heat-affected zone (HAZ) around the cut that can also lead to crack formation and part failure down the road.

Titanium Grades a Micro Waterjets Can Cut

There are six grades of pure titanium (grades 1,2,3,4,7 and 11) and 4 varieties of titanium alloys which typically contain traces of aluminum, molybdenum, vanadium, niobium, tantalum, zirconium, manganese, iron, chromium, cobalt, nickel, and copper.

Regardless of the type of titanium, a micro abrasive waterjet cutting process or conventional abrasive waterjet would be your ideal choice for complex cuts, precision cutting, and smooth edge and surface finish.

Applications of waterjet cutting titanium in Manufacturing

Titanium is a lightweight silver metal with a uniquely high weight to strength ration and very high durability, which is the reason for the popularity use in many different sectors of manufacturing. Titanium is most often used in the medical and aerospace industries because it is corrosion-resistant, exceptionally strong, and can be blended with other metals, like aluminum and iron, to make an alloy. The strength of Titanium is similar to steel but milling and cutting titanium requires special techniques to achieve high precision cuts, high quality edge and surface finish, which is exactly what a micro water jet machine is best at.

  • Medical: surgical tools, dental implants, prosthetics, Orthopaedic pins and screws, in joint replacements, bone fixation devices
  • Automotive: Engine components
  • Aerospace: parts in jet engines, structural and turbine components


Finecut Micro Waterjet Series

Easy to operate 3, 4, and 5 axis micro waterjet machinery for high precision cutting titanium parts with ultimate edge and surface finish in one single process.

Finecut micro waterjet machine