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.
Learn About 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 waterjet 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 less material waste, higher quality parts, high productivity, and financial advantages.
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.
Just like with other materials, Finepart micro waterjet machinery can cut titanium with exceptional accuracy and precision. This means an accurate positional accuracy for the cutting head (within ±2.5 microns or 0.0001″) and the ability to cut within a ±10 micron (0.0004″) 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.
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. 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 edge 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).
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
BEYOND CUTTING EDGE
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.