Wazer — World’s First Workbench Water Jet Cutter
Wazer is the world’s first workbench water jet cutter. It has brought the power of water within everyone’s reach. We like to tout 3D printing as an up-and-coming replacement for traditional CNC machining. Although additive manufacturing can significantly lower costs …
Wazer is the world’s first workbench water jet cutter. It has brought the power of water within everyone’s reach.
We like to tout 3D printing as an up-and-coming replacement for traditional CNC machining. Although additive manufacturing can significantly lower costs and lead times when compared to CNC, it’s not always a perfect solution.
And that’s where the problem lies for smaller manufacturers. CNC machines are often prohibitively expensive for small operations, never mind their usually massive sizes.
This was the story for water jet cutting, as well. It’s a powerful technology for cutting parts out of extremely hard materials, but the size and price of a water jet cutter is far beyond the scope of a small business.
At least that was the case until 2016 when Wazer was introduced. Here we’ll take a look at what Wazer is and how it’s revolutionising small-scale manufacturing.
What is Wazer?
As we mentioned, Wazer is the world’s first workbench-sized water jet cutting machine. It launched on Kickstarter in 2016 (where it surpassed its $100,000 funding goal by $1.2 million), and a commercial global launched followed in 2019.
The U.S.-based company behind the machine — also called Wazer — created it with a single goal: to make water jet cutting affordable and available for even small enterprises. With Wazer, they’ve definitely delivered.
There were, of course, laser-based cutters available earlier, but they were only able to cut soft materials. But for harder materials, like metal or stone, the only options available for small businesses were time-consuming and inaccurate manual tools.
Enter Wazer. This small water jet cutter, with a footprint of only 86.4 x 63.5 x 53.4 cm, fits on a regular workbench and can cut through virtually any material. With a cut width of only 1.2 mm, it creates finely detailed, high-quality cut-outs.
How Does It Work?
Wazer works with the same principle as its humongous cousins. First, the operator must prepare a cutting template. Wazer supports DXF and SVG files, which means you can draw the shape template with practically any free or commercial vector-based graphics editor.
Once you have your shape file, you’ll upload it to Wazer’s web-based preparation software that works with any popular browser. The application is user-friendly and simple, and allows the file to be properly scaled and prepared in a few minutes. When you’re ready, simply hit the start button.
Wazer blows a stream of high-pressure water through a nozzle. But despite the technology’s name, it’s not just water that does the cutting. Just as with a larger cutter, Wazer mixes an abrasive material into the water stream that slices through the material.
The abrasive that Wazer uses is garnet, a silicate mineral that’s been ground into a fine, consistent particle size. Garnet is non-toxic and easy to dispose of, thanks to Wazer’s integrated abrasive collection tank. You should note, though, that the abrasive is not recyclable at the moment.
What are the benefits?
- Availability: The single largest benefit Wazer brings to small manufacturing businesses is that it makes in-house water jet cutting available for them in the first place. Before Wazer, it simply wasn’t an option.
- Size: Wazer’s compact size allows manufacturers to have their own water jet cutting machine even in a small workshop. If you don’t have a workbench available, Wazer also offers a sturdy floor stand for the machine.
- Cost: Wazer costs only a fraction of an industrial water cutter’s price. You’ll also save on outsourcing costs, since you can now cut your parts in your own workshop. The only running costs are water, electricity, abrasive, and the materials.
- Production flexibility: Wazer opens a new realm of opportunity for small-scale manufacturers. It can easily cut out, among other things, spare parts, decorative tiles, or flat sculptures.
- Ease of use: A large water jet cutter requires extensive maintenance and an entire crew to carry out the work. With Wazer, a single operator can both run and maintain the machine.
- Material range: Simply put, Wazer cuts through practically anything. The manufacturer highlights the mini water cutter’s ability to slice stainless steel, marble, glass, HDPE plastic, carbon fibre, and silicone, but you’ll probably be able to cut any material as long as it’s not too thick.
Are there any limitations?
Make no mistake, Wazer is a revolutionary machine for small-scale manufacturing. But in the name of honesty, the tiny form factor does somewhat limit its suitability for some applications.
The incredible cutting power of industrial-scale water jet cutters comes from their powerful pumps that squirt out a stream at pressures reaching even hundreds of thousands of PSI. Of course, you can’t physically fit such a strong pump in a machine of Wazer’s size. That puts an upper limit on how thick the material to be cut can be.
Due to the lower water pressure, Wazer also won’t cut as fast as its giant brethren. And since the machine is small, it naturally can’t produce enormous parts. Wazer’s maximum cutting area is 30.5 x 46 cm. Finally, it can’t produce layered structures, but that applies to any water jet cutter.
These aren’t real issues, though. Small-scale operators probably won’t be cutting two-inch thick steel in the first place, and we doubt anyone would expect to fit a machine capable of such feats in a regular workshop. Besides, comparing Wazer to full-sized cutters isn’t really fair in the first place.
Wazer’s size has its limitations, but when the other option is not having a water cutter at all, it really doesn’t matter.
Is this the right machine for me?
Whether you should consider purchasing a Wazer for your operation comes down to one question: do you regularly need small water jet-cut parts? If you answered yes, you can’t go wrong with the machine.
Granted, Wazer does cost a bit more than similarly sized 3D printers or CNC milling machines. That said, water jet cutting isn’t really a comparable technology, and the costs you save on outsourcing will quickly return the investment.
Wazer is a flexible small water jet cutting machine that helps any manufacturer expand their product catalogue and potentially break into entirely new industries. The world’s first desktop water jet cutter proves that good things really do come in small packages.