For most hobbyists and small shops, getting a waterjet cutting machine is challenging due to the high costs.
The price of waterjet cutters in the USA starts at around $60,000.
Wazer waterjet is a desktop waterjet cutter that's much more affordable and also highly compact compared to a typical waterjet cutter.
Is Wazer a good option for your waterjet cutting needs and is it's small size severely limiting?
This article answers that and other essential things you need to know about the WAZER desktop waterjet machine.
What's in this article?
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WAZER Waterjet Review
|Cut area||12" x 18"|
|Footprint||34” x 25.5”|
|Material Capability||Most metals and non-metals|
|Max working water pressure||4,600 PSI|
|Workpiece cut thickness||<1"|
|Abrasive||80 mesh alluvial garnets|
|Abrasive flow rate||0.33 lbs/min|
|Water||Tap water (300-micron)|
|Software||WAM software (free)|
|SD card slot||Yes|
|Outlet connection||110V and 220V|
Size and Build
WAZER is a small desktop-type waterjet machine. You can even get it with a stand-leg accessory to make it freestanding.
|Default Footprint||With Stand Leg Accessory|
|34” x 25.5” x 22”||34” x 25.5” x 48”|
The machine's work area measures 13" x 19," but the effective cutting area is 12" x 18".
After the initial installation, the machine weighs over 130 lbs. Once you load it with abrasives and water, it can weigh over 400 lbs.
So consider this final weight if you plan to place the machine on custom tables or desks.
Note that the machine also comes with a pump box weighing 92 lbs. It has a footprint of 21" x 15" x 10".
WAZER can cut materials like hardened steel used in making knives, carbon fibers, glass, rubber, leather, plastic, ceramic, wood, etc.
It can cut metals with a maximum thickness of up to 1/2". If you plan to cut soft materials like foam, it can cut up to 1" thick.
WAZER has listed the cut settings for many materials on its website. You can use them as a starting point.
They also have a cutting calculator. You can use it to find the cut settings for different materials of varying thicknesses.
Generally, you can only cut harder materials like tool steel, etc., at lower speeds. This increases the run time and abrasive use.
Soft materials like rubber can be easily cut faster with low abrasive use.
A waterjet cutting machine, such as the WAZER, uses guided high-pressure water to penetrate and cut through different materials.
A combination of mechanical and electronic systems controls the cutting process.
The waterjet cutting head is moved along the X and Y axis by stepper motors and leadscrews, which an electronic controller controls.
WAZER machine requires a constant supply of water and garnet. It is supplied through individual circuits.
The high-pressure water line from the pump is connected to the solenoid intake valve of the WAZER machine through a reinforced hose.
It then passes through a series of filters to remove any contaminants.
WAZER recommends using tap water. It should not have any corrosive or particle contaminants and should easily pass through the 300-micron mesh filter used in the system.
From the filters, a thin hose transports the high-pressure water to the cutting head, allowing it to reduce water consumption and boost its pressure.
WAZER can only deliver a maximum working water pressure of 4,600 PSI. It's not the best, but it lets you cut most thin workpieces (less than 1") at a reasonable speed.
It can no way be matched with the regular industrial waterjets that deliver a water pressure anywhere between 30,000 - 90,000 PSI.
Though these machines have a higher water consumption rate, they deliver better performance.
Unfortunately, these machines can cost anywhere from $25000 to $200000 or more depending on the machine configurations like the work area, controls, cutting speed, etc.
WAZER waterjet machine is priced under $10,000. So you do get what you paid for.
As WAZER shoots down more water to its work bed, the water stored under it increases over time.
WAZER is equipped with sensors to detect this increase in water. It helps automatically drain out excess water to maintain proper water levels.
WAZER supports 80 mesh alluvial garnets, and its flow rate is measured at around 0.33 lbs/min (0.15kg/min). The maximum amount of abrasive you can load on the abrasive hopper is 30 lbs (13.5 kg).
Considering the water pressure and abrasive flow, with a low working water pressure, WAZER consumes a lot more abrasives than regular waterjet machines.
This will increase its operational cost, but you must also consider the touch-hot prices of other waterjet machines.
It's not fair to expect a small and inexpensive machine like WAZER to be equipped with high-pressure pump systems like industrial waterjet machines.
So to generate enough penetrating force, WAZER has to mix a lot of abrasives with the water.
From the work bed, the abrasives are then collected along with the water, filtered out, and redirected to the waste garnet container.
You can't reuse the garnet as it won't have an even size and can get trapped between the nozzles and supply lines, jamming up the entire system.
WAZER employed belt drive along the X and Y axes for machine transmission.
On the X-axis, the linear drive is supported with a dual rod to provide better stability to the nozzle head and minimize kickback. Along the Y-axis, it uses a single rod guide.
Both the transmission housings are covered with rubber sealings to protect them from high-pressure water splashes.
The transmission system provides WAZER with a maximum linear speed of 59 ipm. Its positional accuracy is 0.003".
Some parts of the WAZER waterjet machine abrade or wear faster as they are exposed to abrasives or other moving machine parts. This is common for waterjet machines.
You can get replacements for such parts directly from WAZER's website.
Some easily abrade parts are the corrugated polypropylene cut bed, cutting head nozzle, and pump seals.
Their estimated operating time and cost are listed below.
|Cut Bed||20-100 work hours||$2/hour|
|Nozzle||300 work hours||$1/hour|
|Pump||1,000 work hours||$1/hour|
WAZER emits considerable amounts of noise. It has a rated noise emission of 74+/- 3dB. Generally, sounds above 70dB are considered to be quite loud.
Remember that loudness is measured on a logarithmic scale, so a sound that is 10 dB louder is actually ten times louder, and a sound that is 20 dB louder is 100 times louder.
Therefore, 74dB noise from WAZER is much lower than a jackhammer (~120dB), but it is still quite audible and can cause discomfort after prolonged exposure.
Controller and Electronics
You can access most of the electronic components, including the controller, by opening the panel on the right side of WAZER.
The machine and pump need to be powered separately. You can either get WAZER with standard 110V or 220V outlets.
Ensure your power supply is not directly under the machine, as water can drip into the sockets and cause short circuits.
Currently, only the SD card connectivity option is available for WAZER.
This allows you to run the machine offline without having it connected to a computer throughout the operation.
Software and Workflow
WAZER waterjet machine works with the program codes made from the WAM software, a free proprietary CAM software from Wazer.
It is a cloud-based software that runs on web browsers like Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox.
The advantage of this is that you don't have to worry about software updates and can work on any computer.
Unfortunately, you'll need an internet connection to upload the design and work with the software.
Its interface features a step-based workflow that guides you through loading the design to finally generating the G-code file.
Loading the Design File
WAM only supports SVG and DXF files. You can import them into the software from your computer.
You can make your design on CAD software programs like Adobe Illustrator, Fusion 360, CorelDRAW, SOLIDWORKS, AUTOCAD, etc., which lets you export designs to either SVG or DXF file formats.
Scale and Position
Once the design files are loaded, you can move them around, rotate, scale, and adjust their width and height separately.
You can do all these using the machine's work area as a reference.
So you'll have a better idea of where in the work area the workpiece goes and the size of the cutout part.
Material Type and Thickness
Then the software will prompt you to select the material type and thickness (in inches or millimeters) you plan to work with.
WAM software has many preset settings loaded into it. You can use any of those or create custom presets based on your needs.
The loaded presets have WAZER's recommended feed settings, which are tested and safe.
To create custom presets, you'll have to play around with the settings to find a good point for your material type and thickness.
Sometimes when the speed is set high, the jet of water won't get enough time to cut throughout the workpiece.
This causes the water to shoot back from the workpiece in random directions.
Also, if the speed is set very low, the water jet will go further deep and damage the plastic honeycomb work bed, reducing its lifetime.
Then you can choose your preferred cutting path. Here you can program the machine to make the cut on the design lines, its outline, or inside.
You can also type in custom offset values to keep extra materials around the design for further post-processing cycles.
Tabs and Leads
The tabs and leads option is helpful when working on thin materials that can easily move around in the work area.
It allows you to keep some spots of the cut part connected to the workpiece.
You can either allow the software to scan the design and add the necessary tabs, or you can manually do it. The newly added table will be highlighted in yellow for easy identification.
For smooth cuts and even contours, enable the leads option in the software.
Then you can choose between three cut qualities: coarse, medium, and fine.
The software will show you the estimated job cycle time, abrasive use, and cut area depending on all these settings.
G-code to Part
Now you can generate the G-code file and save it into an SD card which can be used on the machine.
Note that you cannot directly control WAZER through the WAM software, as it is designed to run offline.
Once the SD card is inserted into the machine, you can control the machine operations using the touch controls and LED display.
While running the machine, you can change the cut quality and feed rates using these control buttons.
WAZER has an enclosed setup that safely contains water, garnets, and material dust inside the work area.
When the latch door is open, the machine won't turn on, preventing accidental exposure to the high-pressure water splashes.
Remember, direct exposure to high-pressure water from a waterjet cutter head is medically treated equally to a gunshot wound. So you have to be cautious when working with these machines.
WAZER has an E-stop switch next to the LED display at the top panel. You can use it to stop the machine suddenly.
While cutting, the high-pressure water forced into the workpiece creates thick water droplets around the work area. It looks similar to fog and can sometimes visually block out the work area from you.
WAZER waterjet machine is sent in a crate packaging with separate boxes inside. It'll take about 30 minutes to unpack everything, and you'll require an extra helping hand.
If you order extra accessories like a stand leg, abrasive kit, etc., those will also be inside this crate.
Once you have every component out of the box, you'll need at least two more hours to set up the machine, establish the water circuit, and load up the machine with abrasives.
WAZER's user manual has detailed information regarding the assembly of the machine.
Accessories and Upgrades
You might get WAZER with or without a stand, depending on your purchase choices. The pump is the major accessory everyone gets with the machine.
WAZER also offers accessories like abrasive pinch valves and their latest bulkhead fittings as upgrades.
WAZER Inc. provides a 12-month warranty for their WAZER waterjet machine. They also offer lifetime support through email.
For queries, you can reach them through phone, email, or online form. They also extend tech support through video conferences.
WAZER has a dedicated support page with many reference resources and manuals.
They also have a community forum hosted on their website. Through it, you can interact with other users and find solutions for most machine-related issues.
Final Thoughts - Is it really an option?
WAZER is a small, desktop-sized waterjet cutting machine. It is best suited for hobbyists, small businesses, and educational purposes.
Because of its small work area, low water pressure, low price, and simple design, you can't compare it to other waterjet machines used in industrial applications.
The cutting quality of the WAZER may be lower than that of an industrial waterjet cutter as it uses a low-pressure pump. Hence it's not suited for heavy-duty jobs.
The main purpose of WAZER is to make waterjet machines more accessible to small players in the manufacturing industry.
Its compact size makes it easy to use in a small space, set up, and move around.
WAZER waterjet machine is suitable for those wanting to get into waterjet cutting but has a limited budget and space.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a WAZER water jet cost?
The WAZER waterjet cutter can cost anywhere from $10,000 - $12,000, depending on your buying options. If you plan to buy the machine with the stand, it'll cost you $11,000. You also have the choice to buy the machine with an abrasive pallet, extra cut bed, and nozzle. This will cost $12,000. If you only want to buy the machine alone, you can get it for $10,000. The total cost will include shipping costs and taxes.
How thick can a WAZER cut?
WAZER waterjet machine can cut up to 1" thick materials. Note that its cutting ability will defer depending on the material's hardness. So how thick of a material WAZER can cut will depend on the type of material you are planning to cut.
How fast does WAZER cut?
The maximum cut speed of WAZER will depend on the type of material and its thickness. WAZER can move its cutting head at a maximum speed of 59 ipm (1,500 mm/min).
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