Getting aluminum frame waterjet

Is it enough to hand them the dxf? (Cut on path?) I’m not sure how these work yet, but a full set of parts is only $220

I made a dxf of a flag union for a friend of mine and sent it straight to the water jetter. First time handing something like that off to a pro, and he was happy with it.
They’ll have to set their own toolpaths to allow for the kerf and such, so if the dxf says a part should be 10 inches, you’ll get a 10 inch part. I like to think of dxf lines as infinitely thin.
If in doubt, send over the file and ask if you need to do anything else with it.

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Dxf is usually fine. Depending upon the brand, you may not be able to use splines. I know that may sound weird, but certain brands, specifically will not interpret splines. So polylines, or arcs are your work around. However, you will need to know that depending upon the part, you may not get exactly what the dxf shows.

Most waterjets have .040 beam, so if you have areas smaller than that it just will completely avoid that area. Also, if you have areas that cross or intersect with less than .080 you may have issues. Lastly, if you want concentric and high tolerance holes, the hole will want to almost match the matrix thickness. I.E. material is. 125, the smallest hole you will want to waterjet is. 125. You can get away with smaller holes on thinner materials, but you risk making ovals and not circles.

I program/ operate a 5 axis waterjet. If you have any questions send them my way.


I just handed them the dxf and said quote these from 3/8 aluminum, is there enough info in a dxf to expect proper sized parts? Or should I abandon?

It should be, but without seeing the dxf/part it’s hard to say. I can look it over, if you still have the dxf.

The whole set is from here

FWIW, those could easily be 1/4 al, or maybe even thinner (3/16?). I thought the recommendation was 1/4mdf. I have mine in 3/8" plywood and they are plenty stiff.

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Just dl’d the dxf’s. Everything seems fine. A few differences in hole sizes in several dxfs and one odd shape in Y frame. Are you getting the optional pieces cut too for that price? Or just the 6 standard pieces?

Optional as well, they only want $35 for that, so why not😀

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That’s a pretty good price if the quality is there. Keep a eye out for kerf/taper on the smaller holes and the overall cut quality. A lot of companies will quote parts with the knowledge that they can’t make it to tolerance for that price. So, they up the speed and lower the quality in efforts to make money. When laying on the cut table the “top side” is good but the “bottom side” is outside of tolerance. You’ll probably be fine, just keep a eye out. I know that it may not sound like much, but when you are relying upon the edge to be flat/square in order to make things square and true.
You can’t easily fix it, if it’s tapered to start you’ll just keep chasing angular issues. (Hope that makes sense) I’m just used to +/- .005 tolerances. And quality is job #1

To check for this, label 2 parts “front” and “back”. Stand them “front” to “front” and see if they lean towards or away from each other. Repeat the process with the “back”.

Also, if that company cuts a lot of. 375 6061 it will be hard to compare prices with them, because they already stock it, so they can use leftover material/ drops.

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They are going to use 5052 al. But I may have to hold on this, my primo kit just showed up​:grinning::grinning:


Interesting, 5052 is generally used for parts that are getting bent, it has a high elasticity number. But it’s also probably why you are getting the price you are… you should be fine, 6061 just has something like 30% more tensile strength.

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I imagine it’s still a lot stiffer than mdf or ply though.

I agree, that’s why I said, you should be fine.

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