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“We’ve been continually improving it. At the earliest stages, all you could do is extract a 2D path out of it, and now you can do a lot of 3D pathing as well,” Olsen said. “There are of course other ways to do it, but they’re not free. We’ve worked very hard to make it extremely simple to use, so you don’t have a big learning curve.”


Machining Micro Parts


More refinements to the MicroMax micromachining waterjet were added at IMTS, as OMAX added a new mini Tilt-A-Jet cut- ting head for taper-free cutting that is said to nearly quadruple position accuracy on the micro waterjet. Suitable for prototype development and production runs, the MicroMax is a highly rigid machine that features advanced high-precision linear encod- ers, innovative vibration isolation and intuitive software control systems to achieve a position repeatability of ±0.0001" (±2.5 μm) and a positioning accuracy of approximately ±0.0006" (±15 μm). The MicroMax uses a high-precision 7/15 Mini Maxjet5i nozzle that features a 0.007" (0.18-mm) orifice and 0.015" (0.38-mm) mixing-tube combination for cutting delicate, complex patterns. With a jet stream carrying an ex- tremely fine abrasive, the nozzle produces a kerf as small as 0.015" and the machine also has advanced pressure controls for piercing delicate materials. “The features there are the ability to run a very fine


Want More Information?


Flow International Corp. Ph: 253-850-3500


Web site: www.flowcorp.com


Hypertherm Inc. Ph: 800-643-0030


Web site: www.hypertherm.com Jet Edge Inc.


Ph: 800-538-3343


Web site: www.jetedge.com OMAX Corp.


Phone: 253-872-2300 Web site: www.omax.com


Techni Waterjet LLC Ph: 913-492-3700


Web site: www.techniwaterjet.com


nozzle with very fine grit,” Olsen said. “When you have very fine abrasive grit, there are lots of problems on making it flow well and those have been solved with quite a bit of R&D.” Developed by Peter Liu, OMAX senior scientist, the MicroMax system has been improved by the company’s design team, Olsen added. “The positioning accuracy of that machine is much greater than the other machines we build, because the small nozzle is so consistent in its cutting,” he said. “We can do very high- tolerance small parts with that machine.” The company is working a lot with a smaller 5/10 orifice/mixing tube combina- tion (with a 0.005" [0.13-mm] orifice and 0.010" [0.25-mm] mixing tube) that could further extend the machine’s micro- machining capabilities.


The micro waterjet could potentially be deployed in many medical uses. It could be used to create plates used for mending cracks in skulls, Olsen said. “Eventually, we’d like to get to the place that we can make stents with it,” he said. “We’re not there yet, but we think that’s a possibility.” ME


November 2014 | ManufacturingEngineeringMedia.com 73


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