ProtoMAX Waterjet Machine Operation

Hazard Class: 3
Applies to: Metropolis, The Deep
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20 minutes to 2 hours
Tools needed:
 - Waterjet
 - Dial Caliper

Introduction

How to use ProtoMax Make software and operate the waterjet cutter machine. See the ProtoMax Layout guide to generate toolpaths from your geometry. See also our Waterjet Video

Step 1 Familiarizing Yourself with the Waterjet Familiarize yourself with the terminology specific to the waterjet. They will be used throughout the rest of this guide.

Familiarize yourself with the terminology specific to the waterjet. They will be used throughout the rest of this guide.

Step 2 Safety / Hazards

Hazard: becoming pinched or entangled in the machine
  • Hazard: becoming pinched or entangled in the machine
  • Hazard: cut by the waterjet stream. Extremely severe – immediately call an ambulance and treat as gunshot wound due to water/air/abrasive injection into the bloodstream
  • Hazard: hearing damage due to operating sound
  • Hazard: cut or pinched by heavy material
  • Hazard: toxic material exposure due to cutting
  • All Hazards are more likely and more severe on larger waterjets

Step 3 Allowable Materials

Check with each shop you use - allowable material lists vary
  • Check with each shop you use – allowable material lists vary
  • Yes: Most metals, including steel, stainless steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum
  • Yes: Plastics and rubbers
  • Yes: Stone, Glass (annealed), and Ceramic
  • Yes: Composite laminates cut well on the ProtoMAX, but may delaminate on larger machines.
  • No: Wood cuts poorly and makes the water grow bacteria
  • No: Lead, Cadmium, Beryllium, or their alloys
  • No: Tempered Glass, it will shatter

Step 4 Check garnet level

  • Check to see that the garnet hopper is full to the level of the sieve. If not, add garnet from the bucket near the computer.
  • Be careful not to get the garnet wet or contaminated – it will clog if it is wet.

Step 5 Turn on the waterjet

  • Before you can open the ProtoMAX Make software, the waterjet has to be on.
  • Turn the switch from the “O” to the “I” to turn on the waterjet.

Step 6 Open ProtoMAX MAKE

Log in to the waterjet computer with your MIT Kerberos credentials.
  • Log in to the waterjet computer with your MIT Kerberos credentials.
  • Open ProtoMAX MAKE after the waterjet has been turned on (otherwise there will be error messages).

Step 7 Check waterjet bed

Check that the waterjet bed is empty and there are no clamps on the bed before you start moving the nozzle or making any adjustments in Make.
Flip up the nozzle cup such that it looks like the second picture.
  • Check that the waterjet bed is empty and there are no clamps on the bed before you start moving the nozzle or making any adjustments in Make.
  • Flip up the nozzle cup such that it looks like the second picture.

Step 8 Home the nozzle

When you open up Make, there will probably be a red error message in the top left that reads: "Machine needs to be homed. Click here to home machine."
  • When you open up Make, there will probably be a red error message in the top left that reads: “Machine needs to be homed. Click here to home machine.”
  • Click that red message box to home the nozzle. That will zero the X and Y for the “Distance from ‘User Home'”.

Step 9 Place material in waterjet bed

Place the material inside the waterjet bed with the corner aligned with the corner of the bed.
  • Place the material inside the waterjet bed with the corner aligned with the corner of the bed.

Step 10 Secure the material

  • Use the clamps on the edges of the waterjet to secure the material you are cutting.
  • If the clamps don’t reach your piece, use the lead blocks next to the computer to secure your piece.
  • Make sure the clamps are holding the material flat – not bowed up or down
  • CAUTION: Make sure the waterjet nozzle does NOT run into the blocks or clamps during the job.

Step 11 Open your part file

Change Path Setup
Select your material
  • Change Path Setup
  • Select your material
  • Set the thickness of your material
  • Set the Tool Offset. Default is .015″
  • Tool Offset can vary from .010 to .060 depending on material, thickness, and nozzle wear. If you’ve done a test cut, enter the appropriate value here.
  • Note where the Path Start location is relative to the drawing

Step 12 Jog the nozzle over your material

Use "Jog +/- X" and "Jog +/- Y" to move the nozzle in the X and Y direction, respectively.
  • Use “Jog +/- X” and “Jog +/- Y” to move the nozzle in the X and Y direction, respectively.
  • The arrow keys on the keyboard also jog the machine
  • Move the nozzle over your material. If there are any height variations, go to the highest point.

Step 13 Set the nozzle height

  • Lower the nozzle by loosening the knob on the side of the nozzle attachment. Slowly bring down the nozzle such that the tip of the nozzle touches the spacer tool and tighten the knob.
  • DO NOT slam the nozzle into the spacer tool.
  • Press the top of the nozzle slide block toward the gantry (right) to help it move move smoothly.

Step 14 Jog nozzle to starting point

Move the nozzle to the point where you want your path to start. Cutting will start from this location.
  • Move the nozzle to the point where you want your path to start. Cutting will start from this location.
  • Save the start position of the path by clicking the Zero button to the left of Distance from ‘Path Start.
  • Note the numbers in Distance from User Home. This can save you in case of errors later.
  • IMPORTANT: WHERE THE NOZZLE ENDS UP AFTER YOU JOG IT IS WHERE THE PROGRAM WILL START RUNNING.

Step 15 Fill the waterjet bed with more water

  • Make sure you have completed these three steps:
  • 1. the piece is secured.
  • 2. the nozzle height is properly adjusted.
  • 3. the nozzle is at the appropriate starting (X, Y) position.
  • Use the water hose to raise the water level inside the bed to cover at least 1/4″ over the top of your material.
  • Push the drain strainer up and down by hand until it matches the water level, 1/4″ above your material.

Step 16 Flip down nozzle cup

  • Flip down the nozzle cup once your nozzle is at the appropriate starting location.

Step 17 Lower the lid

  • DO NOT IMMEDIATELY PUSH DOWN ON THE LID.
  • Lower the lid by releasing the latch before you start running the job.

Step 18 Start the job on ProtoMAX MAKE

When you're ready to start the job, click Begin Machining. A pop-up that looks like the first image should appear. Click Start to start the job.
KEEP YOUR MOUSE ON THE PAUSE BUTTON IN CASE ANYTHING HAPPENS.
  • When you’re ready to start the job, click Begin Machining. A pop-up that looks like the first image should appear. Click Start to start the job.
  • KEEP YOUR MOUSE ON THE PAUSE BUTTON IN CASE ANYTHING HAPPENS.
  • There are additional options to pause if you right click on the “Pause” button, as shown in the second image, i.e., you can pause at the start or end of the next traverse instead of in the middle of one.

Step 19 Watch the Cut

  • Pause the cut and adjust your setup if any of the following happen:
    • The nozzle is about to collide with clamps or weights
    • Small parts get lodged above the surface of the material
    • Water shooting out of the garnet feed line
  • There is more splashing and noise than usual (often indicates a garnet clog)
  • The material starts to move

Step 20 Removing the material afterwards

  • Wait until the waterjet is completely done running to remove the materials from the bed.
  • Raise the nozzle head to get it out of the way. Tighten the nozzle head such that the nozzle is NOT touching the water.
  • Unclamp the piece by pulling up on the back of the clamp or remove the lead blocks used.

Step 21 Shutting down the Waterjet

Log out of the computer.
  • Log out of the computer.
  • Clean up stock and scrap.
  • Turn off the waterjet.
  • Raise the nozzle to its highest position.
  • Remove both spent garnet catcher trays, pour water into the tank, and pour garnet into the trash.
  • The lid should be left open

Related Articles

Waterjet Training Guide

Step 1 Waterjet Videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4jX7cim… https://www.dropbox.com/s/yra7d0orzq2lko… https://www.dropbox.com/s/fqimb3dgieg4of… Step 2 Familiarizing Yourself with the Waterjet Familiarize yourself with the terminology specific to the waterjet. They will…

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