This laser water jet can cut almost anything

Originally published at:


Glad people found it interesting, it’s definitely bleeding edge tech in the machining world right now.

If anyone has trouble understanding how it works- the jet of water does not have abrasive grit in it like a waterjet cutter- it does no cutting itself. What does make it impressive is that it’s a very thin perfectly laminar jet of water- guided by a diamond orifice a bit different than a normal waterjet is. The entire jet simultaneously becomes a lasing medium that contains the internally reflected beam power, as well as a chilling stream that washes the abilated (read lased, burned with the laser) area away.

Any of you who has ever used a lasercutter at a makerspace or hackerspace knows the lasers need to be focused on what they are cutting to cut. So what makes this revolutionary, is the fact that the laser beam bounces around inside the hollow needle jet of water, kind of reflecting infinitely inside it- creating a beam in continual focus through the entire length. This means the machine doesnt need to focus the laser to get it to cut- making it kind of cut the way we imagine lasers cut in scifi, rather than how they normally do irl.

The water acts as an integral beam focuser, and instead of blasting away material with a heat zone, which leads to micro burned edges, this tech instantly blasts the lased material away, and watercools the cut- so perfectly clean perfectly straight cuts can be done with almost no heat affected zone at all.

This all combined lets it cut perfectly straight even in deep parts, which cannot be done with any other method on some materials, except with LIGA technology, perhaps. Basically, it can cut in a way that’s impossible for almost any other technology.

Combine that with a kerf (amount the cutter removes) ridiculously low at 0.025 mm wide at lowest, and you have a much finer cut than any waterjet can cut.

Wire EDM is similar in ability to cut perfectly straight non tapered cuts, but only works in conductive materials.


But diamonds are made of carbon, so they should be good conductors, right?

1 Like

OMG - you got on BB. Good job!


The MicroJet technology is extremely impressive.

Also extremely impressive: Shirley Bassey still apparently had an implanted pipe organ at 80 years old. Check out the third video at the 49:00 mark.

Edit: Linky

1 Like

But I was already being cool here for years…:kissing:

I’m glad I could tune people in to some cool stuff. It’s rare in the machining world to have something visually interesting to normal people. Most of what excites us looks pretty boring to normal folk.

Watching a water focused laser slice a diamond is pretty visually awesome though!


For once, I was actually hoping this was a link to the Boinboing Shop.


Yes- always wondered this myself.

That shows it’s possible, but further research on Practical Machinist forums leads me to believe that while this is often done, there is microcracking to deal with in this method, but I’m not sure.

I myself ran ram EDM for a couple years, the kind that takes a 3d shaped block of graphite and burns that shape into a steel block (to make titanium forging dies), but I’ve never run a wire EDM to test this.

I can say that I have used PCD and MCD (polycrystaline and monocrystaline diamond) tooling, I actually have a diamond wafer boring bar somewhere in my basement. These tools were shaped by something, and they are common in precision very high end finish machining.

My guess as to why they cut the diamond with the laser waterjet versus EDM- it was probably easier to make an awesome video that way, probably cut quicker, and most likely much less material loss from wire cutting. When the material is that precious, a few 0.001" bigger on a cut that big could lose you a couple carats.

The biggest advantage over wire EDM- probably very little heat affected zone. That’s still a thing with wire EDM, and EDM in general.


I’m guessing these machines, non 5 axis version, are probably around 3-5 million USD.

I’d try to get a quote, but I have a feeling they would just send me an email full of laughing emojis


Yeah, I bet it would pop my breakers, too. Not to mention getting it up the stairs…

1 Like

I think I’d sh*t myself to find out how much even a basic service call for these are. Normal technicians can be several thousand dollars for a couple work days.

I’d have to take out a new mortgage to call in a technician if I ever had problems with one of these!

1 Like

at least we’ll have that new career in real estate management to fall back on


I have updated my original post for a little better understanding.

Before I ever posted this on another thread before they made it a major article, I had been researching the technical details of how these function through the actual company site but I could not find this image which makes it a lot clearer.

The water beam itself isnt hollow- it entirely becomes the lasing medium, and simultaneously the chilling medium that cleans the cut too.

Basically, it is physically the cutter and coolant for cutting in the same physical space simultaneously.

Good diagram!


Can confirm. Back in the '80s I helped run a local computer club as we moved from being Tandy Color Computer (Co-Co) to more PC-focused. I worked with large metal-removing CNCs daily, so I arranged for a local CADKEY dealer to bring a tabletop milling machine for a demo (a Roland, I think); a small VMC that could make parts in plastic and maybe aluminum if you were gentle.

He did a quick demo showing how desgn a small automotive part, which was cool, but we’d had CAD software demoed before. And a core group of the club were engineers, so a bit boring to most.

Then he started machining. The room went nuts as this little CNC started spitting plastic chips. Most of the room couldn’t sit still, eventually forming a 3-deep ring around the machine. We eventually cut 6 of the parts and were able to raffle them off at the next month’s meeting. One of our best demos ever.

I realized that night that it’s real easy to get jaded when you work with something all the time. Or sick of… I also worked as a burger flipper in high school. I was so jazzed to be able to eat a burger meal every day for free. Until the 3rd week, when I couldn’t stand the smell of fresh grilled burgers. Luckily I recovered.

Got fired a few weeks later 'cause I couldn’t bring myself to fill the drink cups with ice to the top before adding pop. The owner was obsessed with extracting as much profit as possible from the pop machines.

Good times!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.