Instrument/Equipment Core/Facility: Advanced Prototyping Center at Wright Lab

Abrasive water jet cutting

The high-pressure abrasive water jet cutter can be best thought of as a computer-controlled bandsaw. It is largely used to cut through flat material stock.



Available to Yale researchers only

Core Website

James A. Nikkel, PhD

Flow NanoJet

A large, boothlike apparatus stands behind a portable computer monitor & keyboard

Our abrasive waterjet cutter is a 40kW, 6000 bar, fully enclosed machine with a cutting area of 100cm x 60 cm. In principle, anything up to about 10 cm thick can be cut, but there some limitations on what we may cut for safety reasons, and others that do not yield good results.


  • Cuts material up to 10 cm thick
  • ~10 μm positioning accuracy
  • 1.2 m x 0.65 m cutting area
  • Nozzle rises up to 15 cm vertically
  • 0.02 mm / 0.3 m linear straightness accuracy
Acceptable materialsUnacceptable materialsDifficult materials
  • Aluminium
  • Steel
  • Copper
  • Tungsten
  • Rock
  • Glass
  • PTFE
  • Anything that can't go down the drain
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Brittle
  • Layered (like fibreglass)
  • Water sensitive
  • Too soft

Design requirements

Your base material must have enough room around the part that you want to cut out so that it can be securely clamped down. You should have 5 cm of clearance along 2 edges for this.

We have two nozzles available, and their cutting "beams" have a diameters of about 1 mm and 0.4mm. Internal corners sharper than that are not possible, and very fine features can be tricky.