Having recently taken receipt of my Voltera V1 desktop PCB printer, I have become a tiny bit obsessed with desktop prototyping. There are several crowdfunding projects which I have recently come across that have fuelled my appetite for making things and none more so than Wazer.
What is Wazer?
I’ve never used a waterjet cutter but I’ve seen plenty of them in action when I’ve been visiting factories in the course of my day job. They are huge specialist machines which you need to have a face-to-face meeting with your bank manager to secure funding for but they are brilliant for precision cutting through hard materials.
Why Use a Waterjet Cutter?
There are many ways to cut hard materials from CNC milling machines through to laser cutters. CNC milling is probably the cheapest way of automating the process and it relies on a rotating cutter (similar to a drill bit) to form your shape. Precision from this type of device is good but edges can be rough and the smallest area you can work on is going to be affected by your cutting bit. Laser cutters offer greater precision and work by burning through the material. Scorch marks at the cutting edge are commonplace when using this process (only a problem if you’re not painting/coating/hiding the surface afterwards) and of course you need to make sure that whatever you’re cutting doesn’t melt. The other problem is that I can’t actually say the word “laser” without doing a Dr Evil voice.
Waterjet cutters fire high pressure water mixed with sand at the material in a needle-like jet which offers precision cutting without the heat. They are exceptionally good, in my experience, for cutting sheet metal and PCB substrate to shape in a single operation and the makers of Wazer show the product also slicing through ceramics and glass with ease. This device is not just about desktop prototyping though and is very much designed for use in a small-scale production environment sporting a very robust looking chassis and heavy-duty mechanism.
Another Game Changer?
I think so. Although it’ll cost you the best part of $5,000USD this puts waterjet cutting technology within the reach of far more people and the level of funding on Kickstarter suggests that there are a lot of people who will be able to make use of one.
When Will Fund It Together Be Doing a Review?
Alas and alack, I have chipped in my $5 in support of their Kickstarter campaign but this one won’t be winging its way to the Fund It Together nerve centre on the shores of Blighty. The product is only being shipped within the United Sates at the moment and even if they were delivering internationally then the cost of shipping, customs duty and VAT would make this a very expensive prospect. The other issue with sending them to this side of the pond is achieving CE compliance. If you followed the issues relating to PancakeBot then you’ll be aware that getting a product certified for distribution across the EU is different form achieving compliance for North America. Not least of the problems is the fact that our electrical supply is 230Vac @ 50Hz and State-side electricity is supplied at 120Vac @ 60Hz.
I wish the team putting this together the very best of luck and look forward to their updates as they turn this from a crowdfunding project into a commercial product.
You can get all the details of Wazer at their Kickstarter campaign page: