“Do you think you could make one of these? http://www.omax.com/ Or maybe install one in the workshed?”
Rex had found that they were using these for cutting components at the Steam Punk Workshop for their latest metal sculpture project.
A water jet cutter or to give it the proper name “abrasivejet machining system” is a device that pumps fluid at high speed and pressure through a nozzle allowing it to cut through even quite thick materials. It works in a similar manner to an X-Y plotter (or milling machine) in that it traces out the pattern to be cut. The technology behind these machines was first experimented with by Dr. Norman Franz in the 1950s and then further enhanced in the late 1970s.
To be able to make one of these I’d need to be able to move a cutter (or the material) in two axis and generate plus control a very high pressure jet of water. All this would need to be done with a high level of accuracy and the machine would need to have a robust machine otherwise the shop would be rip itself apart and cover the place in water. It should be possible to build a manual version of this (like some kind of supercharged Etch A Sketch) rather than the more complex CNC version but the skill requirement would still be high. So unfortunately I don’t think it’s a realistic project at the moment. I expect that I’ll stick to machining, fabrication and casting. It might however be worth outsourcing some water cutting if I need complex shapes like the Steampunk workshop people did.