The use of precision machining companies has become an important manufacturing requirement across many industries. If a manufacturing task requires precision and high-quality components, computer numerical control (CNC) precision cutting tools are a must for requirements with tight tolerances.

Precision machining types and benefits

While observers may feel there are restrictions on what precision machining can do, the industry uses many tools and processes to create different finished product types. Milling, turning, and cutting are just some of the methods used.

A CNC mill helps to take raw materials and reshape these with a rotating cutting tool. CNC turning, on the other hand, involves the raw materials being rotated while the cutting tool remains stationary. A CNC plasma cutting machine is a high-powered solution for cutting metal materials like stainless steel with high precision. Other machines include grinders, drill presses, and electrical discharge machines (EDM).

The precision machining process comes with numerous benefits. It offers competitive pricing, improved lead times, and better performance and reliability for finished products. Another advantage is the wide range of applications precision machining can be used for, with it compatible with various materials like metals and plastics. It is also used in many industries, including the:

Medical industry

Medical industries benefit greatly from precision machining. Because of tolerance specifications, healthcare equipment demands precision of the highest level. Implants, orthotic devices, MRI matches, safe enclosures, etc., all have tight tolerances, and only precision machining can meet those requirements.

Automotive industry

The automotive industry has undergone a significant technological revolution, and this is helped with precision machinery during the manufacturing process. Before a vehicle manufacturer moves forward with full-scale production, they use precision machining to produce high-quality prototypes. They can then perform market testing and analyse if any changes are necessary to the design.

Aerospace industry

Along the same lines as the aforementioned automotive industry, aerospace and aircraft vehicles must maintain a high level of precision and accuracy across their build. If any parts feature errors, this could lead to people’s lives being endangered. As a result, high-precision machining is necessary to create important components for the aerospace industry. These parts include manifolds, bushings, and landing gear ports.

Arms industry

Precision machining assists armed forces with developing their defence systems. CNC machining is used to bring new designs into existence, providing added quality and saving time in the process. With this technology, the arms industry can make everything from communication components to ammunition for weapons.

Electronics industry

For the electronics industry, there is a continually growing demand for more powerful yet smaller parts. These have to be both lightweight and compact, as well as maintain tight tolerances. That is where machined parts with precision machining assist the industry. Circuit boards, heat sinks, and semiconductors are examples of components made with CNC machines.

If you require further information about what precision machining can be used for, including if it’s suitable for your own project, do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

Plasma cutting processes evolved from plasma welding in the 1960s; today, they’re a highly effective and efficient method of cutting conductive metals. Given the scope of plasma cutters available as well as their capacity to slice through most metals, these tools are commonplace in any metal fabrication shop, no matter the size.

While they’re widespread across industry and home workshops, plasma cutters do have limits – from the gas type needed to the materials they cannot cut. These variables, as well as how the machinery works, will be discussed below.

How Does a Plasma Cutting Machine Work?

A plasma metal cutting machine cuts through conductive materials via a plasma torch – specifically electrically conductive metal. The plasma cutter cut is cleaner than many alternative methods, including oxy-fuel cutting.

Most mechanical metal cutting methods shear or burn the metal, which is the case with oxy-fuel cutting. However, plasma cutting machinery melts the metal with high-velocity ionized gas. The machine sends an electrical arc through the gas, which passes through a constricted opening and creates a clean, precise cut. The gas then blows away the molten metal from the cut, producing a smooth edge.

Types of Plasma Cutter

Plasma cutters come in different forms; for example, portable handheld machines, combination units with a plasma cutter, a stick, and a TIG welder, and also those with built-in compressors. CNC plasma cutting machines are also available, with “CNC” standing for “computer numerical control”. These high-tech cutters employ a computer to control and direct an accelerated hot plasma at the electrically conductive metal, slicing through it accurately.

Typically, most types of plasma cutters can easily cut metals ranging from 1-2mm to 1-2 inches thick – any more than that, and it gets a little tricker. Metals that plasma cutters can cut include:

Still, no matter the type of plasma cutting tool, there are some materials it cannot cut – or, if it can, gas selection must be considered.

Gas Selection

Compressed air typically isn’t enough; depending on the metal thickness, specific gases are needed to produce higher temperatures of ion plasma for cutting through certain kinds of metal.

When cutting thicker materials, like thick aluminium, for instance, argon and hydrogen gas mixtures are normally used, while thin stainless steel would need nitrogen and methane. For mild steel and carbon steel cutting, pure oxygen via oxy-fuel cutting is ideal.

The Materials That Plasma Cutters Don’t Cut

Given how they work, along with their cutting power and precision, plasma cutters sound like the ultimate replacement for cutting all materials. Unfortunately, it’s not time to throw away the old trusty saw.

Plasma cutting machinery cannot cut:

A plasma cutting machine requires conductivity to complete the electrical circuit; otherwise, it cannot do its job. Because the above materials aren’t conductive metals, plasma cutters can’t slice through them.

Furthermore, these units cannot cut non-electrically conductive metal. Many metals are poor electrical conductors or simply too problematic to deal with and thus cannot be cut using plasma metal cutting processes. Some of these challenging metals include:

Other rarer materials that plasma cutting tools cannot cut include the following:

Do You Need a Plasma Cutter?

Various plasma cutter types with different capacities are suited to certain metals and tasks. If you’re unsure which plasma-cutting tool you require, please contact us today. Our friendly team can use their specialist industry knowledge to help you select the right plasma cutter for your needs.

If you want to use a CNC plasma cutting machine for the first time, then you may be feeling a little nervous.

With super-high temperatures and high voltages, you need to ensure that you know exactly what you are doing before you operate a plasma torch. Luckily, the below blog will tell you exactly what you need to know about operating CNC plasma machines, including how difficult these laser systems are to operate.

How does a CNC plasma cutting machine work?

If you are new to plasma cutting, you may be interested to know a little bit more about how these types of laser machines work. As a cutting process, CNC plasma cutting machines are designed to cut through electrically conductive sheet metal such as aluminium and mild steel. They do this by using compressed gas to ionise the air into a plasma arch that melts the material. Not all CBC plasma cutting machines are equal, though. This is why you will want to get hold of a high-quality plasma cutter for the best results. Fortunately, you can check out our Ultrasharp Plasma Range here and find one that is suitable for you.

Is a CNC plasma cutting machine difficult to use?

It can be a little overwhelming to use any new machinery for the first time. However, you will be very pleased to hear that, once you learn the basics, CNC plasma cutting is not that difficult.

As a piece of machinery, a CNC plasma cutter is fairly straightforward to use, especially if you opt for a simple handheld model. All it takes is three steps. First, set up the air, then plug in your machine, and finally, mark up your meta. Once this is all done, you are good to go. That being said, if you are a beginner, it can take some practice to achieve good cut quality, particularly if you are cutting through thicker metals.

How to use a CNC plasma cutting machine safely and effectively

If you are still feeling nervous about using a CNC plasma cutting machine or you want to ensure you get the best possible end results, then the below top tips are just what you need:

As with most things in life, practice makes perfect, so it may take a little bit of time before you feel fully comfortable using your new CNC plasma cutting machine.

It is also important that you choose a high-quality CNC plasma cutter from a reputable manufacturer, as this will help to ensure that you achieve a good quality cut and an effective cutting experience.

Do you need more help using a CNC plasma cutting machine for your next laser engraving project? Or perhaps you want to invest in a new model and don’t understand the CNC Controller when it comes to laser repair jobs? Contact us here, and we will do our best to answer any questions you have.

Waterjet cutting machines are impressive tools that can be used for a wide range of purposes. The range of materials they are capable of cutting through is expansive – ranging from metals to stone, plastics, composites, and glass, among many more.

What’s more, they provide a neat cut that creates minimal waste. This arguably makes it more environmentally friendly than other types of cutting tools. 

If you are thinking of using a waterjet cutter, it is useful to learn more about this innovative tool before you purchase one. This will make it easier to find out how it works, why it can do what it does, and how it might benefit your specific requirements.

Here are five facts about waterjet cutting machines you might not know:

They can cut through most materials

One of the most impressive qualities of a waterjet cutter is its ability to slice through many different materials with relative ease. 

The reason why this is so impressive is that other types of cutting techniques are only useful for specific materials. If a woodcutter was to be used on stone, for example, the results would be distinctly underwhelming. 

So, a waterjet cutter gives you useful flexibility if you have access to one.

The materials a waterjet cutting tool can be used on include wood, stone, ceramics, metals, plastics, composites, and glass, among others.

You might be surprised by the power of water jet cutters when compared with other types of cutters – especially given it uses pressurized water to cut materials, but it demonstrates the power and reliability of a natural element.

Therefore, if you need a wide range of materials cutting, waterjet cutting machines are your best bet.

It does not damage the item being cut

Waterjet cutters are famed for their neat and accurate cuts. This is because most cutting methods use a combination of force or heat to get the job done. 

The result is a damaged cutting edge, burn marks, abrasions, or weakened material.

Because waterjet cutters use either an abrasive or pure water to cut at high speed, the results are almost immaculate. 

Abrasive waterjets rely on sand

If you didn’t think waterjet cutting machines were impressive by now, then you will be amazed by the fact that an abrasive water jet uses sand to cut hard materials. 

These cutters essentially combine garnet with water in the cutting head and mixing chamber to shoot a highly effective cutting stream out of the waterjet nozzle at high speed.

This is why abrasive waterjet cutting is so good at cutting dense materials like stone. 

It can be used to cut food

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Waterjet cutters really can cut through certain foods.

It might sound mad, but the logic is sound. Waterjets are completely sterile, highly accurate, and delicate cutters, making them perfect for food production.

There are different types of waterjet cutters

As mentioned above, there are different types of waterjet cutters - pure water and abrasive. 

The pure waterjet has a fast cutting speed and is usually used on lighter materials, whereas the abrasive cutter is used to cut metal and other hard materials.

These different cutting processes mean you can choose the cutter which fits your requirements the best. If you want to find out more about waterjet cutters, contact us here.

Waterjet cutting machines are incredibly useful tools because they can easily cut through an incredible range of materials. Many cutters or drills have a difficult time cutting through dense materials like concrete or metals, but waterjets take it in their stride.

This is why they are regarded so highly in a variety of industries – from aerospace to healthcare, automotive to construction. wwwwww

However, it is important to note that waterjet cutters aren’t invincible cutting machines that can be used on everything. Every tool has its limits, and you need to know exactly which materials it can cut, at what width, and with what quality.

Not only will this give you a clearer idea of whether it is the right type of cutter for you, but you will be able to get the most out of your waterjet cutter if you already have one.

For example, although waterjet cutters can theoretically slice through up to 12 inches of the following materials, it is not practical in everyday use. This is because you no longer get a clean cut and the cutting time becomes longer than is desirable.

Instead, it is better to stick to cutting depths of three inches.

In no particular order, these materials can be cut with a waterjet cutting machine:


First off we have metals, which waterjet cutting machines have the ability to cut through with ease, in a way that other cutting tools simply can’t match.

There are several reasons why metal is usually difficult to cut accurately. There are issues with stress and thermal distortion which results in a jagged, uneven cut. 

However, because waterjet machines use a cold-cutting method, the metal is not burnt or distorted by the heat involved. Not only does this provide a neat finish to the cut, but there is less waste afterward.

This even includes hardened tool steel and copper materials.


Another material that is often associated with water jet cutting is glass. Usually, glass is a time-consuming and resource-heavy material to cut, because of the number of tooling alterations required. 

Not so with waterjet cutting machines, which can accurately cut glass and provide the delicacy required, thanks to their unique cutting process. However, tempered glasses cannot be cut with a waterjet tool.


Composites - such as carbon fiber - are inherently brittle when cut. This is because a lot of the time they are thin materials. Other cutters cause burn marks and other blemishes, but when they’re cut with a waterjet they are preserved immaculately. 


Waterjet cutters are great for cutting plastic and reinforced plastics because they provide a neat cut without emitting any hazardous fumes, as there is no heat-affected zone involved. 


Waterjet machines can also cut stone. This is because these cutters don’t require any meaningful force to be pressed down on the stone, which is where other, more established cutting methods fail.

If you would like to find out more about waterjet cutters, contact us here.

Abrasive waterjet cutting is an extremely powerful cutter primarily used for tough materials such as stainless steel. In fact, it cuts almost any material, which makes it an extremely useful tool.

However, you are probably wondering exactly how it works and how quick abrasive waterjet cutting is. Not only is understanding how an abrasive waterjet cutter works important for deriving the highest level of performance from it, but it also helps you understand whether it is the best cutter for your requirements.

After all, it isn’t the only cutter on the market - with pure water jets another popular choice. Therefore, finding out more about the speed and efficiency of abrasive cutters is extremely useful.

This is what you need to know:

What is an abrasive waterjet cutter?

An abrasive water jet works by placing an abrasive material in the mixing chamber, which creates high-pressure water. This cutting method is valuable because it operates at a comparatively high speed compared to other waterjet cutting machines like pure water variants.

High-pressure water is fed into the cutting head through stainless steel piping to break the cutting process into more detail. The water is then concentrated into a thin stream thanks to a diamond, ruby, or sapphire orifice. In the mixing chamber, the cutting tool adds abrasives to the water. This water - mixed with an abrasive particle - then shoots out the cutting head, providing an incredibly powerful cutting method.

This makes it suitable for a wide variety of cutting applications. If you would like to find out more, contact us.

Abrasive Waterjets Versus Rivals

Of course, abrasive cutters are not the only form of waterjet cutting machine. Another form of water jet cutting is the pure water variant, which is typically used for softer materials. There is often an argument about abrasive vs. pure water in cutting circles, but they serve different purposes.

While abrasive cutters can be seen as the jackhammers of the cutting world, pure water jets are the scalpel. They are used for precision cutting on softer materials and are extremely useful. It just depends on the cutting techniques required.

Use Cases of Abrasive Waterjet Cutters

Abrasive waterjet cutters are typically used to cut through tough materials - such as metal, wood, stone, plastics, ceramics, and rubber. Given that the range of potential use cases includes cutting through bullet-proof glass or uneven surfaces, there are a huge number of industries that use them.

This includes the aerospace industry, the military, and countless factory-based sectors.

One of the many benefits of using an abrasive waterjet cutter is that it is incredibly quick and efficient, despite the thickness of the materials it cuts through.

However, it is also worth noting that pure water jets have their benefits too. They produce extremely little heat or waste and are essentially a green technology (which is great if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint). They are highly accurate and can be used even in tight or difficult-to-access spaces

If you are thinking of buying a water jet cutter, or you are struggling to get the best out of it, then you are probably wondering how the water itself can affect the performance of the jet.

In truth, the quality, quantity, and pressure of the water can all massively affect the efficiency of your waterjet cutter. Still, there is one other aspect that is worth considering - water flow.

Water flow is vital to get right when using a waterjet cutter because the higher the flow, the more water is being propelled at whatever you are trying to cut. It also increases the pressure, which is imperative for a powerful cut.

Therefore, you must have decent water flow if you want to get the most out of your waterjet cutter and ensure a high cutting speed.

Of course, the amount of water flowing through the nozzle will depend on the type of water jet you are using. A conventional pure water jet has a far more concentrated flow of water than an abrasive jet, which means they have varying performance potential.

However, both water and abrasive jets require a strong water flow to be effective.

This is what you need to know about the importance of water flow for running a waterjet cutter

How Does Water Flow Affect Cutting Speed?

The flow of water feeding into the water jet can significantly influence the water jet cutter's performance. This is for the obvious reason that the more water pumped into the jet, the faster and stronger the jet will be.

Of course, the overall performance of the jet and the types of material it can cut depends entirely on which waterjet cutting machines you use and their control systems.

A pure waterjet is the conventional choice and varies from the other primary type of water jet cutting - the abrasive waterjet. A pure water jet has no nozzle or mixing chamber, which means the water flow exits the cutter as a very thin stream. The result is a precise cut that is best used on soft or delicate materials - much like laser cutting.

However, with abrasive cuts, special pressure pumps project the water at high pressure.

The result is a cutter that performs at the speed of sound and can cut through tough materials like stainless steel or plastic.

To find out more, contact us.

How Does Water Pressure Affect Cutting Speed?

Put simply, the only way to make water jets cut faster is to increase the water pressure. In turn, this is done by increasing the water flow.

Of course, water and abrasive cutters use varying levels of water pressure. An abrasive variant's cutting process has a higher water pressure because it uses a garnet abrasive to sharpen the jet stream.

The higher pressure from the cutting head makes cutting with water far more powerful and allows you to cut hard materials.

Oxy-fuel cutting is a powerful thermal cutting process used to cut ferrous metals. This highly popular metal-cutting method uses oxygen and fuel gases (such as propane, acetylene, propylene, MAPP, and natural gas) to cut through materials.
Also called ‘plasma cutting’, oxy fuelled cutting is one of the most widely used industrial thermal cutting processes. It can cut materials with thicknesses from 0.5 mm to 250 mm, and the cutting equipment is relatively low cost, available in both manual and mechanised form.

How Does Oxy Fuelled Cutting Work?

The cutting process is fairly simple. A mix of oxygen and the chosen fuel gas is used to preheat the metal to its ‘ignition temperature’ but well below its melting point. The ignition temperature can differ depending on the kind of metal; for example, steel is 700°C to 900°C.
Next, a jet of pure oxygen is applied into the preheated area, which sets off a strong exothermic chemical reaction between the oxygen and the metal, forming by-products consisting of iron oxide or slag. The cutting oxygen blows away the slag enabling the oxygen jet to penetrate through the material and continue to cut through it.

Metals You Can Cut with Oxy-Fuel Cutting

Electrically conductive ferrous metals are typically used in the oxy-fuel process. Some examples are:
• Low carbon steel
• Mild steel
• Medium carbon steel
• Hardened low carbon steel
• Iron
• Titanium
When cutting steel, it’s important to note that only certain types of steel can be cut. For example, carbon steel or mild steel ranging from a low carbon content (less than 0.3% carbon) to a medium carbon content (0.3 to 0.6% carbon) work well with oxy-fuel cutting – but others do not.

Metals You Can’t Cut with the Oxy-Fuel Cutting Method

Generally, non-ferrous metals and any corrosion-resistant metals are not suitable for oxy-fuel cutting. This is because of how the oxy-fuelled cutting process works; it oxidises the heated metal before blasting that oxidised metal away with pure oxygen, therefore making a cut as the gas flows through the material. As such, if the metal can’t oxidise (which means rusting), it cannot be cut using oxy-fuelled cutting.

Metals unsuited for oxy-fuelled cutting include:

Basic Requirements for Oxy-Fuel Cutting:

Get in Touch Today

We at KERF are industry experts in oxy-fuel, plasma cutting and waterjet cutting technology, processes and materials.
If you need assistance with equipment or materials purchase, have questions, or are here for our world-class after-sales support, please don’t hesitate to contact us today – our knowledgeable and friendly team is just a phone call or email away.

Oxy-fuel cutting is a common industrial process for cutting various materials – more specifically, ferrous metals, such as low-carbon steel, medium-carbon steel, mild steel, iron and titanium. However, the process cannot cut non-ferrous metals that don’t rust, such as stainless steel. Therefore, when cutting steel via the oxy-fuel method, only carbon steel or mild steel with low carbon to medium carbon content will work.

How Does Oxy Fuel Cutting Work?

High-Quality Torch Means Purer Oxygen and Cleaner Cuts

Of course, a high-quality cutting torch is important – that’s a given. However, a cheaper, low-quality torch can affect many variables in the oxy fuel cutting process. The oxygen flow’s purity determines the cutting speed, which can make all the difference between a clean, quality cut and a messy, uneven one – the latter possibly resulting from oxygen flow air entrainment. Overall, oxygen purity must be at least 99.5% - a mere 1% reduction in purity can reduce cutting speed by 25% and might even increase gas consumption by up to 25%.

Use Acetylene Torch Tips

Look at tip charts, and acetylene torch tips show as the most common type of cutting tool in oxy fuel welding and oxy fuel cutting processes – though propane tips are used as well. The main difference between acetylene propane and torch tips is that the propane variant releases less heat and is thus less efficient at cutting materials. On the other hand, an acetylene torch tip releases much more heat; therefore, it’s far better for cutting.

Use Equal Pressure Torches

Equal-pressure torches (also known as balanced-pressure torches) are also a great option. They keep the oxygen and fuel gas pressure equal. Generally, operating pressures vary and depend on the cutting tip type. However, most industrial oxy-fuel cutting tips have an equal-pressure design; this is excellent for having complete control over the acetylene-to-oxygen ratio and important for maintaining a highly carburising or oxidising flame.
Furthermore, the mixing chamber’s design means equal pressure torches have a higher flow rating. Working well with many gas types, such as propylene acetylene, propane, natural gas, and MAPP, the equal pressure torch is more versatile and even safer than the injector torch; because equal gas pressures are applied, flashback is less likely to occur.

Oxygen First, Fuel Second

When finished, shut off the torch oxygen valve first and then close the torch fuel valve. This simple technique checks both valves for leaks every time the torch is turned off. A snap or a pop sound signals a leaking oxygen valve, while a small flame at the tip’s end indicates a fuel gas leak.

Check O-Rings Regularly (No Oil or Grease-Based Lubricants)

While this tip may seem obvious, so many people – both professionals and hobby oxy-fuel cutters and welders – don’t check O-rings regularly enough. They’re such a small piece of gear, and, as such, they’re often left forgotten – but that’s a huge mistake.
Overall, two types of O-rings for welding and cutting attachments exist: O-ring small and O-ring large. Whatever the type, inspect their state and change any showing signs of wear and tear. Naturally, changing O-rings, cutting nozzles, and welding attachments can be challenging and fidgety; however, lightly smearing special lubricants on the sealing rings and surfaces in the cutting attachment’s connection head can ease the process.
Additionally, note that oil or grease must never be used because many compressed gases like oxygen are highly oxidising and can ignite spontaneously when in contact with oil and grease – even without an ignition source. As a result, lubricants used in oxygen and gas fittings must meet specific requirements and be approved by BAM (German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing). These specially designed lubricants are inert, boast oxidation stability and are non-inflammable.

Get in Touch with Our Professional Team

As leading experts in oxy-fuel, plasma cutting and waterjet cutting technology, processes and materials, we at KERF are your one-stop spot for all matters in this sector.
Whether you’d like advice on materials and equipment, have questions about the industry, or are here to avail our top-tier after-sales support service, contact us today for assistance. Our knowledgeable and friendly team awaits at the end of a phone call or email and will be delighted to speak with you.

Kerf Logo Image