Hydro: The Low Cost Waterjet Cutter

waterjet

Waterjet cutters are generally huge machines, with equally large price tags. But what if there was a hobbyist level waterjet cutter that was actually affordable? Well, for their Senior Design Project at the University of Pennsylvania, [Adam Libert] and his team made one that could retail for less than $5000.

[Adam] was the lead mechanical designer on this amazing project, and he designed the fully waterproof XY gantry, capable of withstanding the water and abrasive from the cutter. The entire machine is only 2′ x 2′ by about 5′ tall, making it extremely portable and easy to move through doorways — and it runs off of plain old 120VAC and shop air. It is capable of cutting through up to 1/4″ aluminum and 1/8″ steel with a working area of 12″ x 14″ at a tolerance of 0.005″.

Not surprising, the project won the Mechanical Engineering Senior Design competition in 2012 with accolades for outstanding creativity. We weren’t able to find any information on the future plans for this project, but we hope they make it open-source, or even run a crowd-funding campaign for it.

The goal was to create the first ever low-cost, small scale, and easy to use waterjet cutter, and judging by the video, it looks like they did it — stick around after the break to see for yourself.   

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Carabiner helps you hone your milling skills

[Christian] is learning to use the metal milling tools at what we assume is his local Hackerspace. We love this about the communal spaces, they provide so many opportunities to delve into new fields. He embarked on a voyage that included visits to most of the machinery in the shop as he build his own carabiner with a magnetic gate. He’s not going to be hanging off the side of a mountain from it. But his keys or a water bottle will find a happy home thanks to the device.

It all started with some sketches to establish the shape of the overall design. From there he spent some time modelling the frame of the carabiner in CAD. He’s lucky enough to have access to a water jet which took the SolidWorks files and cut out the aluminum frame for him. That left a part with very sharp edges, so he used a wood router with a carbide bit to round them over.

The next part is adding the gate. He used an end-mill to add a mounting area on the frame. The locking ring for the gate was textured using a knurling tool, and the rest is milled with a simple cutting tool. This gate uses a magnet to center itself, with the knurled ring as the only mechanical latching mechanism. [Christian] does a good job of demonstrating the completed carabiner in the clip after the break.

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Add-on panel brings automated vents flaps to a PC

[SXRguyinMA] built a replacement top bezel for his computer case. He wanted to add vents that would automatically open or close based on the cooling needs of the computer. With some careful measurements he modeled the parts in Sketchup and sent out for them to be cut from styrene with a water jet cutter. The parts came back looking great and the assembly of the shutters went swimmingly. The bezel also includes a lighted screen for temperature information, as well as the front USB ports, headphone and mic jacks, etc. Hidden underneath is an Arduino board and servo motor. The Arduino polls the temperature and drives the servo to adjust the fins accordingly. There’s even a supercap in the circuit that will close the vents when the PC powers down or when power is unexpectedly lost. See it in action after the break.

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Water powered jet pack

waterpack1

We’ve all dreamt, with tears in our eyes, of one day flying with a jet pack. The inherent danger of falling and/or exploding were almost as much as of a deterrent as the price tag. Now, that dream is closer to our grasp. This system, looks like it is basically just a pump that drags along behind you pushing water through nozzles on your back. You can see a video of someone flying around on one here. We think that the theme song should actually come with the unit and be broadcast at all times.