About this project
The First Desktop Waterjet Cutter
WAZER is the first waterjet cutter that can fit in every workshop. It cuts through any material and is compact and contained, making it, clean, safe and quiet to operate. WAZER's digital control achieves detail and accuracy impossible by hand, while freeing you up to complete other tasks.
Traditional waterjets cost upwards of $100,000, but with WAZER, we’re changing that, bringing this advanced technology to every workshop.
What You Can Cut
What You Can Make
WAZER can cut through any material, which allows you to make things with professional-grade quality.
Belt Drive Bicycle:
What People Are Saying
“Wazer is making available to everyone high-end fabrication tech that has hitherto been reserved for heavy industrial users with deep pockets.” - TechCrunch
“It puts a precision-cutting technology previously only available to a few in the hands of the many.” - Digital Trends
“The material options are almost limitless.” - MAKE
“Now you can cut steel, stone, glass, ceramics, carbon fiber and other hard materials with something that fits on a workbench.” - Core77
Waterjet technology has significant advantages over conventional cutting methods:
- Cuts any material
- Achieves intricate detail
- Requires no ventilation
- Results in a smooth surface finish
- No heat-induced material warping
Waterjets, however, are known for being large and expensive machines that require significant infrastructure and high maintenance. For these reasons most individual makers and small businesses don't have access to a waterjet, so we decided to make one that could be used with a limited budget and minimal space.
WAZER works by combining sand-like abrasive particles with a high-pressure water stream. The mixture exits the nozzle and cuts through the workpiece, removing material through a micro-erosion process. The abrasive used, referred to as "garnet", consists of rock that is ground to very small and consistent particle sizes. Garnet is a commodity, it is non-toxic and is easily disposable.
How WAZER Works
Hardware: WAZER has unique features that make it appropriate for a small workshop environment:
Watch Dan go through the process of operating WAZER step-by-step.
Software: With WAZER, going from design to cutting is fast. Design your part in whichever software you’re used to, like Solidworks, Adobe Illustrator or Google SketchUp (or if you aren't familiar with any we'll suggest a basic, easy-to-learn, software for you). Load that drawing file (DXF and SVG) into WAZER software and let the easy to use software guide you through setting up your cut.
WAZER T-shirt Reward
Materials and Cutting Speeds
The list below shows cutting speeds for popular materials that we have actually tested on our final prototype. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if a material you are curious about is not included. In order to bring you waterjet technology at this price point we had to reinvent waterjet cutting at a lower pressure. This results in slower cutting speeds compared to traditional industrial waterjets but still maintains the versatility of being able to cut anything.
The materials listed above were cut with WAZER using abrasive particles (garnet) at a rate of 0.33 pounds per minute. WAZER uses garnet made specifically for waterjets that must be continually purchased in order to operate the machine. Abrasive will be available on our website, but WAZER will also work with approved third party suppliers.
Work Experience: We are a team of mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineers. Collectively we have led the designs of multiple products both at startup and large companies, with hundreds of thousands of units shipped. We have experience managing overseas manufacturers, local suppliers and in-house production. Previous experiences also include working at a local makerspace and operating an industrial waterjet at a custom fabrication shop.
Past Projects: The four of us met at Penn Engineering where we built custom racecars each year for the FSAE international competition. We all like to make things, whether it's a giant fan-assisted fire-pit, beer, or a trebuchet.
How We Got Here
WAZER began as undergraduate research in 2012, where Nisan led a team of students developing low-cost waterjet technology. In early 2015, Nisan and Matt quit their jobs to continue developing the waterjet, working in the basement and testing in the backyard.
In January 2016 Dan and Christian came on-board, and we temporarily moved to Shenzhen, China to join Hax Accelerator, the world’s first and largest hardware accelerator.
We have worked tirelessly for the last 18 months developing WAZER. We have:
- Assembled a team of engineers
- Listened and incorporated various market needs
- Built 5 generations of prototypes
- Designed the final prototype with production processes in mind
- Established relationships with key manufacturing suppliers
- Tested the cutting performance on a wide variety of materials
We raised a small seed round to develop WAZER up until this point, but we need support from you, our backers, so that we can place a large enough order to produce the machines cost-effectively. In return, you will be the first to receive a desktop waterjet.
More importantly, you are supporting the democratization of manufacturing, where individuals can make finished goods themselves, and you are helping turn that vision into a reality.
We have created a great tool, but what really matters is what you will make with it!
Industrial Design and Product Photography by Office for Product Design
Video by Josh Itzkowitz
Additional Photography by Jesus Salazar
Penny Necklace by Stacey Lee Webber
Custom Knife by Mikey St. Clair
Glass Bird by David Friedman
Risks and challenges
WAZER is an incredibly complex machine, combining hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical and electrical systems. It’s a lot of components that need to work together seamlessly. That’s why we are a team of four engineers, with experience building machines and consumer products.
To manufacture such a complex product we inherently will have to work with many suppliers, which will be a challenge to manage and ensure that components are made properly. In order to be close to our suppliers, we have spent the last eight months in Shenzhen, China, arguably the largest manufacturing ecosystem for hardware in the world. While developing WAZER we have amassed a network of suppliers and even designed components to match the capabilities of factories we have visited in person. We will return to Shenzhen to complete the mass-manufacturable design of WAZER, select our final suppliers and oversee the initial production.
Assembling each waterjet will be a challenge to ensure that everything works properly. We are committed to assembling every waterjet in our own US-based facility, so that we have full oversight of the process and can guarantee you receive a quality machine.
WAZER's user-centric software still needs development - currently we run WAZER using modified off-the-shelf CAM software and motion controller. Going from design drawing to CNC control is well documented, so the main challenge will be around implementing the intuitive waterjet-specific workflow that you see in our mock up. The software development will begin after Kickstarter and will run in parallel with our manufacturing efforts.
We are also going to need to grow our team, which is where a portion of the funding we raise will go towards. We’re always open to people joining our team, especially out-of-the-box thinkers with a passion for making things. Please see our website for specific openings we have available.
No, WAZER is open loop, meaning it takes tap water in and drains out the used water.
No, WAZER uses less than 10-20% of the water used in a conventional shower head.
The water pressure is significantly higher than that of household appliances but lower than that of industrial waterjets. We are currently not divulging the exact pressure, but we can state with confidence that we will be releasing the pressure at a later date. A lot of effort went into setting this pressure to bring you this technology at the price-point you see.
In general this is not a parameter that the customer ever needs to consider as its set by the machine.
Additionally, pressure will not inform our customers of anything meaningful. The important performance metric to our customers is cutting speed, which is a function of the entire hydraulic subsystem design. Pressure is just one element that contributes to performance, in the same way that a higher megapixel camera does not mean you are going to get better photographs (common misconception). This is well documented in the industrial waterjet space, where there are 60k psi machines that cut faster than 90k psi! I'd also like to state that our hydraulic subsystem design has been set in stone for months now. It is why we have been able to evaluate the performance of our machine and publish the cutting speeds of different materials from the onset of our launch.
Please remember that this is just temporary and we will be releasing the pressure at a later date.
No, you can’t. Everything in the hydraulic system is sized proportionally and is not adjustable. This results in a much simpler and lower-cost system. However, we are always listening, so please reach out to us with what you desire from the cutting, and we will incorporate your needs in the design of our future accessories and products.
WATER: How clean is the water being drained out of the machine and will it have abrassive in the water?
Our unique abrasive separation system removes the abrasive and dense materials you are cutting from the water, resulting in the drain water exiting the machine being relatively clean. During operation, you will see that the tank water and drain water is in fact cloudy. This is normal mainly due to the trace deposits that are in the abrasive. They typically stay in suspension for hours before settling out.
No, we do not suggest reusing abrasive as it may cause the machine to clog.
Garnet, the recommended abrasive that should be used, is a naturally occurring substance so it is safe to simply throw away in the trash. Spent abrasive can be repurposed in other creative ways such as using it as an additive in concrete mixing, using it as fill in construction, or making sand castles.
WAZER should only be used with an abrasive called garnet. This is simply crushed rock and the most common abrasive used in the cutting industry.
Abrasive garnet is sold at thousands of locations around the world. As a result, the cost varies between places and with the volume you are looking to acquire. If you will be doing a large amount of cutting with our machine or have a local industrial waterjet cutting shop you can pick up from, we have found you can expect to pay between $0.30-$0.60/lb.
However, we understand that many of our customers will be looking to source abrasive in low quantities and want it delivered to their door. As a result, we are in talks with the major garnet distributors and have even visited their facilities to understand the industry and the way it works in detail. We are now working on internal and external distribution methods to minimize the cost to customers. This is an optimization activity around the numerous factors that play into its cost like customer shipping location, our final abrasive suppliers, our final logistics providers, distributor vs selling direct, locations of distribution hubs, volume the customer is ordering or subscribing to, etc. It’s quite the puzzle, but we are taking care of it so that you can simply order the abrasive with a couple clicks on our website and have it arrive at your doorstep. Once this network and plan is solidified we will update you with a final figure, which we expect to be between $0.60-$1.10/lb in the low-volume worst case. To connect some dots and better illustrate what this would mean to you as a customer take a look at our table that illustrates the anticipated abrasive cost to you for some of the sample projects we have illustrated in our campaign.
We suggest ordering abrasive on our website for low volume orders. We will also provide a list of compatible abrasive suppliers. This will both ensure the lowest cost and that you use quality abrasive that will not result in problems for your machine.
Furthermore, as our community grows and the number of machines we sell grow, we will be able to pursue different distribution methods. For example, we can facilitate in connecting low volume WAZER users to high volume WAZER users and also industrial waterjet shops willing to sell abrasive that they are already sourcing in volume. This will bring both greater convenience and a lower cost!
Yes, of course! We have not locked down our machine to using proprietary abrasive or cartridges like many other machines and technologies. As long as its garnet, feel free to get in touch with your local sources or other means. However, we suggest acquiring a small quantity to test with as low-quality abrasives exist in the market that can cause undesired results and even clog the machine.
Most likely. The list in the “Materials” section shows cut speeds for popular materials and thicknesses. If you don’t see the material and thickness listed that you want to cut, email us at email@example.com and we’ll test it.
This depends on what material you’re cutting. For steel, it’s around 3/16”, whereas for plastic it’s around ½”. The list in the “Materials” section shows the cut-able thicknesses for various materials. If you don’t see the material and thickness listed that you want to cut, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll test it. Aside from that, WAZER cannot support any material thicker than 1 inch.
WAZER's cutting speed varies depending on the material being cut and the material thickness, so there is no single answer. The list in the “Materials” section shows speeds for common materials. If you don’t see the material and thickness listed that you want to cut, email us at email@example.com and we’ll test it.
This is a tricky question with any cutting tool, because it depends greatly on so many factors, like material, material thickness, cutting speed and desired geometry. The cut produced by the water stream is roughly 1/16” (1.5mm) in width, so that coincides with approximately the smallest feature (internal diameter or internal line width) you can cut. The linear motion system is accurate enough such that hole patterns will line up from part to part.
WAZER will not be capable of engraving in its first generation, only cutting. We have experimented with this in the past on materials such as glass and stainless steel, but will not be pursuing it in this first release. Media blasting is a great process to etch on all materials that could be cut with WAZER.
Yes, the hardware on the machine is capable of cutting certain soft materials without abrasive, but it is unlikely that this functionality will be present in the initial release because our priority is to stay focused on delivering abrasive cutting first. However, it is quite possible that the machine will have a software and/or firmware upgrade in the future that will allow for this, thereby not needing to wait for a new generation of machine to have this capability! No promises on this yet, but it’s a possibility we will consider once we deliver the core unit to our customers and we start diving into feature expansion!
WAZER operates by primarily consuming three main ingredients: water, abrasive, and electricity. The prices of electricity and water is different for all users but ~90% of the operating cost will be the abrasive. Using the abrasive cost estimate of $0.60 - $1.10 per pound, the abrasive rate of 0.33lbs per minute and the cutting speeds in the material section, you can estimate the cost of your cut.
Just like any machine tool, WAZER has components that need to be replaced, they include:
Cutting Bed: This is the surface that you will fasten the material you want to cut. The wear rate will primarily depend on the material, shapes, and repetition of your cuts, but average users can expect this to be every 25-75 hours of runtime.
To further explain the details of this, the wear on the Cutting Bed isn't concerning until you lose enough locations on it to firmly fasten down the material you want to cut. As a result, you can imagine if you are always cutting similarly sized shapes from the same size stock material, the Cutting Bed will last you a long time since you will be damaging the same location and not the locations that you are fastening to. However, on the contrary if your needs are more variable in terms of material stock sizes and cut shapes, the cutting bed will last a shorter time, comparably speaking. Giving some thought to where you fixture and cut certain sized shapes on your cutting bed will also prolong its life.
Cutting Head: This is the set of components that prepare the water stream appropriately to cut your material. Many factors such as water quality and desired cut geometry can affect the rate of wear of these components. We understand the importance of knowing this figure and are in the process of evaluating this set of components for longevity. Once we have results we will share the numbers.
As with all machines, maintenance schedules are a requirement to ensure long lasting performance. We have spent an incredible amount of effort in designing a machine that minimizes this for our customers but are still counting on you to perform the following maintenance:
General visible machine inspection. Look for damaged components and ensure that the inside of the machines is clear of excess abrasive and debris.
Change the oil in the pump.
Lubricate the motion control system.
No, you cannot. There are so many great design tools that exist (including free ones), and we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.
A standard 120V/15A circuit. The device comes ready to simply plug into any standard household or commercial wall outlet.
A water source and water drain: We will provide a water hookup-kit that will easily connect to any standard sink or plumbing with nothing more than a screwdriver and a wrench. This solution allows you even to run the machine from a separate room from where your plumbing connections may be.
A stable work bench capable of supporting 300lb (136kg) (not needed for WAZER Standup
We’ve taken extra precautions to ensure machine safety. Unlike most waterjets, WAZER is fully enclosed, and the machine automatically shuts off if the door is open. So unlike hand-held or hand-fed tools, there is no way to get close to the cutter when the water is on.
Pieces of feature-rich industrial software can cost $7,000 alone (more than the cost of our entire product). These pieces of software would be very intense to use for many of our customers (some even require professional training!). In the same way that we have simplified industrial waterjet cutting, we have also committed to simplifying the software. Features such as tabs and lead in/out will definitely be in our initial software release. However, features such as auto nesting and optimization will not be included initially. Most importantly, we are committed to creating a piece of software that allows a user with basic computer skills and no technical knowledge to set up their desired cut file with just a few clicks and have WAZER cutting their project in minutes. If you scroll to our software mockup rendering, you will get an idea of the general level of adjustment and simplicity we are striving to achieve in the initial release.
We knew this would be a concern from the get go and are very happy with how quiet we made WAZER. It is easy to hold a conversation next to the machine while it is cutting. For example, we ran a live on stage demo while giving a presentation next to the machine at the Techcrunch Disrupt event. We also did interview sessions with various publications while the machine was running (which you can find on the internet). We do not have a final decibel reading available for release, but we can compare it to some appliances you may be familiar with. For example, its louder than a dishwasher but significantly quieter than a vacuum. In comparison to some common shop tools it is quieter than a grinder or bandsaw. Once parts are manufactured in their final processes and on their final tools we will make sure that we measure and release this specification.
OPERATION: Cutting tools have the possibility of jamming against cut parts or foreign debris, does this happen with WAZER and if so what is the failure mode?
Part “pop-ups” are a common cause of gantry crashes in 2D cutting systems (laser cutters, plasma cutters, and water jets). This happens when a cut out part moves on the cutting bed in such a way that some of it is sticking up above the original material surface. By adding a small tab or section of material that connects the cut out component to the rest of the material we eliminate the majority of these “pop-up” failures. However, if the cutting head jams against some other foreign debris, the gantry will stall resulting in needing to recut your part.
We are open to this idea and will look into creating a system to accommodate these customers before the initial units ship. We would love if our customers stopped by our facility to come chat with us and check out the place, so if this is interesting to you email us after placing your order and we will keep a note on file with your order. We just ask you to purchase the unit as if it were being shipped and if you pick it up we will refund your money.
At the initial launch time of our product we decided to not pursue markets outside of US and Canada because committing to such distribution was risky without knowing how many orders we would receive. The weight and size of the product makes shipping, customer support and replacements prohibitively expensive at low volumes. We will open up international markets once we’re able to support them appropriately. To be kept up to date on our status with this please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been incredibly pleased with the significant amount of international support both via email and on Kickstarter. We have a few strategies outlined and are looking at the details, but see this needing a significantly greater amount of due diligence before we commit to any additional regions. Being a small team, our main goal at the moment is to stay on track in order to deliver to our current backers. As a result, despite the overwhelming demand, we are not going to be undertaking an international crowdfunding campaign for at least a couple more months. We understand that this may disappoint some of you, but what we can state is that the international unit delivery date would be the first half of 2018 whether we would be taking pre-orders now or in several months.
Our goal with taking this approach is to be able to confidently offer units to international customers at a fair price and be able to appropriately support those customers for the longevity of the product. This is an involved task and needs to be properly thought through before we make commitments to any additional region. Be patient with us as we grow and scale in a sustainable fashion!
To be kept up to date on our status with this please email us at email@example.com.
This will only apply to our Canadian backers. Duty and taxes are not included. We currently do not know what the duties and taxes will be but they will be an additional fee. We will give our Canadian backers a better estimate of this cost before final shipping.
If you are looking to have WAZER shipped to Alaska or Hawaii, we will contact you after the campaign ends to process an additional $600 for shipping.
Being makers and product designers we understand the drawbacks and benefits of both open and closed hardware systems. We intend on having WAZER’s electronics hardware be open for the numerous benefits it can bring to waterjet technology.
We expect the retail price for WAZER to be $5,999. Our Kickstarter supporters are definitely receiving special treatment for believing in what we do.
As engineers who have worked with lots machine tools, we know how important customer support is for a machine like WAZER. We can guarantee that you will receive a working waterjet, and will provide the full details of the warranty before the units ship. We will certainly take extra care of our earliest supporters.
We're always interested in partnering with people who can help make WAZER accessible to everyone. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Our home base has been in New York, although we have spent the last eight months working out of HAX Accelerator's office in Shenzhen, China. The coming months will be split between these two locations to manage both overseas suppliers and domestic assembly and fulfillment.
About WAZER: How does WAZER compare to industrial waterjets? Aren’t their cuts faster and cost less?
WAZER is very different from industrial waterjets. These machines cost $100,000 - $1,000,000, take up a lot of space, and require significant infrastructure, a trained operator, and expensive maintenance. As a result, industrial waterjets’ cutting performance is far superior compared to WAZER. Their cut speeds can be 20-100x faster, and they would consume less abrasive while cutting the same part. On the other hand, WAZER is a desktop device that fits in any small workshop. It can be used anywhere with a standard outlet, water source and drain. It is also cleaner and quieter to operate and easier and cheaper to maintain. And just like industrial waterjets, WAZER also cuts through ANY material.
Industrial user requirements are very different than those of our customer base. In industry, cut time is money and larger capital investment cost to save a little bit of cut time can be quickly recouped when production numbers are high. Our market values accessibility foremost, which has driven WAZER to be an easy to use and maintain water jet solution at an affordable price point.
In summary, industrial waterjets are in a different category of machine tool from our machine, much the same way that an electric scooter is different category of transportation from an SUV. Both can move you between locations but there are significant differences in how. Every product has its particular use-case and market. If you have questions about whether or not WAZER is the right tool for you, please email us at email@example.com, and we will happily advise you based on your needs.
By far the most expensive component in a traditional abrasive waterjet is the high pressure pump. These subsystems operate at 60,000-90,000psi, generate incredible amounts of cutting power, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. We have figured out how to maintain useful cutting performance while significantly reducing the water pressure. So sure, we can't cut through 2-inch-thick steel, but do you really care?
You will never find us trying to push our product to a customer that it doesn’t make sense for. You are welcome to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to explain your use-case, and we are more than happy to advise on whether WAZER is right for you. If it is not we will happily suggest something that is more appropriate, including going to a waterjet contractor/job shop or buying an industrial machine! We’re proud of this approach and happy to say it is being well received and appreciated by our community and individuals we speak to thus far.
Yes! We’re always looking for talented individuals to join our team. Please reach out to email@example.com.
Support this project
- (60 days)