Water-jet technology has become the standard for many industrial applications including knifemaking. There are plenty of advantages to water-cutting over laser-cutting including a lower power-draw and no risk of burning down your shop. However, the devices remain too cumbersome and expensive for your average small to mid-sized makers to afford. Most farm the work out to dedicated fabrication shops.
Now there is a new option that is relatively affordable ($3999 pre-order, $5999 retail) and is sized for a smaller shop. The WAZER hit KickStarter yesterday, and has already sextupled its $100k goal at the time of this writing.
Wazer is a project from Nisan Lerea and Matthew Nowicki, two UPenn andBiolite alumni currently working out of the HAX accelerator in Shenzhen, China. They love building things but noticed that cost and size keep a lot of useful equipment out of reach of small businesses and hobbyists. Water jet machines have an advantage over other cutters because they don’t need ventilation and result in a smooth surface finish. But they usually cost more than $10,000, with larger models going for as much as $100,000. And then there’s the size: They’re usually standalone units that can measure 10 feet long. So it’s unlikely that someone working out of their residence is going to buy one, much less even get it through the door. The team at Wazer worked to create something that could be built cheaper and be a lot more portable: At two feet deep and three feet wide, the Wazer cutter fits on a standard workbench or even a desk.
While it is not something I am in the market for, I can see how this unit has the potential to be every bit as revolutionary as 3D printers are becoming. Cool stuff.