pic: Team 359 Flow WaterJet Installation

Finally 4 1/2 years after I acquired the funding to purchase a Flow Waterjet, we finally start the installation/training process.
This project went over budget by about $65,000 so far. I would highly recommend you make sure your facility is equipped to meet the specifications of such a costly purchase. There is so much that goes into having it turn key.
I am praying after final electrical tomorrow morning, it will turn “on.”

We learned the hard way.:ahh:


If you don’t mind me asking, how much does this machine cost? I’ve thought about something similar but I’m guessing it’s out of our budget.

Don’t know about their machine, but for a quality 4x4 to 4x8 size machine you’re looking at $120-200k depending on size/options.

They also cost $45-60/hr to run when you factor the cost of abrasive, water, maintenance, etc.

I wonder how much it cost them to ship it to Hawaii. I wouldn’t be surprised if installation/transportation costs were as much as the machine itself.

I’m not sure I’ve got the right machine, but it looks like a flow mach 2b, which retails normally for $235,000.


I haven’t looked at the price of water jets in awhile but 235k seems too high for that machine, given that it’s pretty much a base model.

Wow. You must feel really, really lucky.

Just curious, how do you fund raise something like $250,000? I know that you guys have an awesome fundraising machine, but that’s a ton of money, even if you got a lot of large donations. We’d be extremely happy to have an extra 5 or 10 thousand to spend on new machine tools…

Just out of curiosity, what sort of cool stuff do you plan on making. Our team’s sponsor might let us use a waterjet in the future, so we’d love any information you might have.

Plus, this is so cool, I can’t wait to hear more!

We get super lucky in the fact that our main mechanical mentor works at a place which allows for the usage of professional grade equipment for our team. He spends his work time on this but it is beautiful when you get the final result.

The water jet looks very high end, my guess would be over $200,000.

I don’t know about Flow’s pricing, but OMAX’s Maxiem line starts at $67,000. They also offer heavy discounts for FIRST/Education use as well. :yikes:

Cory definitely knows his stuff.
After meeting with a Flow Sales Rep during the summer of 2009, he quoted us about $150,000 for a base machine.
What we didnt know was that add-ons such as a chiller (still on order), and the materials that Cory mentioned to “start-up” was a whole lot more.
Our grand total at the moment is over $215,000 which includes the electrical and water line setup.
This did not include shipping, and yes, its like buying a new Toyota Corolla.:ahh:

We are new at this game, and dont expect a whole lot of drastic changes to our robot design approach…yet.
The one thing we struggle with is manpower and many of our high $$$ machines get used VERY sparingly.
For example, our LPKF circuit board router has a 2 year warranty with 4 visits from a mainland rep to service and train. We havent even used 1 of those visits yet, and we had the machine over a year.:ahh:

Being out in Waialua, it is a very very rural area and the distance is unbearable to drive to especially for those in Honolulu and our traffic issues.

Overall, we are excited to have such a machine at our school where our program has 24 hour access for whatever we want to use it for.

This is very common for many mainland USA FRC teams and impossible for a team like ours.
Hence, we buy and bring the tooling directly on campus.

Ok I am officially jealous. :]

This isn’t a shot at 359, love those guys. More for all the people who are jealous.

If your goal is to get some waterjetting on your bots, it’s pretty easy to get shops to sponsor you.

Worst case, you can always pay to get it done. I’ve seen it quoted anywhere from $100-$300 per hour.

Average waterjet making average parts and 3-4 hours of cut time is enough for a very crazy single robot, or for 2-3 sets of moderate parts.

For reference, in 2012 we had 12 hours of cut time for 3.5 robots worth of pure craziness (lots of gearin). In 2011 we cut 6 sets of claw plates (each set was 6 large plates) in ~ 2 hours.

I’m excited to see what you will make with such a nice piece of equipment.

Off the bat, having our own jet will serve 4 purposes:

  1. 24-hour access to our own machine, especially during build season which makes it easier on all of us. It should help us fabricate parts much faster than in previous seasons.
  2. Allowing other local teams to make some parts for their own robots.
    **3. Opportunities for our program to earn $$$, working towards sustainability. **
  3. Most importantly, allows our students to learn and tinker with something new (me included).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that you have it and all the points you raise are totally valid.

I was just talking to the teams that are seeing this and thinking they could never utilize such technology.

Very cool install, I’m sure the water jet will serve you well!

Out of curiosity, what feature(s) did you consider that lead you to choose a water jet vs a cnc plasma cutter/router table?

Wow, It’s amazing feat in its self you were able to fund it without a major sponsor. The install of our robot arms would of been ludicrously expensive if it wasn’t done by the sponsor.