Waterjet Cutting Design Guidelines

To waterjet cut your parts as quickly and accurately as possible, please make sure your files meet our guidelines. The better the file, the better the parts!
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Best File Formats for Waterjet Cutting

Files Accepted by Our Instant Quote System:

Adobe Illustrator.ai
AutoCAD.dxf, .step, .stp
CorelDraw.eps
Fusion360.dxf, .step, .stp
Inkscape.eps
SolidWorks.dxf, .step, .stp

For laser cutting, we accept 2D vector files in the following formats: DXF (Preferred), AI (Adobe Illustrator), EPS, and DWG.

We also accept 3D files in the STEP and STP formats. If there’s trouble uploading your file, please see our STEP/STP file guide.

If you design your parts in non-CAD software (Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw) please send us the original (native) .ai or .eps file. We’ll take care of the conversion on our end.

Please note that we cannot accept or process STL (mesh) files or raster-type (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP) files. 

Stuck with only a raster file (JPEG, GIF, PNG)?

We have tutorials to help you convert your art to a vector format in Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape.

File Requirements

We’re here to help you every step of the way in designing your waterjet cut parts. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Summary:

Shapes, holes, or cutouts are thick enough for the chosen material

The minimum hole size in waterjet cut parts changes depending on the thickness and type of material. Be sure to check the material page for your chosen material to ensure your design exceeds the minimum geometry size. 

As an example, if you are designing a part out of 0.063″ carbon fiber 50% of this material thickness would be .0315″, however, the minimum hole size is 0.07″. This means that any interior geometry, hole, and cutouts must be equal to or greater than .07”.

In the example above the red circles would be too small to cut correctly.

Keep in mind that, similar to the CNC router, all corners will be radiused due to the shape and size of the waterjet stream. The corner radii will be .032”.

Artwork should be correctly scaled

Your art should be sent to us at the exact size you want it cut (1:1 scale), in either inch units or mm units. We will not adjust your design based on written dimensions in the drawing, they are ignored by our system. We prefer to work in Imperial Units (inches) when possible, but metric units are acceptable as long as you remain consistent between your file units and the units you input for quoting.

Please note: If your design is in metric units, we only accept mm. We do not support cm or meter units.

Please don’t do this:

Files should only contain your parts/cut-paths

To save time (and possibly money), be sure to remove any instructions, dimensions, notes, borders and unused objects from your file. You should only be sending us the actual cut-path that the waterjet should follow for cutting. Notes, quantities, etc. can be noted on your order, not in the drawing itself.

Please note: “Student Version” lettering is automatically ignored by our systems. No need to worry if you are a student using SolidWorks.

Your file should not contain empty objects or open contours

“Open contours” is a fancy way of saying your shape is not connected all the way around. The waterjet will follow the path of your shape. If your shape stops, so does the waterjet. 

Viewing your art in Outline or Wireframe mode in your design software is a quick and easy way to find these issues.

Avoid intersecting or common lines

Check your design to make sure no two parts are touching or sharing a line. You also want to be sure that no lines overlap or intersect with each other. The waterjet will not interpret these lines correctly, and the parts will not be cut. To quickly spot these issues, view your part as a wireframe or in outline mode (Illustrator).

Convert all text to shapes/outlines.

If your vector design has any “active” text boxes, our automated system won’t be able to process the cut properly. 

To include text in your waterjet cut parts, convert active text boxes into shapes or outlines, a process that is easy to do in most design software.

Not sure if you have any active text boxes? Hover your cursor over the text, and if it is editable as text, then it needs to be converted into a shape. In Illustrator, this is called “converting to outlines.” In some CAD software, it might be called “explode” or “expand.”

Software Specific Tutorials

Pre-flight Checklist

Start your first SendCutSend project today!

Upload your CAD design, or try one of our customizable part templates to get instant pricing on your custom laser cut parts. All delivered to your door in a matter of days.

We proudly use hardware by PEM

Flush stud, M8 x 1.25, .472" Zinc plus Clear Chromate

Aluminum: 5052, 6061, 7075 Steel: Mild

SKUFH-M8-12
Thread SizeM8 x 1.25
Hole size in sheet (+0.003/-.0.000).315″
Minimum sheet thickness0.094″
Maximum sheet thickness.347″
Fastener materialSteel
Minimum distance hole C/L to edge0.378″
Minimum distance between two of the same hardware (CL to CL).567″
Recommended panel materialSteel/Aluminum
Coating typeZinc
Length.472″
Aluminum material ranges (5052, 6061, 7075)0.100″-0.250″
Steel material ranges (CRS, HRPO, HR)0.104″-0.250″

Get an Instant Quote for Waterjet Cutting

We proudly use hardware by PEM

Flush Standoff, 4-40, .250" Zinc plus Clear Chromate

Aluminum: 5052, 6061, 7075 Steel: Mild, G30

SKUSO-440-8
Thread Size4-40 x .250″
Hole size in sheet (+0.003/-.0.000).168″
Minimum sheet thickness0.040″
Maximum sheet thickness.125″
Fastener materialSteel
Minimum distance hole C/L to edge0.230″
When determining the distance between two or more fasteners, you can calculate the distance by the formula, C/L to edge + 1/2 the diameter of the second mounting hole..345″
Recommended panel materialSteel/Aluminum
Coating typeZinc
Length.250″
Aluminum material ranges (5052, 6061, 7075)0.040″-0.125″
Steel material ranges (CRS, HRPO, HR)0.048″-0.119″

We proudly use hardware by PEM

Flush Standoff, 4-40, .250" Passivated

Stainless Steel: 304, 316

SKUSO4-440-8
Thread Size440
Hole size in sheet (+0.003/-.0.000).166″
Minimum sheet thickness0.04″
Maximum sheet thickness.125″
Fastener material400 Stainless Steel
Minimum distance hole C/L to edge0.230″
When determining the distance between two or more fasteners, you can calculate the distance by the formula, C/L to edge + 1/2 the diameter of the second mounting hole. Example shown with x2 of the same hardware..313″
Recommended panel materialStainless Steel
Coating typePassivated
Length.250″
304 Stainless Steel material ranges0.048″-0.125″
316 Stainless Steel material ranges0.060″-0.125″