Get Started Waterjetting:

Intro to Shop Tools

Reserve the Waterjet

**The waterjet may be reserved for a max total of 2 hours over a 1-week period**

You may cancel your reservation if needed in Fusion.

Please bring both your LAYOUT file (AutoCAD .DXF file) and .ORD/.OMX file to the Makerspace for your reserved time. Staff will help set up the machine and start your cut.


Learning Modules (Optional!) Join the course in Canvas.


Omax Layout and Make softwares are installed on the CAE computers in the Makerspace + on the laptop that student staff use to run the waterjet. You may download it for free on your Windows computer here to learn/use the software ahead of time.

You can also import 2D drawings into Layout from CAD, Illustrator, etc.

Layout Information

Make Tutorial

The Omax Protomax can cut up to 1” thick x 12″ x 12″ of:

  • Nearly any metal (Steel, brass, aluminum, copper, titanium, etc.)
  • Most kinds of stone
  • Most kinds of plastic
  • Most kinds of non-tempered glass
  • Well bonded laminates such as most carbon fiber

Cannot be Cut:

  • Tempered glass (shatters when cut, or shortly thereafter)
  • Some super hard ceramics such as Alumina (cuts too slow to be practical)
  • Materials considered hazardous should not be cut (lead, etc.)

The Resolution is +/- .005″, the kerf is .03″, and repeatability +/- 0.003″


***Is your part larger than 12″x12″? The TEAM Lab waterjet may be a good option for you. Pricing is similar but includes a staff time fee. For simple jobs, this is minimal. Reach out to TEAM Lab about fee-for-service options.

If you have questions regarding the waterjet or are not prepared to cut, stop in during our project support hours or email maker-waterjet@engr.wisc.edu

If you’ve decided the waterjet is the best tool to cut your part and have a part prepared, follow these steps:

  1. Download the ProtoMAX MAKE/LAYOUT software package
  2. Familiarize yourself with the ProtoMAX LAYOUT software and learn how to prepare a drawing file. The drawing file is the bridge between your CAD file and the g-code produced using ProtoMAX MAKE software. Simple parts can be drawn with the tools in LAYOUT, but if you already have a part prepared or have complex geometry, use your CAD software to export a .DXF file to LAYOUT.
  3. In LAYOUT, follow the steps to:
    • Clean your drawing
    •  Assign quality to your vectors
    • Consider placement of lead in/out lines
    • Assign tool offset
    • Post your file to either .ORD or .OMX format**
  4. In MAKE:
    • Open your .ORD or .OMX file
    • Enter material type and thickness (This can be done when opening your file or can be changed at any point by selecting “Change Path Setup” after opening your part)
    • Under the “Statistics” tab on the left of the screen, an estimated time for your cut and amount of abrasive is calculated. Use this estimated time to schedule your cut. Please allow for 20-30min for setup and if issues come up while cutting.
      • Keep in mind the Makerspace charges $1.15/min for the calculated machine run time

The waterjet is in high demand, so we try our best to maintain scheduled times even if your cut is not complete. It is your responsibility to make sure you can finish your cut in the time you have reserved. 

Please bring both your LAYOUT file (AutoCAD .DXF file) and .ORD/.OMX file to the Makerspace for your reserved time. Staff will help setup the machine and start your cut.

The default units in LAYOUT are inches, but drawings can be scaled appropriately if you have designed in other units.

Other Considerations: 

*The abrasive jet stream is very powerful, and the force it exerts can shift the material if not secured correctly. If the material moves during machining, the part will not be precise and may be ruined. Material is secured using clamps that require at least 1×1” area along the edges of your material in at least 2-3 locations. When creating your part drawing, leave room for these clamps, as the nozzle cannot cut through or traverse over the clamp locations. If your part is small or requires unique clamp considerations, email maker-waterjet@engr.wisc.edu with details.

If you are cutting a brittle material (ceramic/glass/etc), the cutting stage on the waterjet must be replaced. Let staff know prior to your cutting time to allow time to replace the cutting stage. For a quality cut, brittle materials also require special design considerations.

Project Support

Check-in during the hours below for questions pertaining to design consultation, materials, and best practices.

Support Staff Date Start Time End Time
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 07/25/2024 10:00 AM 04:00 PM
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 07/31/2024 10:00 AM 04:00 PM
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 08/01/2024 10:00 AM 04:00 PM
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 08/06/2024 09:00 AM 04:00 PM
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 08/08/2024 10:00 AM 04:00 PM
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 08/14/2024 10:00 AM 04:00 PM
AISHWARYA DESHPANDE 08/15/2024 10:00 AM 04:00 PM

E-mail maker-machineshop@engr.wisc.edu with questions.