Waterjet Cutting Service

The Student Innovation Center Laboratory of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) features a Flow Mach 2 abrasive waterjet capable of cutting a wide variety of materials. ABE’s waterjet is primarily used to cut parts used in ABE undergraduate and graduate coursework and for ABE-led research projects. The waterjet is operated by ABE staff, and is also available for reasonably-sized cutting projects to other Iowa State University (ISU) Engineering departments, ISU non-engineering departments, and various ISU-sanctioned groups.

Part Design Guidelines

  • Parts are cut based on two-dimensional drawings submitted in DXF format
    • AutoCAD, Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor, and other CAD software are all capable of exporting parts in a DXF format
  • Ensure that the DXF is submitted in 1:1 scale
  • DXF part file naming should be descriptive and must include your name, part name, material thickness, and quantity. Example: waterjetuser_samplepart_250in_8pcs.dxf
  • Maximum part dimension size is 120.0″ L x 78.0″ W

Allowable Materials:

  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Plexiglass
  • Glass
  • Wood (plywood, OSB, pressboard, solid wood)
  • Rubber
  • Foam
  • Fiberglass
  • Composites

Non-Allowable Materials:

  • Tempered Glass
  • Advanced Ceramics



How do I submit a cutting request?

Go to the ABE website, under the research tab, click on Research Facilities and Laboratories. It will bring you to ABE Research Facilities and Laboratory page. Look for the Student Innovation Center Laboratory-Water Jet Cutting Service link. Click on the link that will get you to the Water Jet webpage.

  1. Fill out the request form
  2. Send it to waterjet@iastate.edu
What is the preferred design format for submission?
  • We prefer DXF format.

What can be cut with the water jet?

  • Almost anything! Send us an email or call the number below if you have something unique.

What is the upper limit on thickness?

  • Depending on the type of material, we can go up to 2’’ thick on steel.

How do you charge for a service?

  • We charge $34.17 per hour of cutting time.

Is there a minimum base charge?

  • Yes, there is a $10 minimum base charge.
  • Base charge justification:
    • You pay $10 for any job that requires 1-20 minutes of the machine time. Anything above 20 minutes will be based on the $34.17/hr rate.

What type of payment do you accept?

  1. Program worktage (PGxxxxxx) with department detail (DDyyyyy), intramural, or Ubill.
  2. Ubill (ISU students working on their own projects). Just provide you ISU ID.
  3. Intramural (ISU Student Clubs etc..).

Where do I get cutting materials?

Consult with us first, we may have what you needed and can give it to you for free. If we don’t, you can get them from these vendors:

Sargent Metal Fabricating

650 Arrasmith Trail, Ames, IA 50010



Howe’s Welding & Metal Fabrication

811 S Duff Ave, Ames, IA 50010



ISU Student Innovation Center

606 Bissell Rd, Ames, IA 50011


Who do I contact if I have a question regarding the Water Jet?

  1. Send your questions to waterjet@iastate.edu.
  2. Call 515-294-2985


Please submit the following request form to waterjet@iastate.edu to request waterjet cutting.

Request form