Waterjet cutting is something that many makers lust after, but not many get to play with. Waterjet cutters, giant CNC controlled systems that use high pressure water and an abrasive to cut material, are typically large and quite expensive, so they are usually only found in industrial environments.
Last year, we saw people get very excited over the Wazer, a (relatively) tiny waterjet cutter that you could put in your shop. It looks like Omax, a manufacturer of waterjets, noticed the excitement too. They’ve just announced the protoMAX, a waterjet designed for makerspaces, schools, or anyone who wants to manufacture smaller projects.
With an operable cutting area of 12″x 12″ and a max cutting thickness of 1″, this would fit perfectly in a school. The whole thing is a self contained unit on wheels, with a protective plastic shield to avoid splatter or injury. They are currently pursuing UL certification. The unit should be shipping before the end of 2017. The price tag of $19,950 comes with everything you need to get started, even a laptop to control it all.
I asked them about special pricing or materials for schools and they explained that the pricing won’t change, but that they will have special purchasing terms for educational institutions. They’re also working on a curriculum to help educators get students up to speed.