Waterjet machining uses a stream of water, pressurized at 50,000 PSI, and forced through a .014" diameter diamond orifice.
The resulting jet, traveling at 1,700 feet per second, more than twice the speed of sound, is driven by computer to precisely cut the desired geometry.
Soft materials such as cork, rubber, foils, or cloth are cut using water only.
To machine harder materials, garnet abrasive is drawn into the stream downstream of the orifice. Most waterjet machining is performed this way, using abrasive.
Ultimately, waterjet machining is high speed, tightly controlled erosion.