The Triton


Shipyard diversifies with waterjet cutting machine


Belfast, Maine-based Front Street Shipyard is preparing to take delivery of a five-axis 3D waterjet cutting machine that will become the largest of its kind in the state. The shipyard will use the machine to cut large parts for its own boat construction and refit needs, and provide cutting services to outside businesses. 

Purchased with the support of a Department of Transportation grant, the waterjet cutting machine will expand Front Street Shipyard’s capabilities beyond the marine market. The shipyard is now scheduling manufacturing work for this fall when the assembly and operational training for the machine is complete.

The waterjet cutting machine uses high-pressure water to cut, shape, and ream large parts such as frames, molds, and panels used in manufacturing and construction. Capable of cutting nearly any material including textiles, stainless steel, and titanium, the machine will cut parts directly from engineer-drawn electronic data.

“This machine will streamline our work on custom and production boats, reducing costs and improving the quality of the end products,” said JB Turner, president of Front Street Shipyard. “It also gives us the opportunity to diversify the services we offer beyond boat building and repair, which will ensure our company’s success through occasional downturns in the industry.”

Front Street Shipyard purchased a Suprema DX 1340 model from Illinois-based Waterjet USA. The material table size is 42 feet by 15 feet. Partial funding came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration grant awarded to Front Street Shipyard in 2018 through the Small Shipyard Grants program.

The waterjet cutting machine will be installed in Front Street Shipyard’s newest building, a 22,500-square-foot shop where shipwrights perform large yacht refits and commercial vessel construction projects up to 200 feet long. The installation will be completed in late summer.

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