Interestingly, diamond blades are not named for their shape, but rather for the actual “diamond” crystals used in the material of the blade. The diamonds are not true diamonds, but rather synthetically manufactured diamond-like crystals. These diamonds are a critical part of the blade, and are only one half of a diamond blade’s basic design. This blog will explore the many ways diamond blades can be produced and used, alongside how specific designs determine the individual function of each blade.
There are two main components of a diamond blade: the segment and the steel core. The steel core is the inner part of the blade that provides support, and the segment is the cutting part. Moreover, there are three ways to fabricate diamonds into the core, including: brazing, sintering, and laser welding. While the vacuum brazed attachment process and the sintered attachment process are the cheaper options, they create less durable results than the third attachment style known as laser welding. Additionally, the first two create blades intended for dry cutting soft material on low horsepower equipment, but the resulting blades are simple and cannot withstand aggressive use. The laser welding method, on the other hand, forms extremely durable bonds. The welding process essentially melts the two conjoining materials into one at their bonding point and allows for the use of higher horsepower equipment when cutting harder materials to much greater cut depths. These high durability cores are thicker, heat-treated, precision-ground, and tensioned. This enables these particular diamond blades to withstand flexing stress and minimize drag. The tensioning process ensures the blade has a flatness within a specific rpm range.
The segment contains synthetic diamond crystals and metal bonds, both of which can be adjusted to create specific blade functions. The synthetic diamonds can be adjusted for quantity, quality, and size more accurately than a natural diamond could. In addition, blades containing more diamonds require higher horsepower to function, and blades with higher quality diamonds can withhold their shape at higher temperature because diamonds are more resistant to losing their hardness. Lasty, blades with larger diamonds work best alongside other harder materials, such as Chert or Quartz. Diamond size is measured by mesh ranges, such as 25-35 or 50-60. Meanwhile, higher numbers indicate finer particles, meaning that high measurements work better with critically hard materials. Lower measurement ranges indicate that a diamond will work better with soft materials, such as asphalt or clay.
The metal bonds of the segment, known as wears, are various mixtures of metal powders that each function differently. The metals must hold the outermost layer of diamonds in place until the points of the diamonds have reached maximum use, at which point the wear should release the diamonds to expose the next layer of stones. The wear rate is the measurement of how long the metal bond material will remain attached to the diamond or, in other words, it is the ability of a metal to resist wear from abrasion. Softer metals, such as bronze, have low abrasion rates and should not be used to cut materials that are highly abrasive. Hard bonds and hard metals like Tungsten Carbide are best used to cut soft abrasive materials like freshly poured concrete. Knowing which bonds to use for cutting certain materials is important and can be remembered as “opposites attract;” hard bonds are used for soft, abrasive materials, while soft bonds are used for hard, less abrasive materials.
Diamond blades work by grinding down the surface of a material, not simply cutting. The staggered layers of diamonds creates a pattern where each diamond is not one, but two rows away from the diamond behind it. This design is important because it creates what is known as a “bond tail.” This tail is the length of bond material trailing behind the diamond that provides support. The outer layer should survive around seven thousand rotations through the material being cut before the diamonds wear and the metal bonds erode.
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