If you are going to be using a tile, saw or masonry saw, procuring a diamond blade is in your immediate future. When preparing for your DIY project, it can be helpful to have an idea of how long diamond saw blades last so that you can plan and choose the most economical blade. In this post, we’ll answer the question, “How long do diamond saw blades last?” and go over some of the factors that affect the useful life of your blade.
Diamond Blades are found in hundreds of different varieties, types, bond types, and manufacturing methods. Ultra-Thin & High Precision Diamond Blades are used in Slicing, Dicing, Wafering, Cut-off, Singulation, Grooving, Slotting, Cross Sectioning, Sample Preparation, Gang Sawing, Slabbing, Rough Cutting applications. Its important for the user to understand the subtle differences between diamond blade types, their intended application and their effect on performance. The guide below was designed to aid diamond blade users of all experience levels from novice to experienced manufacturing engineer, researcher and professional craftsmen. Better understand the numerous variables that play a vital role in the success of your diamond sawing operation. Each diamond blade is designed specific application and hence may react differently under different conditions. What worked for one application may not work for another. After reading this guide, the user will be equipped with the knowledge to make a more intelligent diamond blade selection. And Select the Right Diamond Blade for their material/application the First Time.
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How Diamond Blades Work
Simply, a diamond blade is a cutting tool which has exposed diamond particles captured in a metal matrix each with a small cutting edge. Diamond blades are usually made with a steel core or completely impregnated with diamond. During the diamond cutting operation, the surface speed may reach 30 m/sec, if using a high-speed diamond cutting saw. This is faster than most cars running on a highway. The cutting action is performed by the accumulation of small chips scratched out by the numerous diamond particles impeded in the bond. The number of cutting edges which is determined by the number of diamonds (or concentration) makes up the structure of the diamond blade, along with its matrix, (metal or nickel bond). The size of the diamond particle will have a direct result in the size of the chip you can obtain. The thickness of the diamond blade (diamond particle plus matrix) will determine the width of the cut. Therefore, diamond blade selection along with feed rate, cutting speed, and depth of cut will ultimately determine your diamond sawing success.
Factors affecting longevity
Blade life can vary greatly depending on a number of variables. One key factor is blade quality (diamond quality and concentration, and segment bond and width). Consider that two blades of the same diameter could have different diamond depths, amounts of diamond in the blade segment and segment heights.
As with traditional diamonds, there are different grades assigned to synthetic diamonds for saw blades. “A higher-quality diamond is going to perform better and last longer. In some cases, it may also grind or cut faster, as well.
Another key factor in blade life is the material that needs to be cut. Cutting a hard material such as concrete requires a different blade than one used to cut a soft, abrasive material such as asphalt. The harder material requires diamonds to be exposed more quickly, and a softer bond to hold the diamonds to the segment.
You could use a blade designed for concrete to cut asphalt, and it will cut fast, but it won’t last very long.
How concrete cutting impacts blade life depends on the aggregate size, sand type (sharp and abrasive or round and non-abrasive), aggregate hardness (determined by rock type) and reinforcing steel (amount, grade and gauge). For example, a coarse aggregate with a lot of sand will wear a blade faster than concrete with less sand and less aggregate.
However, softer and more abrasive green concrete will require a harder bond with undercut protection.
How long a blade will be useful on a job depends on the amount of cutting that needs to be done. Using a blade to cut a driveway is different than using a blade to cut a long stretch of highway, Fisher points out.
The saw used with the blade also affects blade life. A tool with high rpm will wear a blade faster than a tool with low rpm.
The operator can shorten the life of a blade, as well. An operator applying more pressure will tend to wear out a blade faster than someone applying less pressure.
Diamond Saw Blade Itself
The diamond concentration
How can we define the diamond concentration? There is a standard in diamond saw blade industry. The diamond concentration will be 100%, and if there is a 4.4 karat diamond in one cubic centimetre of the segment, if there is a 3.3karat diamond, the concentration is 75%.
Except for the weight concentration, there is volume concentration as well. The diamond concentration will be 100% if the diamond volume occupies 1/4 of the total volume of the segment. So, increase the diamond concentration, the blade life can be lengthened.
The diamond grit size
30/40 to 60/80, this is the popular grit size range for the diamond saw blade. The blade will have a longer life with fine diamond grit. However, we have to consider the material hardness before choosing the grit size. If the blade is to cut granite, it is better to choose 40/50 or 60/70, while if the material is concrete, 30/40 is better.
The bond is composed of several different metal powders; it is used to wrap the diamond grit: the harder bond, the better resistance to wear. To improve the hardness of the bond, cobalt or tungsten carbide is usually added to the bond.
Cutting a hard material such as concrete requires a different blade than one used to cut a soft, abrasive material such as asphalt. The harder material requires diamonds to be exposed more quickly, and a softer bond to hold the diamonds to the segment.
If the material is a hard stone, then choose the fine diamond grit.
Cutting Parameters during operation
The Linear Speed
In practice, the linear speed of the blade is confined by the types of equipment, blade quality and cutting materials. In consideration of the blade lifespan and cutting efficiency, the linear cutting speed should be different according to different material. To cut granite, the optimum linear speed is between 25 to 35 m/s. For high quartz content and difficult cutting granite, remove the blade speed limit is appropriate. Cubic boron nitride tiles in the production, the use of smaller diameter diamond saw blade, and the line speed can reach 35m / s.
Diamond cutting depth is the key parameter in relation to diamond wearing, cutting performance and cutting material. Normally, the cutting depth should be set smaller if the linear blade speed is high. According to the current technology, the cutting depth of the diamond is between 1mm ~ 10mm. Usually, with a large diameter saw blade cutting granite blocks, the cutting depth can be controlled within 1mm ~ 2mm between the feed rate should be reduced at the same time. When the linear speed is high, a large cutting depth should be selected.
The feeding speed affects the cutting efficiency, the impact force on the blade and the cooling of the cutting area. A suitable feeding speed should be set based on the nature of the cutting material. Generally, to cut the soft material, the marble, for example, in order to get a big cutting depth, the feeding speed can be slower. While, if the material is granite, the feeding speed should be higher. Otherwise, the diamond grit will be worn out easily. The feeding speed on cutting granite is 9-12m/min.
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Diamond Blade Do’s & Don’ts
WET CUTTING Do’s & Don’ts
- Do follow the manufacturer’s recommended blade specifications for material to be cut.
- Do inspect the diamond blade for damage that may have occurred during shipment or damage due to previous use.
- Do check mounting flanges for equal diameter, excess wear and flatness. Mounting flanges must have adequate relief around the arbour hole.
- Do be sure that the diamond saw blade is mounted on a correct diameter blade shaft between proper blade flanges and is securely hand-tightened with a wrench.
- Do check the saw for proper operating conditions:
- All fluids are at proper levels.
- Blade shaft bearings should be free of end and radial play.
- V-belts should be properly tensioned, and pulleys checked for excessive wear.
- Leadoff adjustment is set correctly, to allow the blade to travel straight.
- Do operate with blade guard in place and properly secured.
- Do be sure there is continuous water flow to each side of the blade. Gravity feed does not supply a sufficient water flow. The water pumps on concrete saws are “booster” pumps only and are not adequate as a primary pressure source. An adequate coolant supply is required for wet cutting blades to maintain blade life and cutting efficiency.
- DO FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURER’S RECOMMENDED PULLEY SIZES AND OPERATING SPEEDS. FOR SPECIFIC BLADE DIAMETERS, REFER TO MANUFACTURER’S OPERATING MANUAL.
- To operate the saw with proper safety attire, i.e., safety glasses, safety helmet, safety shoes and hearing protection.
- Do examine blade periodically for heat marks or cracks in the steel centre or segments, or excessive wear under the segments.
- Don’t use a diamond saw blade without checking the manufacturer’s recommendations for the material to be cut. Improper selection can cause excessive blade wear and possible damage to the diamond saw blade and machine, and create an unsafe operating condition.
- Don’t use a new diamond saw blade or remount a used blade which has a core that is not flat or is cracked, which shows segment damage or loss, or which has a damaged arbour hole.
- Don’t use mounting flanges on which the bearing surfaces are not clean and flat.
- Don’t force blade onto machine blade shaft or mount blade on undersized blade shaft. Either condition can result in unsafe operating conditions and excessive blade wear.
- Don’t mount the blade on a machine that does not meet the minimum requirements set forth in the manufacturer’s machine operating manual.
- Don’t stand in direct line of blades during start-up or operation.
DRY CUTTING Do’s & Don’ts
- Do follow the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding the specification for material to be cut and suitability for dry cutting applications.
- Do inspect the diamond saw blade for damage that may have occurred during shipment or damage due to previous use.
- Do inspect the diamond blade periodically during use for core flatness, fatigue cracks, segment damage, undercutting and damage to the arbour hole.
- Do check the mounting flanges to be sure that they are of the equal or correct diameter, that they do not show excessive wear, and that they are flat.
- Do be sure that the diamond blade is mounted on a correct diameter blade shaft between proper blade flanges and is securely hand tightened with the wrench provided or an adjustable wrench no longer than 8″.
- Do check for proper saw machine conditions. Spindle bearings should be free of end and radial play. Consult the operating manual from the saw manufacturer for proper machine maintenance conditions.
- Do follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for operating speeds for specific blade diameters.
- To maintain a firm grip on hand-held saws during the cutting operation.
- Do wear proper safety equipment at all times. Always wear safety glasses, safety footwear, snug-fitting clothing, hearing and head protection, and respiratory equipment where required.
- Don’t cut dry except with a blade specifically designated for dry cutting by the manufacturer.
- Don’t exceed the maximum operating speed established for the diamond blade.
- Don’t operate a saw without proper safety guards in place. NEVER OPERATE ANY SAW, WET OR DRY, WITHOUT A BLADE GUARD!
- Don’t use the blade to cut material other than that recommended by the manufacturer for that specific blade type.
- Don’t use the blade on a type of saw other than that specified by the manufacturer.
- Don’t force blade onto machine blade shaft, alter the size of the mounting hole, or tighten mounting nut excessively. The use of loose bushings to reduce the arbour hole size is not recommended for diamond blades used on high-speed saws.
- Don’t stand in direct line with dry diamond or abrasive blades during start-up or operation.
- Don’t attempt to cut more than 1 ½ inches deep per pass with dry cut blades.
- Don’t make long continuous cuts with a dry diamond blade. Allow the blade to cool by turning in the air every few minutes. The harder the material being cut, the more often the blade should be allowed to cool.
- Don’t force the blade into the material; allow the blade to cut at its speed. Forcing the blade may cause overheating or blade damage.
- Don’t cut or grind with the sides of a diamond blade.
- Don’t allow the blade to deflect in the cut.
- Don’t attempt to cut curves or radii.
How long will a diamond blade last?
So, just how long do diamond saw blades last after all? The answer can vary widely, unfortunately, so there is no simple number to use as a reference. Assuming the blade is compatible with the material you are cutting, and assuming you use good technique, the number of cutting hours you can squeeze out of the blade can range from 10 to over 100 hours. For this reason, it is extremely important to know the level of quality you are paying for when buying a diamond blade.
Depending on the size of your project and how much material you need to cut, a cheap diamond blade can easily end up costing more than a pricier, higher-quality brand. If you only need 10 hours of cutting out of it, the quality might not be as relevant to you. But buying ten 10-hour blades is always going to be more expensive (and frustrating) than buying one 100-hour blade.
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How to make a diamond blade last longer?
No matter the price you pay for your diamond blade, you will want to get as much useful life out of it as possible. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to extend the life of the blade and make it last much longer.
The first step takes place before you even purchase the blade. Assuming you know in advance what type of tile or stone you will be cutting with your saw, you can tailor your choice of the diamond blade to the characteristics of that material. This can dramatically increase the cutting life of a blade, because the blade will be designed to uncover a layer of fresh, sharp diamond particles at exactly the right speed for the abrasiveness of what you are cutting—fast enough so that you aren’t left with dull diamonds, but not so fast as to wear the blade down prematurely.
The good cutting technique can also make a big difference in how long your diamond blade lasts. You don’t want to rush the saw by pushing too hard on the cutting head or tile in an attempt to make it cut faster. Also, wet cutting will be easier on the blade than dry cutting, even if the blade is indicated for dry cutting (NEVER dry cut with a blade that is not designed for that purpose). Water also keeps the blade cool, preventing the metal bond from melting over the diamonds and rendering the blade useless until it can be properly sharpened.