Choosing the Right Diamond Blade for Your Saw
August 17, 2017, 1:48 PM /
Having the diamond blade best suited for your saw can make all the difference. Match it well and you get a cost-effective, high-quality cut. Pairing your blade poorly will only cause premature wear-and-tear and give you a reduced blade life, higher cutting costs, and unsatisfactory results.
With so many options available—different styles, sizes, bond types, and more—how do you know you have the diamond blade that’s right for you?
We’ve put this guide together to help you find the diamond blade best suited to your needs:
1. What Is Your Saw’s Rotation Speed?
One of the most important factors to take into account is how quickly your saw spins (what its RPM is). If your blade runs too fast or too slow, it won’t operate at its peak efficiency (it will wobble and warp) and won’t last as long. Most diamond blades list the maximum pace at which they can be used, a crucial piece of information for you to consult before selecting and using any diamond blade.
2. What Style and Size of Diamond Blade Will Be Most Suitable?
The three types of blade available are:
- The segmented rim, which cuts quickly but roughly. It’s used most often for masonry and concrete and shouldn’t be used with something delicate like tile, as it will leave an unclean border. The blade’s cut-out edges facilitate air flow, allow the centre of the blade to cool without water, and push out debris.
- The turbo rim, used for materials like brick and concrete, is designed for speed. It features a grooved rim and holes on the core to let more air pass through. It can be used wet or dry.
- Continuous rim blades need to be used wet since they don’t have any vents for cooling. Remember that water is your ally in helping to regulate the temperature of the blade, flush debris, and minimize hazardous dust. Continuous rim blades do cut the slowest, but they’re also the cleanest. They’re ideal for materials like marble, porcelain, granite, and ceramic.
Keep an eye out for a Blade Application Code. This code, which was developed and standardized by the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association, provides insight into how the blade should be used (wet vs. dry, material type, and saw type).
3. What Depth of Cut Do You Need?
The two variables you need to be aware of are the maximum depth listed for individual blades and the actual cutting depth:
- You can find the maximum stated depth on a blade’s packaging. The general rule of thumb is the larger the blade diameter, the bigger the cutting depth.
- The actual cutting depth can vary due to a range of factors like the saw type, measurements of the flanges, and whether or not any components (blade guard, motor housing, etc.) extend below the blade collars.
It’s important to understand the difference between these two depths, ensuring your blade and saw will be able to tackle the task at hand.
4. What Strength of Bond Will Be Best for Your Application?
A bond (or matrix) is what’s responsible for holding the diamond crystals to the metal core, wearing away through use to expose new abrasive layers. Individual blades will boast differing concentrations of diamond crystals and varying degrees of bond hardness or softness. Typically the greater the concentration and harder the bond, the longer the blade will last.
The relationship between the material you cut and the hardness of your blade is usually an inverse one. To cut harder materials (like porcelain), you need a softer blade to wear proportionally and ensure your cut is clean. For softer materials, use a harder bond. Cutting a hard material with a hard bond will cause you to glaze the blade.
5. Will You Be Doing Dry or Wet Cutting with Your Diamond Blade?
There are pros and cons to both dry and wet cutting:
- Dry cutting works best when used intermittently (25-30 seconds at a time with a 5-10 second break in between) and for straight, shallow cuts (2” and under). It requires less equipment and is easier to setup, as you don’t need to have a water source like a tank.
- Wet cutting is ideal when an operator needs to use the saw for longer stretches of time or get the cleanest, most precise cut. It doesn’t make as much dust (compared to dry cutting), however there will be mess from the water and other debris. Wet cutting is especially common with concrete.
It’s important to emphasise that, although many dry blades can be used wet, a wet diamond blade cannot be used dry. Using a wet blade without a continuous flow of water even for a few seconds can cause it to overheat. That can damage the blade and pose serious safety hazards for operators and anyone nearby.
When Is It Time to Replace Your Diamond Blade?
Diamond blades experience more wear than regular saw blades because of how they’re used and the materials they cut.
Some signs it’s time to replace your worn diamond blades include:
- Poor Performance: Old blades won’t cut as quickly or effectively as they did in their prime.
- Smooth Blades: When blades are new, you’ll be able to clearly see the diamond particles. This won’t be as easy with older blades.
- Worn Teeth: In some cases, it’s the teeth that go before the diamond crystals.
- Glazing: This tells you that the blade hasn’t been used correctly (someone has tried to cut something softer than the blade is designed to handle). It’s possible to revive the abrasive crystals by cutting through a tough material, but don’t count on that.
When it’s time to find a new diamond blade for your saw, make sure you pick one that’s ready to cut through whatever you and your jobsite can throw at it.
At Fastening House, we carry diamond blades and other abrasive products from industry-leading suppliers like Diamond Products. Contact us today to learn more!
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