Diamond Blade Basics

What You Need to Know About Diamond Blades

45 Degree Blade Cutting

The topic “what you need to know about diamond blades” is vast and could be explored to virtually infinite depth. In this post, we will explore three basic things you need to know about diamond blades that can affect your day-to-day usage.

At some point, good fabricators develop an appreciation for high quality tools and equipment. That is not to say that every situation or production method must use the highest performing equipment. The cost of the tool and consumables for that tool play a role in the bottom line of the profit of the business. However, there are other times when the higher price for a long lasting tool is well worth the expense. One piece of equipment where this is the case is diamond blades.

High quality diamond blades can be costly. Since this is true, it makes sense to understand some basic concepts regarding diamond blades. Having a basic understanding will help fabrication workers not only select the proper blade for the job, but also enable the fabricator to get the best results and longevity from a given blade.

Diamond Blade Construction

The first area to get an understanding of is blade construction. Having insight into what components make up a diamond blade and the roles they play in the blade’s performance lays the foundation for using the blade properly and getting the best results from your diamond blades. Here, we will discuss two main components:

  • Core
  • Segments

The Diamond Blade Core

The first primary component of a diamond blade that we will consider is the diamond blade core. The core of a diamond blade is the round disc used to support the segments (we will discuss these shortly). The core of a diamond blade can play a large part in the results you receive from the blade. Some characteristics that affect the blade’s performance include:

  • Thickness
  • Hardness
  • Precision
  • Tension

The thickness of the core and its hardness contribute to how well it works and the precision with which the blade is made affect the results too. Diamond blade cores are also “tensioned”. A blade that is properly “tensioned” will be flexible to a certain degree – bending slightly under pressure – and snapping back into place when the pressure is removed. This characteristic of a diamond blade’s core allows it to flex with the cutting pressure that comes from proper blade use.

Diamond Blade Segments

In addition to the core of the blade are its segments (although there are continuous rim diamond blades which do not have segments). These segments are another part of the diamond blade’s construction that contribute to its results. Let’s take a look at diamond blade segments and how they are structured.

Diamond segments are composed of to parts. First, the metal bond. Second, the diamonds. Let’s take a high level look at each of these.

The blade’s bond is what hold the diamonds and is composed of metal powders. These various powders are mixed together; producing varying hardness and wear rates. Manufacturers formulate bonds that wear at precisely the proper rate for the type of cutting for which the blade is designed to be used. Coordinating the wear of the bond with the wear and fracturing of the diamonds.

As for the diamonds, they are typically not the naturally produced diamonds found in the earth. Rather, these are synthetic (produced or manufactured) diamonds that can be created with specific characteristics that make them just right for use on particular materials and in particular bonds. Other configurable properties that play a role in the segment design are as follows:

  • Diamond Quality
  • Quantity of Diamonds
  • Diamond Size

All of these factors contribute to the performance of a given blade. As mentioned earlier, a blade’s thickness, hardness, and tension being made with high precision will affect the performance of the blade. So the core and the segments work together to contribute to the blade’s performance. Let’s consider some significant performance factors of diamond blades.

Diamond Blade Performance Factors

When it comes to the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of a diamond blade, we need to consider the dynamics of how the blade’s core and segments work together to produce results. How the segments are fastened or attached to the core will affect the blade’s ability to perform in various scenarios. The main methods for attaching the segments to the core of diamond blades are:

  • Vacuum Brazed
  • Sintered
  • Laser Welded

Each of these attachment methods offers a degree of durability. Yet they are also come at various prices. Depending on what material you are cutting, what horse power your saw is, and whether the environment is wet or dry, your choice of the above attachment methods will vary.

Laser welded segments cost more as a general rule and produce the strongest bond to the core. This strong bond contributes to amount of heat the blade can withstand. Additionally, the strength of the core and its tension (the ability to flex and not lose its shape) also play a large role in performance.

The dynamics involved in the wearing of the diamonds and the matrix (or bond) that holds the diamonds also make for a high performance blade. The bond and the diamonds need to breakdown in a particular manner and at a rate that is complimentary. The better this wear process is coordinated, the better the results will be. Conversely though, if any of the aforementioned components or dynamics is even slightly out of line, the results will not be optimal. In fact, many factors can even cause a blade to break.

How to Prevent Diamond Blade Breakage

As we have considered there are many details that go into what you need to know about diamond blades. One of the important ones from a fabricator’s perspective is how can I prevent breaking blades? As you will see, there are a number of factors, including environmental factors, usage factors, and even operating factors that can contribute to sub-par performance and even breakage.

Cutting stoneĀ at a high speed, under intense heat, at various pressures and force is a sensitive process. Right there in that sentence is a clue to preventing blade breakage. So, you should endeavor to use the proper blade in the proper manner with the right equipment. Hence, thisĀ  affords you the best opportunity for increasing the longevity of the blade. Ultimately, you want the blade to wear out and not break.

One underlying cause of blades breaking involves heat. In fact, if the blade gets too hot from improper use or from friction, it can cause the blade to break or to lose segments. So we have included a list of specific things that can hinder the performance of a diamond blade and which can result in a blade breaking or throwing segments:

  • Using dry diamond blades improperly.
  • Using wet diamond blades with too little water.
  • Machines in need of maintenance.

Each of the above situations can cause blade breakage or segments being thrown. Let’s look at each one and see how it contributes to what you need to know about diamond blades.

Improper Blade Use

Diamond blades must be kept cool while they are being used to cut stone. Some blades are designed to be used dry and others are designed to be used in wet environments. One of the primary differences between these blades is how they are cooled.

In the case of a dry diamond blade, air is used to cool the blade while it cuts. This is achieved by allowing air to circulate around the segments (and even through the blade in some cases). This fact implies a proper use of these kinds of diamond blades.

When using a dry diamond blade, be sure to allow enough air to interact with the blade by keeping your sawing mode shallow. This approach allows air to flow around or through the gaps and holes in the blade. Deep, continuous cutting can create a situation where the blade is damaged due to overheating which affects the core and the segments.

If you are using a wet diamond blade, the danger of heat-related damage can occur if there is insufficient water produced to cool the stone. Therefore, it is important that your environment provides a sufficient amount of water on both side of the blade. Additionally, never use a wet diamond blade without water.

Finally, you can prevent blade breakage by keeping your machines well-maintained and in good working order. Loose nuts, bots or other fasteners can cause the blade to wobble or flutter. Also, worn out shafts and bearings create play in what would otherwise be a straight, smooth line. Anything that can cause the blade to be out of balance can cause even more damage. Be sure to regularly check and service your stone cutting equipment. It will pay off in the long run.

What to Take Away

As you can see, what you need to know about diamond blades involves understanding basic principles and being familiar with how blades work in various situations and environments. Knowing this, prevents fabricators from arbitrarily using diamond blades in ways they were not intended. And from neglecting machinery to the point that it becomes a detriment to the shop’s operation.

Customer Service Ideas

Stone Fabrication Customer Service

Stone fabrication has a lot of unique factors that separate it from other service related industries. However, in many ways stone fabricators have to give attention to the same aspects of business as any other company. One such area is customer service. Service tips is one of the aspects of stone fabrication mentioned on Granite Polishing Pads. But if you are going to provide a memorable experience for your customers, you must help them to feel understood. Let’s look at some basic customer service ideas that help accomplish this.

Stone Fabrication Customer Service

Effective Customer Service Means Listening Well

This may sound strange on the surface, but it really is important. In fact, you may even be thinking to yourself “that is obvious”, but think about what it takes to achieve that. Also, think about how it affects the bottom line of the business. In order to understand your customer, you have to must be a good listener. If your customer expresses a lack of interest in one of your features or services, how you listen will impact the relationship. Notice this quote from an article in the Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine Volume 10 / Issue 4 Quarter 4, 2017.

“If you upgrade your listening skills, you automatically upgrade your sales and your ability to persuade.”

That article was talking about the slaes process, but the premise of article also applies to customer service relationships. So, tip number one in our customer service ideas starts before the sale; listen well.

Customer Service While Doing the Work

Providing good customer service during the install process is also vital. In fact, the service provided during the sale and install of the process is just as important as the quality of the work and product itself. Efficiency during the sales and follow up process is key to getting things right for the customer. Many Fabrication professionals utilize forms to assist with various aspects of the sales and service process. The Natural Stone Institute provides a variety of forms to assist stone professionals with the customer service experience. A sample of what one of these forms may look like can be found here: Initial Contact Form.

Creating documentation throughout the sales and service process keeps the communication clear so that all involved know what to expect and what not to expect. And clarity is as important part of the customer experience.

Service Before During After

Service After the Sale

Even after the sale is complete, customer service does not stop. Following up with the customer some time after the install is finished can speak volumes. Try giving your customer a call to see how they are enjoying their new countertop or stone surface. Some fabrication professionals send a gift to the owner of the new surface as a thank you present. Actually, some very thoughtful stone professionals even perform the first cleaning with a nice high quality product like Lustro Italiano and then leave the cleaning and maintenance kit as a thank you gift for the customer. That’s what Ageless Stoneworks Inc. out of Houston, TX. recommends in this discussion in the SFA forum.

The idea is that customer service is a way of doing business. It is more than a slogan or a way of selling. Customer service encompasses various aspects of the relationship between you, the fabricator or stone professional and the customer. It spans the entire range of interaction between you and your customer. From the first time they hear about your company or service to the time they recommend you to a friend.