Choosing A Diamond Blade
A diamond blade is a saw blade that is specifically designed to cut through very dense, abrasive materials like concrete and asphalt. The process of cutting abrasive materials is much different than cutting through wood because the blade gets extremely hot due to friction. Not all diamond blades are the same, however, and it can be difficult to choose the best diamond blade for each individual job. Let’s take a look at the diamond blade cutting process, speed, and methods of cutting to get a good understanding of how to choose the best diamond blade for your project.
Diamond Blade Cutting Process
They’re called a blade, but diamond blades don’t really cut; they grind. The process of cutting with a diamond blade is a little different from cutting wood or another soft material with a regular saw. Diamond blades literally scratch out particles of hard, dense materials instead of cutting straight through them. This process eventually cracks the tiny diamond particles embedded on the blade and renders the blade practically useless.
Diamond Blade Cutting Speed
Speed plays a big part in the life expectancy of a diamond blade. A saw operator who cuts slowly will extend the blade’s life where a saw operator who cuts faster will go through blades more quickly. There is a direct correlation between cutting speed and the life of the blade. Each individual project is different, so each contractor has different needs where diamond blades are concerned. Contractors with large projects often choose blades that are designed to cut faster, so they understand that frequent blade replacement is going to be an issue. This is an issue they’re willing to pay for because of the scope of the project.
Diamond blade Cutting Method
Diamond blades are generally used for two methods of cutting – wet and dry. Cutting concrete and other abrasive materials is messy business.
Dry Cutting: Concrete dust is very harmful to the saw operator’s lungs and it drifts with the flow of air, so it affects other people as well. This isn’t much of an issue on a jobsite where everyone is going to be wearing masks, but that doesn’t apply to all job sites. Dry cutting also causes more friction to the blade requiring more frequent stops for the blade to cool and more blade changes as they wear out relatively quickly.
Wet Cutting: Dust created from cutting is drastically reduced when wet cutting. The amount of friction on the blade is also much less than with dry cutting, so the saw operator doesn’t have to stop quite as frequently to allow the blade to cool. Ultimately, diamond blades perform better when cutting wet.
When to Replace a Diamond Blade
Diamond blades take more damage than your average saw blade due to the type of materials they go through. You can generally look at a diamond blade and tell when it is in need of replacement. The diamond particles will be worn down and smooth. Here are a few more tell-tale signs that you need to replace your diamond blade.
- Less Effective: A worn blade will cut much slower than it did when it was new. The diamond particles in the blade are the parts that actually do the work, so when they start to wear down, the cut will be much slower.
- Smooth Blade: We just mentioned this one, but it’s worth mentioning again. You will be able to see the diamond particles if you look at a new blade. A worn blade won’t have that same definition between metal and diamond.
- Glazed Blade: This is generally a sign that the blade has been used to cut something softer and less abrasive than the intended target. You may be able to bring the diamond particles back to life by cutting through an abrasive material, but don’t bet on it.
- Worn Teeth: Sometimes the metal teeth wear down and need to be replaced. The diamond particles may still be usable, but if the teeth aren’t good, the blade needs to be replaced.
How to Choose the Best Diamond Blade
We’ve given you a good amount of information about how diamond blades work, the process by which they work, and the cutting methods used. Now it’s time to help you choose the best diamond blade for the job at hand. The performance of a diamond blade is measured in two ways – proficiency of the cut and total footage yielded by the blade. The more proficient the blade with the material being cut the better. Likewise, the more footage the blade yields the better. You need a blade that will power through the material you’re working with while lasting long enough to make it worth the cost.