Choosing the Right Diamond Wafering Blade for Your Application
Getting the most out of your Diamond Wafering / Sectioning Operation
New improvements in diamond wafering blade manufacturing technology have expanded the use of diamond into many other applications and materials.
Cross Sectioning is the first and most important step in the sample preparation process. Getting the best results involves obtaining a smooth surface finish, minimum chipping, material deformation, without sacrificing cutting speed. Today, most laboratories, work with dozens of materials. Frequently each material requires a different sectioning method and sample preparation approach.
Many laboratory technicians still spend days and even weeks, experimenting with different consumables, cut off wheels, coolants, RPM’s and many other variables. An expensive and time consuming trial and error process, witch can be avoided with proper understanding of your material, consumables and objectives you need to accomplish.
New Generation diamond wafering blades have been engineered to change they way sectioning and specimen preparation process is handled. This article deals with new developments in diamond wafering blade manufacturing, technologies and several misconceptions regarding their use. The following information have come from years of experience inesearch, development and manufacturing of precision diamond products, as well as years of personal experience and observation. New improvements in diamond wafering blade manufacturing technology have expanded the use of diamond, into many other application, traditionally sectioned by other types of cut off blades. Historically Laboratories, R & D, and manufacturing facilities have found the high cost of using diamond wafering blades prohibitive. Relying on abrasive cut off blades to observe brunt of their sectioning work, including application where use of diamond could be advantages.
Diamond can be used to section very hard
materials, than switch to cutting soft materials, while still maintain
consistent performance and cutting speed. SMART
technology recently developed by UKAM Industrial Superhard Tools has made
use of diamond wafering blades more economically feasible on broader
variety of materials & applications. Materials such as:
Very soft metals
Non-ferrous soft metals
Very ductile metals
(Ti) Soft ferrous metals
Medium soft ferrous metals
Medium hard ferrous
metals Hard ferrous metals
Very hard ferrous metals
Extremely hard ferrous metals
Minerals and ceramics
Have been successfully sectioned
utilizing new generation metal bond diamond wafering blades with SMART
Diamond Wafering Blades Work
Simply, a diamond blade wafering blade is a cutting tool which has exposed diamond particles captured in a metal matrix each with a small cutting edge. 1A1R wafering blade is made of a steel core with an Inside Diameter (ID) usually ½” or other size, that rotates around a center shaft.
During the sectioning operation, the surface speed may
reach 30 m/sec, if using a high speed sectioning saw. This is faster than
most cars running on a highway. The cutting action is performed by
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) make 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 chip you can obtain. The thickness of the blade (diamond particle plus matrix) will determine the width of the cut. Therefore, blade selection along with feed rate, cutting speed, and depth of cut will ultimately determine your sectioning success
The following are some factors to consider when selecting the right diamond wafering/sectioning blade for your application:
Diamond Grit (Mesh Size)
According to U.S. Standards, mesh designates the approximate number of sieve meshes per inch. High Mesh Sizes mean fine grits, and low numbers indicate coarse grits.
Diamond Mesh Size plays a major role in determining the surface finish quality, smoothness, level of chipping you will obtain, and material microstructure damage you will obtain. Finer mesh size diamonds such as 220 and 320 grit are much smaller in size than coarser diamond particles. And will give you a very smooth surface finish, with minimal amount of chipping on edges. These mesh sizes are usually used for fine cutting of a full rage of materials such as: LiNbO3, YVO4, GaAs, and optical materials. Courser diamond particles such as 80 and 100 grit are much larger in diameter and are frequently used fast cutting / material removal on more harder materials such as silicon carbide, zirconia, Al2O3, stainless steels, and other advanced ceramics and high metallic content materials. Witch do not require a very fine surface finish.
Diamond Mesh size does have considerable effect on cutting speed. Coarse Diamonds are larger than finer diamonds and will
remove more material than finer diamond particles. This
means that coarse diamond wheels are more aggressive for material removal
than the finer diamond wheels and will cut faster. However, the tradeoff
is increase in material micro damage. If you are cutting fragile, more
delicate materials then finer mesh size diamond wafering blades are
mesh size (grit size) should provide maximum removal rate at minimal
acceptable finish. Often the desired finish cannot be achieved in a single
step/operation. Lapping or polishing may be necessary to produce desired
surface finish, as a secondary step in your sample preparation process.
Diamond Wafering Blades & Cutting Speeds
vs. Low Speed
can be performed either at low or high speeds. There are advantages and
disadvantages of each process. Diamond may break at very high speeds, and
fall out at very slow speeds. An optimum surface speed / RPM’s must be
selected to balance out the two disadvantages. Diamond Wafering Blade life
will usually increase at slower cutting speeds. However the increase in
labor costs, utilities costs, depreciation of equipment and other overhead
expenses. Will usually offset the saving blade life and other consumables.
Cutting speed is often the most important consideration when selecting the
right diamond wafering blade for your application. The operator mush
choose a balance between life of the blades and their cutting rate.
Diamond has a higher impact strength than the material being machined. During the sawing operation, the diamond ruptures the material by impact. Each diamond is able to transfer the electrical power into momentum the breaks the material.
increasing power on your sectioning saw, your diamond wafering blade
RPM’s and surface speed will increase as well. Hence, each diamond will
chip off a smaller amount of material, reducing its impact force on
material being machined. And reducing cutting resistance. In theory, by
increasing surface speed / RPM’s, each diamond should receive a smaller
because impact is supported by a smaller volume, the impact force with
this low volume is actually increased. There is a higher probability that
the diamond particles will break or shatter. Hence, sectioning materials
at very low surface speeds, creates a large impact force between diamond
and material being machined. Although the diamond may not break, the risk
that the diamond will be pulled out of diamond wafering blade and causing
premature failure of the blade does increase.
Diamond Effect of Sectioning at Low RPM’s
The proportion, and
distribution of diamond abrasive particles, also known as
“concentration” has an effect on
overall cutting performance and price of precision diamond blades. Usually
concentration defined as: Concentration 100 = 4.4 ct per cm layer volume
(mesh size + bond).
on this definition a concentration of 100 means that the diamond
proportion is 25% by volume of diamond layer, assuming at diamond density
is 3.52 g/cm3 and 1 ct = 0.2g. Nominal diamond concentration in precision
diamond blades range from 0.5 ct/cm3 to 6 ct/cm3. This means diamond
concentrations are available from 8 to 135).
recently Diamond Concentration has played a major role in Diamond
Sectioning/Wafering Blade performance. A new technological process
recently developed, called SMART
technology, minimizes the effect of diamond concentration in your
overall sectioning process. Selecting Optimum Diamond Concentration for
your application will depend on a large number of factors, such as:
· Material Being Cut
· Bond Type and Hardness
· Diamond Mesh Size
· Cutting Speeds
Coolants being used
Diamond Concentration is still
a factor in determining the life and cutting speed of your Diamond
Sectioning/Wafering Blade. Higher diamond concentration is recommended and
usually used for cutting softer and more abrasive types of materials.
However, the trade off is significantly slower cutting speed. Low diamond
concentration is recommended and widely used for cutting ultra hard and
Wafering Blade Performance
of diamond wafering blade performance, when sectioning different types of
materials, has always been a difficult and challenging process. Analytical
approaches are often empirically based and build from previous successes and
failures. It is not uncommon for a wafering blade to work for one application,
and not work for another. Successful sectioning results depend on a large number
of variables that often cannot be controlled. New techniques have been developed
to better predict diamond wafering blade behavior. Successful sectioning results
can be achieved by relying on the experience of the diamond wafering blade
manufacturer and using two complementary diamond tool performance measurements:
1. Average chip height equation
2. Wear mechanism indicator
Average chip height equation
The average un-deformed chip height equation was introduced  to describe the theoretical maximum average chip height of a cutting particle. This height is described by the following geometric equation:
Average un-deformed chip height
table speed (head speed)
blade peripheral speed,
= ratio of total segment length to blade circumference (partition of rim),
number of active grit particles per unit area,
= chip ratio (ratio of chip width to thickness)
= depth of cut,
disadvantage of the chip height equation is it does not take the diamond
strength and material properties into consideration. This disadvantage may
be supplemented by using the Wear Mechanism Indicator or WMI . Wear
mechanism indicator is an excellent tool for qualitatively predicting
diamond wafering blade wear and life.
This method is able to predict to some degree of accuracy when each
diamond particle is contributing to the cutting action of the blade.
zone (region) of this diagram represents the cutting rate of each diamond
particle. In the yellow flat region
each diamond particle is fully contributing to the cutting rate and remains the
sharpest of the three stages. In
the blue (micro-fraction) region, diamond particles are beginning to form
internal cracks and chip off from the blade bond. Operating in this stage may
still provide successful sectioning, however the diamonds will wear at much
faster rate. At the orange (extended wear flat region) of Wear Mechanism
Indicator diagram, diamond wafering blade will exhibit the slowest cutting rate
and performance. Frequently wafering blades at this stage in the life cycle
require extensive dressing.
Both equations can be used to evaluate the effect of different diamond wafering blade parameters such as: diamond mesh size, diamond concentration, bond type and hardness on the behavior of wafering blade in application. Thus in situations where diamond wafering blade performance is unsatisfactory, it is possible to use these two evaluation techniques to examine the effect of varying parameters to produce a wafering blade that will achieve the expected level of performance.
Concentration & Cutting Performance
most sectioning saw manufacturers and laboratory technicians recommend and
use low concentration diamond wafering
sectioning ceramics, glasses, silicon, carbides, sapphire, and other
related semiconductor and optical materials. And use high concentration
wafering blades should on metals such as stainless steel, aluminum,
titanium, pc boards. A new technological breakthrough called SMART
technology, in orienting diamonds inside the metal matrix, so that every
diamond is better able to participate in cutting action,
is making fundamental changes in these beliefs and setting new benchmarks
on how diamond wafering blade performance is measured.
By orienting diamonds, SMART
technology makes diamond concentration only a minor factor in the overall
sectioning equation. Studies and extensive testing shows that diamond
concentration in wafering blades manufactured utilizing SMART
plays a no major role in determining overall wafering performance. Large
number of diamonds in a high concentration diamond wafeirng blade come in
contact with material, creating friction, hence considerably slowing down
material removal rate. It takes considerable dressing in order to rexpose
the next diamond layer.
technology resolves this problem by
making sure that every diamond is in the right place and at the right
time, working where you need it most. You get maximum use of diamond and
bond. Before this technology
was developed, orienting diamonds inside the wafering blade bond matrix
was impossible. This was one
of the main problems faced by diamond tool manufacturers worldwide. Over
the decades there have been numerous attempts to solve the diamond and CBN
distribution problem. Unfortunately, none of the attempts have been proven
effective. Even today 99.8% diamond wafering blade manufacturers still
have no way or technology to evenly control and distribute Diamond or CBN
particles inside bond matrix, nor properly position them to maximize their
Current Diamond Wafeirng Blade
technologies are also inadequate to provide effective control of diamond
mesh size (grit size) and concentration of variations on different parts
of the same tool. Current technologies also do not allow diamond
distribution to be factored in when manufacture a wheel specifically
designed for individual material property and structure.
diamond wafering blade
to do, and
control over diamond distribution. The problem
inconsistent diamond tool performance. Only
about 40% of
cutting action. The
rest fall out,
become dull, or
they have a
being used. This
factor causes the
Conventional Diamond Wafering Blades
distance between each Diamond or CBN particles determines the work load
each diamond will perform. Improper spacing of diamond or CBN particles
typically leads to premature failure of abrasive surfaces or structure. If
diamond or CBN particles are too close to one another, some of these
particles are redundant and provide little or no
assistance in cutting and sectioning. Excess diamonds particles
increase the cost of manufacturing diamond tools, due to high cost diamond
and CBN powder.
have no effect in increasing performance. In fact
excess and non performing diamond or CBN particles reduce the
diamond tools overall performance and efficiency by blocking up the
passage of debris from material being machined. In many cases these
excessive diamond particles play a major rule in decreasing the useful
life of your diamond tool. Conventional diamond wafering blades and
diamond tools have been suffering from these type of problems and
inefficiencies for over 50 years.
Inefficiency / Ineffective Wafering Blade Performance
The performance of a diamond wafering blade depends on how diamonds are distributed and adhered in matrix. Diamond weak.
If diamond particles are separated
too far (the impact exerted by each diamond particle on material becomes
excessive). The sparsely distributed diamond or CBN particles may be
crushed or even dislodged from the matrix into which they are disposed.
The damaged or missing diamond particles are unable to fully assist in the
work load. Hence the workload is transferred on to the remaining diamond
particles. The failure of each diamond particle causes a chain reaction,
witch soon results in tool ineffective performance or complete pre-mature
failure of the wafering blade.
Conventional diamond wafeirng blade usually exhibit the
following behavior: After a
of the wafering blade gradually
slow down. You
will notice excessively
speeds, and equipment
downs. And since only
in the machining action, you
your self applying
an increasing amount pressure
of material. Without
out of round. With further cutting
Heat Generation & Loss of
straight cutting capability
By constantly dressing the wafering blade,
pressure put forth on material, causes the tool to overheat and
loose its tension. The user may find themselves using excessive force and
pressure just to cut a small amount of material.
a metal bond diamond wafering blade requires different sizes of diamonds
and different diamond concentrations to be distributed at different parts
of the wafering blade bond. Most diamond wafering blades wear faster on
the edge or in front than the middle. Higher diamond concentrations are
preferred in these locations to prevent uneven wear and thus premature
SMART CUT technology promotes not only even diamond distribution. But strong diamond retention as well. Allowing the diamond wafering manufacturer to use of smaller diamond particles. Small diamond particles will improve surface finish, and optimized performance of each diamond particle.
with High Metallic Content
Historically conventional Metal Bonded Diamond Wafering Blades had problems in cross sectioning high metallic content specimens. It could take hours cross sectioning materials such as titanium and tungsten carbide with a diamond blade. Most laboratories use abrasive cut-off blades for this application. NEW GENERATION Sintered (metal bond) Diamond Wafering Blades - SMART CUTä technology actually do a good job on metals, not just ceramics. See graph below for comparison of cutting speeds on high metallic content materials. Here is an example of typical sectioning results obtained using the New Generation Sintered (metal bond) diamond wafering blade.
Wafering Blades & Cutting Speeds Case Studies
Generation Sintered (metal bond) diamond wheel with SMART CUTä
technology was tested against a conventional metal bond diamond
wheel under similar conditions. Using three different materials, namely
Aluminum, Brass, and Quartz, cuts were made to determine cutting times for
all five diamond wheel types. Using a Model 650 Low Speed Diamond Wheel
Saw, each diamond wheel blade was used for cutting the specified
materials. Each specimen cut was a 12-millimeter diameter rod of material,
helping maintain consistency during the cutting process. Specimens were
first mounted onto a graphite plate, which was then mounted onto an
aluminum mounting block. The entire system was then placed into the Model
65001 Single Axis Goniometer
mount of the Model 650. Specimens were mounted using MWH 135 low melting
point wax (melting point at 100 degrees Celsius). The following diamond
wheels were used in this experiment:
Diamond Wafering Blade, Sintered (metal bonded) 4. diameter; 0.012.
thickness; Mesh Size: coarse; Diamond Concentration: High
New Generation, Sintered (metal bonded) Diamond Wafering Blade with SMART CUTä technology. 4. diameter; 0.012. thickness; Mesh Size: coarse Diamond Concentration: High
diamond wheel was used to make three cuts on each sample, with a total of
nine cuts total
The diamond wheels were dressed with a silicon carbide dressing stick
cutting. The following cutting parameters were used for each of the cuts
grams Blade Dressing:
Prior to each cut
Wheel Speed: 10 maximum on dial)
was timed and recorded, with each cut averaged for each sample and then
plotted in a graph.
Generation, Sintered (metal bonded) Diamond Wafering Blades with SMART CUTä
cut substantially faster than Conventional Sintered (metal
bond) diamond wafering
For all three materials.
Times of Various Materials Using Different Diamond Wheels
samples 12mm rods)
Generation Metal Bond
Conventional Metal Bond
Diamond Wafering Blades
Brass 25.5 minutes 33.5 minutes
When using Abrasive, Carbide, and Other blade types
Diamond is an excellent alternative to abrasive, carbide, and vitrified bond blades..
Advantages over other blades:
Many users have found that ONE blade can last up to 100 abrasive or carbide blades put together. Is a Diamond Blade the right tool for your application? To find out, give our Engineering Department a call at Phone: (661) 257-2288.
UKAM Industrial Superhard Tools Division of LEL Diamond Tools International, Inc.
28231 Avenue Crocker, Unit 80 Valencia, CA 91355 Phone: (661) 257-2288 Fax: (661) 257-3833
© Copyright 2002-2009 UKAM Industrial Superhard Tools. No portion of this web page or its design, images, logos, may be reproduced in any form without written permission from UKAM Industrial Superhard Tools.
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