Used to cut concrete, asphalt, brick, and other stone-like materials, concrete saws are the most effective power tool in the concrete cutting industry today. These saws vary in size for numerous situations. Some are small enough to be hand-held, others like the one in the picture above are walk-behind saws while others are attached to a track and some controlled remotely. The type of fueling these saws use range anywhere from hydraulic, gasoline, diesel, and electric motors.
Today, the most popular type of blades attached to these saws are diamond tipped blades which allow for the most efficient and accurate cut. However, a more cost-efficient alternative to diamond tipped blades would be to incorporate the use of abrasive or grinding wheels instead. These grinding wheels are often composed of a steel or aluminum disk with various coarse particle materials bonded to the surface. The drawback to using grinding wheels as opposed to diamond tipped blades is that they will cut less efficiently, in spite of their lower cost.
There are a number of safety rules that come with operating a power tool such as the concrete saw. Because the saw operates by grinding metal against an opposing material, lots of friction is created as a byproduct. As such, the blade can become extremely hot and lots of dust can rise from the cutting. For this reason, a constant water flow is necessary to keep operation of these tools safe. The water simultaneously cools down the blade, preventing it from overheating while keeping the surface of the concrete wet so that the quantity of dust that gets kicked up stays minimal.
Diamond Blades (Grinding wheels)
Diamond blades, while used for “cutting” concrete and other like materials, are not quite blades so much as they are sophisticated grinding wheels. These blades create cuts in the ground by quickly spinning around and grinding the material upon making contact. In order to create a diamond blade, actual diamonds are infused into a metal coating thus creating the blade.
Diamonds are fused into this metal coating through several different methods: electroplating, vacuum brazing, and sintering. Electroplating involves the use of an electrical current to, very simply put, dissolve the metal atoms around the diamonds and plating the metal atoms over the diamonds dissolving into the metal at the same time. Vacuum brazing is different because it does not use an electric current to fuse materials. In this process, diamonds are welded to the outside of the blade, therefore making vacuum-brazed blades a non-metal-diamond mixture. All of the diamonds are on the exterior of the blade. The most common type of diamond blades are those that are sintered. The blade is composed of a steel base and uses metal powder to infuse the blade with diamonds. Sintering is a process by which a material is heated high enough to force material bonding without actually melting the material.
(Image source: Needpix)