Knowing what factors that can affect your concrete cutting performance is the first step.
Understanding your Aggregate and choosing the right diamond blade for what you’re cutting.
Hard aggregates such as river rock require diamond blade with a softer bond. Meaning the metals holding the diamonds are softer allowing the diamonds to grind down and break away when they’re done cutting. You should cut at slower speeds when the aggregate is hard.
Soft aggregates require diamond blades made with a harder bond, where the metals hold the diamonds tighter and the soft aggregate assist in the grinding of the diamonds. Cutting at faster speeds is advisable when cutting soft aggregates.
Of course reinforcing steel can decrease your cutting rate and shorten your blade life. When cutting through steel try reducing blade speed, decrease your water flow, and apply more pressure. Never bounce the blade up and down – diamonds don’t like impact. Operating your diamond blade at the right speed can also affect performance. Speed will have to be adjusted based on the type of aggregate or the amount of steel you encounter. You should never operate a blade above the recommended RPM stamped on the blade. Serious injury could occur! Blade cores are tensioned at a prescribed RPM.
Depth of cut can drastically affect the life of your blades. Plunging all the way to full depth increasing blade contact will wear your blades out prematurely. Step cutting is advisable to prolong blade life. Make one pass at a speed of 8 to 10 feet per minute allowing just enough contact and maintaining RPMs. Make repeated passes until you’re all the way through. Careful not to cut down to deep into the sub base introducing more abrasive material to wear down your blade. Watch the color of your slurry! When it turns a different shade you’re probably through the cut.
Cooling when cutting is one of the most important aspects of cutting performance. Water or some other type of coolant must be used when cutting with diamond blades 1/2 to 3 gallons per minute is a good range to go by. Low water flow can present several problems including undercutting or overheating. Too much water can work against you and the diamonds don’t get enough contact on the material, this is know as “glazing”. Tip: Add a small amount of liquid detergent to your water tank. (1 bottle to a 500 gallon tank) Liquid detergent helps lubricate the cut and makes clean up easier.
Saw power should always match diamond blade power requirements. Over powering your blade will make it cut faster but the blade will wear out much too soon. Not enough power will cause diamonds to round and be ineffective.
Applying some of these common sense techniques should help increase your blade life thus reducing your cost per cut.