Choosing the Right Diamond Porcelain Blades
A question that gets asked about a number of products is, "Which one should I use?" It is no different when it comes to selecting a ceramic porcelain blade. Many fabricators are constantly looking for the "best" tool. However, the reality is that there is no one porcelain blade that does everything the best. In this article we will take a look at some basic concerns that come with cutting ceramic and porcelain. We will also briefly consider some features of diamond blades that are used for cutting tiles and even porcelain slabs. Along the way we will discuss some of the pros and cons of using specific types of diamond porcelain blades.
Porcelain Ceramic Blade Styles
If you begin looking for a diamond blade to cut porcelain tiles you will quickly discover that there are many options. Some blades designed for use on
tile saws are labeled as 'ceramic blades', others are called 'porcelain tile blades', and others are designated as 'tile blades'. This can make choosing the right blades for cutting ceramic surfaces, porcelain tiles, or other sintered materials a challenge. Why is that the case?
One reason selecting which blade to use can be tricky is that there are a number of design elements present on each blade. For example, there are continuous rim porcelain blades, turbo blades for cutting ceramic materials, and even ultra thin porcelain blades. Additionally, each blade has specific characteristics that distinguish it from its peers. But Why some many different blade styles? The answer comes down to determining what kind of performance measures are important to the one using the blade.
Measuring Blade Performance
Each professional measures performance a bit differently from others. For example, one installer may focus more on the productivity by keeping a close eye on the speed at which a blade cuts. Another might want a blade that lasts a long time because he or she feels that it is the best option for the budget. Still another professional may want a blade that produces a cut with the least amount of chipping. The visible differences in porcelain diamond blades are elements that address some of these concerns and others as well. Why are porcelain blades visually different from other blades that cut hard materials?
Characteristics of Ceramics
There are many types of stone-like materials used for hard surfaces in the home and in businesses. (We use the term "stone-like" because the word stone is used in a number of ways when talking about various surface materials.) Each material has characteristics that affect its performance in various environments. Some materials are more susceptible to staining, others do not resist heat very well, and still yet there are some stone surfaces that are sensitive to chemicals.
Porcelain ceramic surfaces tend to be very resilient when it comes to those factors. However, ceramic materials are very, very hard. This makes it more brittle that other materials because it does not "give" or absorb shock as well as some of the other materials. This means care is needed when working porcelain.
The fact that ceramics are so hard can present issues during the process of cutting. And even though it might not be the hardest material used for flooring, countertops, and wall cladding, it is up there toward the top of the list. So, blade manufacturers have designed diamond blades to meet the particular challenges of cutting porcelain. Let's look at some specific
porcelain blades and talk about the benefits of each style briefly.
Ceramic Porcelain Continuous Rim Blades
One of the issues that comes up when working with porcelain or ceramic material is that the material is so hard that it can be easily chipped during the cutting and shaping process. Another factor that can affect the process of working with these materials is the heat that can be generated by the friction of the blade cutting the material. One way blade designers overcome the potential chipping issues is by engineering diamond blades that have a continuous rim. Since the gaps between the segments are very, very small (if the blade has any gaps at all), the blade is in virtually constant contact with the porcelain. This means that once the cut is started, the only area of the porcelain that is being removed is inside the cut itself.
Blades that have segments with gaps tend to knock material off the sheet that is being cut. On the other hand, a blade with a continuous rim or extremely small gaps between the segments, will remove the material through friction and not so much by hitting the edge and ripping the material away. This type of action (the frictional style cutting) means there is less of a risk of chipping the edges of the cut.
Thin Rim Porcelain Cutting Blades
Another style of porcelain blade available is the thin rim blade. Since they are so thin, they remove less material at once and therefore they do not chip as easily as other blades do. Also, thin rim diamond blades for cutting porcelain usually have a more pronounced texture on the sides of the rim. This allows for greater material removal, again without beating the edges of the stone. The texturing on the sides of the rim will vary, but they will be designed with diamonds in the bond so that they cut on not only the edge, but also the sides.
Thin rim porcelain blades usually have some method for dissipating heat that is generated by the friction that cuts the porcelain. Everything from air holes in the blade's body to the material of which the blade is made. Air holes allow the blade to "breathe", meaning, the heat that builds up in the metal body of the blade gets released into the air as it escapes via the holes in the blade body. Copper blades also radiate heat away from the rim toward the center of the blade and in this way the rim is cooled.
Turbo Porcelain Blades
One of the types of porcelain blades that you will no doubt see is the turbo rim blade. This style of blade is usually designed for fast cutting. They are often times used for cutting hard stone like granite and quartzite. Because they cut hard materials so well, they can also be used for cutting porcelain and ceramic materials as well. While these kinds of diamond blades cut fast, they have a tendency to chip more than other types of ceramic blades when compared head to head. That being said, there are various grades of turbo blades available and not every turbo blade performs at the same level. In fact, some turbo blades are made for cutting ceramic materials.
Turbo mesh diamond blades are designed to be effective for cutting porcelain tiles, panels and even countertops. Ceramic turbo mesh blades bring together the various benefits described above into a blade that is vented, has a thin body, and is textured on the sides of the rim. While this style of blade might not beat other in any one aspect of cutting, it is potentially one of the best all-around ceramic blades if you choose one that is a high quality.
As we have seen, there are many types of blades that can be used to cut ceramic materials, including porcelain. Each style brings some benefits with it. Depending on the person using the blade, the volume of the shop it is used in, and the number of materials that are processed by the shop, the blade chosen might vary. However, which ever blade you need for your situation can easily be found by browsing through our selection of diamond blades.