Choosing the Right Diamond Tooling and Polishing Pads

As the aesthetic value of concrete gains popularity, the need for specialized tools to achieve a brilliant shine increases. In order to maximize the quality of your work, having the proper tools is a must. For any grinding or polishing work, understanding the scope of your project will guide you to the right set of tools. Attaining that perfect finish requires knowledge of the type of grinding that will be done (wet or dry), the best grinder to use, and the material(s) that need to be finished. This guide will help ensure you are using the right tools to obtain the desired outcome for your project.

What is diamond tooling?

Diamond tooling is the process by which diamond “grit”, think heavy-duty sandpaper, is used to cut, grind, and drill a wide variety of surfaces. These are real diamonds, but not the ones found in fine jewelry. They are synthetic diamonds, grown in a lab, that are renowned for their abrasiveness. By using synthetic diamonds, manufacturers are able to control the size of the diamond bits used. The scope of the project controls the grain size of the diamonds.  For challenging jobs, like grinding concrete flooring, larger bits of diamond are required. For polishing projects, it is best to go with smaller grains.

In order to grind and polish concrete, a sturdy, abrasive material is required. Diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth, scoring a 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it the perfect abrasive material for grinding and polishing projects. They are also thermal conductors. This allows the heat to transfer out of the diamond, extending the lifespan of the grinder or polisher by protecting it from overheating. Another benefit of using diamonds in tools is that they do not react with any chemicals that may be used in the grinding or polishing process.

Another consideration for your grinder or polisher is the number of segments your tool has. The options are single segment and double segment. While most medium to large projects will use a double segment for better performance on larger machines and for smoother finishes, single segments are optimal for smaller, lightweight machines.

Bonds

Bonds are essential to diamond tooling. The bonds are used to secure the diamond pieces to the tool. Not only are the bonds critical to holding the diamond pieces intact on the tool, but they also gradually wear down, allowing new bits of diamond to be exposed as the older diamond pieces become dull. Bonds may be metal or resin and are chosen based on the hardness of the concrete involved in the project. To understand how hard the concrete surface is, do a scratch test.

Soft metal bonds will create the best results for hard surfaces. Harder materials require more abrasive action. Soft bonds wear down faster, allowing new diamond bits to become exposed faster, maximizing the effect of the diamond tooling on the surface. Using soft bonds on hard materials will reduce any instances of glazing, where the abrasiveness of the tool melts and re-hardens as a smooth surface, rendering the tool ineffective. One great option for single-segment jobs is U.S. Saws’ Single Segment Fast Change – Soft Bond, which is a single-segment fast-change diamond grinding tooling for grinding machines. This tool saves time and money and increases production through its ease of use and fast change system. For larger jobs, U.S. Saws has the perfect double segment option, the Double Segment Fast Change – Soft Bond. Perfect for larger concrete finishing jobs that require a perfectly smooth surface, this tool reduces downtime and saves money while coming in a variety of grit sizes, including #16/20, #30/40, #60/80, and #120/150.

Medium metal bonds work in a wide variety of situations. These are a great idea if the hardness of the surface is undetermined. The issue with medium metal bonds is that soft materials will cause the bond to wear quickly, and hard materials will prove more difficult to cut. U.S. Saws offers an economic option for single-segment medium bond diamond tooling. The Single Segment Fast Change – Medium Bond diamond tooling makes grinding a breeze with the fast change benefit. Double-segment options are also available. The Double Segment Fast Change – Medium Bond is an excellent choice for those larger jobs where the hardness of the surface is unknown. Both the single segment and double segment come with a variety of grit options.

Hard metal bonds are resistant to softer materials, like asphalt, soft concrete, and rain-damaged concrete. They are ideal for use on projects that require adhesive removal. U.S. Saws offers the Single Segment Fast Change – Hard Bond product as a way for contractors to save time and money through the fast change system, making fast work of those soft material projects.

Diamond Polishing Pads

Polishing pads are integral to obtaining the perfect sheen on your project’s surface. Choosing the right polishing pad is dependent on the thickness of the pad, wet versus dry polishing, and type of surface. Polishing pads typically range in thickness from 2 millimeters to 8 millimeters. Thicker pads last longer but are prone to cupping. Pads that have been cupped do not wear evenly, many times causing the outer portion of the pad to not make contact with the surface, reducing the effective size of the polishing pad. Friction is always an issue with grinding and polishing. Wet polishing pads reduce heat caused by friction, which in turn allows for a higher degree of shine in the finished product. However, wet polishing pads can be messy. Dry polishing pads may see an increase in heat due to friction, but they are also designed to withstand higher levels of heat. While dry polishing pads also create a mess through dust, there are dust collection systems available that make fast work of any dust and debris. Understanding the surface material and the work environment will aid in choosing the right wet or dry polishing pad for your project.

U.S. Saws offers multiple options for all of your polishing pad requirements. The 5” Honeycomb Polishing Pad Pack is the perfect option for polishing granite and marble. This pack of dry pads includes multiple grits to get you through a wide range of polishing finishes. Lower-numbered grit is coarser, while higher-numbered grit is finer. This is ideal for hand-held grinders. For larger surface areas, U.S. Saws offers the 7” Honeycomb Polishing Pad Pack. This pack is for dry polishing and also contains a wide range of grits, from #50 to #3000.

The 5” Standard Concrete Polishing Pad Pack from U.S. Saws is the right option for smaller wet polishing concrete surfaces for a high gloss finish. U.S. Saws has a great option for larger concrete surface areas. The 7” Standard Concrete Polishing Pad Pack provides a wide variety of grit sizes that are ideal for wet polishing.

Contact U.S. SAWS today to locate the proper diamond tooling products for your project.

World of Concrete 2023!

The World of Concrete will be taking over Las Vegas Convention Center from January 16-19, 2023! This annual extravaganza of all things concrete will provide access to over 160 educational opportunities in the areas of technical, business, and safety development, including interactive workshops, industry certifications, and overviews of cutting-edge tech like 3D printing, fiber reinforcing, and mass concrete. The Women’s Association of Concrete Professionals, the FORGE Foundation, the National Association of Hispanic Contractors, Family Business Institute, AAC Worldwide, and Modern WorkTruck Solutions are also on board as new educators at this year’s convention providing insight on a variety of current events and updates in the area of concrete and its impact on business and society.

This convention also has its fair share of exciting events. A silent and live auction will be held on January 18, 2023. Items up for auction include not only equipment and supplies relevant to the concrete world, but also vacation packages and electronics like televisions and computers. This auction funds many Construction Industry Management programs at public universities across the country.

The Weatherington Award Presentation Competition will take place on January 16, 2023. This competition allows three students from each Construction Industry Management Program to make a presentation reflecting the individual student’s experiences in research activities and coursework and how those lessons learned will impact their careers in the concrete industry. The winner will receive recognition as the award winner and will also receive a $2,500 scholarship award.

One can’t-miss event is the 2023 Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 World Championship, taking place January 18, 2023. This lively event sees skilled masonry apprentices, block layers, and world-class brick layers go head to head to win bragging rights as the World’s Best Bricklayer. Also up for grabs for the winner who displays the perfect combination of skill, speed and stamina is a prize package worth over $125,000.

The best part of World of Concrete 2023 will be all of the exhibitors on display. This is a wonderful opportunity to network with concrete industry leaders from around the country to showcase products, generate valuable leads, and boost sales.

Make sure to stop by the U.S. SAWS booth. You will be able to find us at the South Hall, Booth S11307. We will also be doing demonstrations in the Silver Lot, Booth O31658 where you can see us in action with our Mark-III Dust Buggy, Ultra Vac 1250G, One Man Polymer Pump and MC-45.

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