How are diamond tools made?

tracy hall the inventor of the synthetic diamond

History

The history of Diamond tools goes back further than you think. “One of the earliest¬†diamond-cutting industries is believed to have been in Venice, a trade capital, starting sometime after 1330. Diamond cutting may have arrived in Paris by the late 14th century; for Bruges — on the diamond trade route — there is the documentation for the technique in 1465.”

Synthetic diamonds were first made by Tracy Hall on December 16, 1954. A quote from Tracy is below.

“I attempted many hundreds of indirect . . . approaches over a period of about a year but to no avail, and I was becoming discouraged. Then, one wintry morning, I broke open the sample cell after removing it from the Belt. It cleaved near a tantalum disk used to bring in current for resistance heating. My hands began to tremble; my heart beat rapidly; my knees weakened and no longer gave support. My eyes had caught the flashing light from dozens of tiny triangular faces of octahedral crystals that were stuck to the tantalum and I knew that diamonds had finally been made by man. After I had regained my composure, I examined the crystals under a microscope. The largest, about 150 microns across, contained triangular etch and growth pits such as I had observed on natural diamonds. The crystals scratched sapphire and other hard substances, burned in oxygen to give carbon dioxide and had the density and refractive index of a natural diamond. A few days later, an x-ray diffraction pattern unequivocally identified the crystals as a diamond.” Gems Made by Man. Gemological Institute of America, Copyright 1980.

Diamond blade very macro

Diamond tools are made from carbon and placed under a huge amount of heat and PSI pressure.

China

Most diamond tools are made in China. Husqvarna does make some diamond tools in the USA and Bulgaria.

There are hundreds of businesses in China that make the concrete grinding shoe. however, they do not make the synthetic diamond.

A concrete grinding shoe factory will typically purchase the diamond particles. The larger the particle the lower the grit.

They then mix the diamond particle with a metal oxide. The metal oxide is a metal powder. Once it is mixed evenly together they will place the mixture into a mold the shape of the segment. They heat it up to 700 degrees Celcius to melt the metal oxide around the diamond particles. The segment is now made.

They will then braze the segment(s) onto a grinding shoe. The grinding shoe shape will depend on the brand of machine that it will fit onto. Husqvarna has a shoe shape called Redi Lock and HTC Floor Systems has a shape called EzChange.

Brazing

The segments are brazed onto the shoe with an induction welder. The induction creates a head similar to a convection stovetop and then the segment and shoe become red hot and between both, they have silver solder. The silver solder melts first and adhered to the grinding segment to the grinding shoe.

As materials are cheaper in China it seems that it would not be viable to make the segments in Australia. If anyone knows of businesses that do make their own segments in Australia, please let me know so I can update this article and promote their Australian manufacturing business.

References:

http://trishjax.tripod.com/id23.htm

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2015/06/10-bonus-h-tracy-hall-invention-synthetic-diamond/

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