Tag Archives: Abrasive Blades

From the Archives: How Does a Diamond Blade or Diamond Grinder Differ from an Abrasive Blade or Abrasive Grinder?

How Does a Diamond Blade or Diamond Grinder Differ from an Abrasive Blade or Abrasive Grinder?

This article is from our archives. Let us know in the comments section if you found it helpful or interesting!

A diamond blade or diamond grinder differs from an abrasive blade or abrasive grinder in its construction. This may not sound like an important difference, but it can affect both your health and your safety.

An abrasive blade or abrasive grinder has extremely hard materials like silicon carbide and/or aluminum oxide bonded with resin and mesh into a disc. When spun at high speed, these hard materials wear away the material being worked, producing a ground surface or a cut.

This kind of construction has several disadvantages: it wears away quickly, grinds or cuts slowly and produces massive amounts of sparks during grinding or cutting. More importantly, an abrasive grinder or abrasive blade can threaten your life and your health.

An abrasive blade or abrasive grinder can endanger your life because it can shatter during grinding or cutting and spray you with fragments that can injure or even kill you. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has numerous reports of injuries and deaths caused by shattering abrasives. You can view some of these reports here, here, herehere, here, here, here, and here.

An abrasive grinder or abrasive blade can also endanger your health because it emits silicon carbide fibers during grinding or cutting. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, silicon carbide can cause a chronic lung disease called pneumoconiosis with long-term exposure, and there’s limited evidence that silicon carbide can cause lung cancer, at least in animals (PDF). Additionally, silicon carbide workers have reported increased mortality from asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumoconiosis, and lung cancer, according to OSHA.

A diamond blade or diamond grinder, on the other hand, has diamond particles attached to a steel core. Because it’s made of steel, a diamond grinder or diamond blade is generally safer than an abrasive grinder or abrasive blade and won’t shatter or emit silicon carbide fibers during cutting and grinding.

Keep in mind, however, that not all diamond blades are the same! A common kind of diamond blade has diamond cutting segments welded onto a steel core. These welds can soften and break during extended cutting. If they do, the segments can fly off and strike the operator, causing injury or death like an abrasive blade.

For this reason, you’ll want to avoid using a welded diamond blade and use a solid steel diamond blade or diamond grinder. A solid steel diamond grinder or diamond blade might bend during cutting, but it won’t break, increasing your safety. After all, you deserve to go home at the end of the day, instead of the emergency room or the morgue.

For more information, visit our FAQ page.

Works Cited after the break.

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OSHA Standards on Beveling Pipe Ends

Safety Articles from Desert Diamond IndustriesShould you save time by beveling pipe ends with the blade of your handheld saw instead of a grinder? According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), that depends.

This 2010 letter by Bill Parsons, then-Acting Director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, says that you can’t bevel with the side of a saw blade unless the blade is designed for it. That’s because beveling is considered to be “side-grinding” – that is, cutting perpendicular to the blade’s cutting edge – which is covered under ANSI B7.1-1970: “9.9 Side Grinding. Side grinding shall only be performed with wheels designed for this purpose.”

That’s the legal reason why you shouldn’t bevel pipe ends with abrasive and welded blades.

The practical reason is because beveling can break these kinds of blades. Neither kind of blade is designed for the lateral pressures of beveling or side-grinding. These pressures can shatter abrasives and break the welds holding the cutting segments on welded blades, creating shrapnel that can injure or kill the saw operator.

However, you can still bevel pipe with your saw blade. You just need “wheels designed for this purpose”, like Ductile Iron Safety Blades. It doesn’t matter whether you use Ductile Iron Safety Blades for cutting or beveling because they’re made of solid steel, so they  won’t break or shatter.

OSHA, “07/22/2010 – Hand-held gas-powered cut-off saws.

The Dangers of Shattering Abrasive Blades, from WorkSafeBC

Safety Articles from Desert Diamond Industries

It may seem like we harp on the dangers of abrasive blades and grinders here, but it’s for a good reason: the things can kill you.

To hammer that point home, we’re featuring this safety video on abrasive angle grinder blades from WorkSafeBC today on the blog. It has plenty of tips on how to use abrasive blades safely, but it also shows – pretty effectively, we think – the consequences of shattering abrasive blades.

We think the risks that abrasive blades pose are too great, not matter what precautions you take. We recommend that you cut with diamond blades instead. After all, why take any chances?

WARNING: This video contains graphic content.

I Angle Grinded My Head in Half, or THIS Is Why You Don’t Use Abrasive Blades (Part 2)

Safety Articles from Desert Diamond IndustriesYesterday, we promised you Part 2 of Frank Morrison’s violent encounter with a broken abrasive blade, so here it is. We should warn you, this video gets pretty graphic around 1:17. If you’re not a firefighter or emergency worker, you might want to watch it on an empty stomach.

Spoiler Alert: Morrison survived the accident, but it cost him an eye. He was one of the lucky ones, though. Shattering abrasive blades and grinders have killed their operators. That’s why we keep telling you to stop using abrasives and start using solid steel blades, like the Ductile Iron Safety Blade (up to 14″).

Thanks once again to Great Britain’s Bizarre ER.

Remember, we’ll be exhibiting the Ductile Iron Safety Blade, Ductile Iron Ring Saw Safety Blade and Carbide Chunk Blade in Booth 3087 at the American Water Works Association‘s ACE13 conference in Denver, CO from June 9 to 12! See our press release for details.

I Angle Grinded My Head in Half, or THIS Is Why You Don’t Use Abrasive Blades (Part 1)

Safety Articles from Desert Diamond IndustriesIf you ever needed a reason not to use diamond blades, look no further than Great Britain’s Bizarre ER. Their segment I Angle Grinded My Head in Half documents the 2008 angle grinder accident of Frank Morrison, who was struck in the face after his blade exploded.

The narrator calls the blade used by Morrison during the accident a “metal blade”. However, she also says that it “exploded”, which leads us to believe that he used an abrasive blade during this accident. (Not only that, but he has an abrasive blade mounted on his grinder in this video)

We should warn you that this video gets pretty gruesome around 2:21 or so. But then, things can get gruesome when you use abrasives instead of solid steel blades, like the Ductile Iron Safety Blade (up to 14″). Abrasives can and do shatter like this, and not everyone struck by them is as lucky as Morrison.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Remember, we’ll be exhibiting the Ductile Iron Safety Blade, Ductile Iron Ring Saw Safety Blade and Carbide Chunk Blade in Booth 3087 at the American Water Works Association‘s ACE13 conference in Denver, CO from June 9 to 12! See our press release for details.