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Laser Machining of Diamond Tools

Artificial diamond cutting tools are replacing tungsten carbide and ceramic composites where high quality surface finishes are required. Only laser technologies are capable of machining such materials, which are (like some ceramics) as hard as natural diamonds. 

By Nitin Shankar

The article details on how the Laser MicroJet® (LMJ) technology delivers better performance than traditional dry lasers in machining such materials.

There is a revolution taking place in the cutting tool industry. Polycrystalline diamond (PCD) and monocrystalline diamond (MCD) cutting tools are finding increasing use in aerospace and automotive applications. For one thing, a PCD tool has a life about 50 to 100 times longer than a ceramic tool. For another, a PCD tool can machine an aluminium alloy piston to a surface finish of within 0.4 µm. A MCD tool has a life about 10 times longer than a PCD tool and can deliver optical grade surface finish to within 0.15 µm. Such performance eliminates the need for grinding and results in manufacturing efficiencies. Presently, laser technologies are best suited to machining such ultra-hard materials. Synova’s patented LMJ process is capable of precision laser machining without any heat damage from a 10,000°C laser beam. 

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