There's a lot of buzz about synthetic diamonds in dressing tools, and for good reason. These synthetic alternatives perform well, and to the naked eye, they look a lot like real diamonds. Understanding how these synthetic versions are made, and how they perform vs. natural diamonds, is essential for choosing and maintaining the best stationary dressing tools.
There are two popular types of synthetic stones used in dressing tools: monocrystalline diamonds and CVD diamonds. There are slight distinctions between the two, mainly in terms of how they are manufactured.
"Mono" means "single," and it aptly applies in this case, because this type of synthetic stone is created from a single crystal. The crystal is placed into a container, and it grows into a diamond lookalike that has a greenish-yellow color. This coloring makes the diamonds easy to identify. Due to their excellent durability, monocrystalline diamonds are a top choice for use in dressing tools. However, these diamonds tend to be more on the expensive side because of their premium quality.
Chemical vapor deposition diamonds are practically created out of thin air. These diamonds are created from a chemical vapor, usually containing carbon, hydrogen and methane, are deposited on a surface to grow in controlled conditions. You can easily identify these synthetic diamonds by their black color.
Using Synthetic Diamonds
Synthetic diamonds are used in the same ways as natural diamonds. Synthetic stones are cut into specific shapes and are designed to work seamlessly in dressing tools. In most ways, their performance is identical to natural diamonds. However, they do have a greater tendency to overheat if used improperly. Putting too much pressure on your tools can cause man-made diamonds to grow soft and wear out quickly. To avoid this problem, make sure you keep an eye on your tools to avoid overburdening them, and follow all instructions for taking care of the tools.
So why use synthetic diamonds at all? Saint-Gobain engineers have found three good reasons.
1. They offer more flexibility than natural diamonds.
One of the great things about synthetic diamonds is that they come in a wide variety of close tolerance shapes and sizes. You are no longer limited to the same old five diamond shapes that are as familiar to you as the back of your hand.
2. You can count on the composition quality of synthetics.
Nature pays no mind to consistency when creating natural diamonds, but lab-created diamonds don't have this problem. In fact, they are grown in tightly controlled conditions, and this extra attention to detail keeps them free of those little imperfections that natural stones inevitably have. This high level of consistency means that there's no need for standard quality ratings. All synthetic diamonds are of high quality.
3. They are much longer, which is a good thing for abrasive wheels.
There's no competition when it comes to the length of synthetic diamond logs. Synthetic stones are bigger, and they continue to condition tool wheels long after natural elongated stones wear out. Additionally, using synthetic stones helps you avoid the hassle of having to stop what you're doing and rotate your tools.
Synthetic diamond tools can make your task a whole lot easier in many situations. However, it's important to remember that in some instances, you'll want to stick with the traditional natural diamond tools. Some stationary tool dressing applications yield better results using real diamonds. However, synthetic tools allow you to improve wheel-conditioning consistency during truing and dressing, which is why the buzz about synthetic diamonds is going to continue to grow throughout North America.