What is best for cutting metal or ductile iron? We have been in the diamond blade business for over 10 years. In that time, we have literally been asked every question under the sun for the best practices on cutting metal. Ductile pipe is the most common material being cut by standard 14″ diamond blades or abrasives on gas cut off saws. Your two options are ductile iron cutting diamond blades, and abrasive wheels. The best option for cutting ductile pipe or any kind of metal? Depends on who you ask. Below we review some pros and cons of each.
MAIN FACTS TO CONSIDER
- Safety – Abrasive wheels are made up of carbide and are extremely thin. This can result in breaking of the abrasive disc. Ductile iron diamond blades are made of steel, this makes it extremely unlikely that the blade will break
- Dust Production & Sparks – Abrasives and the way they are made produce hazardous dust during operation. There is simply no way to eliminate this debris. Diamond blades for metal cutting produce very little, if any dust. Also, abrasive wheels produce about double the amount of sparks as diamond blades.
- Abrasive wheels are built to cut quick and burn quick. Tests have shown that you can use up to 200 abrasives before you burn one quality ductile iron diamond blade. Essentially, this could cost you $1600 instead of spending as low as $160 on a good quality ductile blade. Those numbers are pretty shocking
- The one thing that crews love about abrasive wheels is the speed of cut. When first put on a saw, the speed really is unmatched. However, there is just too much down time cycling through abrasives and have to stop cutting
Overall, it is not even close, ductile iron diamond blades benefits outweigh good abrasive wheels by a landslide. There is a case to be made for the speed of abrasive wheels, but when considering savings, cost per cut, durability and safety, ductile blades are the choice.