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Sawing/Cutting

Blades and cranes

By Lisa Rummler

Providing Cut Master bands to Cleveland Tramrail and New Wave bands to Gorbel just scratches the surface of Diamond Saw Works

Originally known as Diamond Stamping and Saw Works and based in Buffalo, N.Y., the company now called Diamond Saw Works Inc., Chaffee, N.Y., was founded in 1890. Its initial products included a power hacksaw machine that ran off a line shaft--one that went down the center of the building, powered by an engine or machine, from which all other equipment was powered. Needless to say, things have changed.

Another part of the company’s legacy survives, however: the varied-pitch tooth design. Diamond Saw Works developed this industry standard (the patents ran out in the early 1970s).

But its first blades weren’t of this design. Their pitch didn’t change gradually. The company soon modified its blades so that they resembled the broaching tool the company developed in the late 1930s, which did have a varied-pitch tooth design.

"Our first [varied-pitch blade] was a 12/8, and it changed abruptly," says Brian Clark, regional sales manager. "Then they did some more work on it and said, ‘Nope, we’re going to make this a gradual change.’ It presents more angles and corners to the work piece as you’re cutting through rather than if you just had a straight six-teeth-per-inch, for example, and all the teeth were set the same amount off-center.

"As you’re plowing through there, you’re hitting the exact same angles all the way through. With this, while the teeth are set off from the center at the same amount--X number of thousandths left or right--the taller teeth are tipped over maybe not as far, and the shorter, closer-set teeth are tipped over a little farther, so the angle at which the tooth meets the work varies. Hence, varied pitch. It just makes it cut nicer, smoother and faster."

No exception to the rule
Diamond Saw Works’ products are no exception to the varied-pitch industry standard; both its Cut Master and New Wave band saw blades have a varied-pitch design.

The former is unique in that it doesn’t have a regular raker-type tooth set, says Clark. Rather, the Cut Master has a modified progressive tooth set, which means the teeth on the band saw blade start to go out on the center line, going toward the left, but after about three teeth, they go back to the center line and then go out the other way.

"It’s designed for larger structural shapes: I beams, H beams and maybe some thick-walled tubing," says Clark. "The idea is that it gives you a nicer finish than a standard type of raker set. The other benefit would be that [with] its modified tooth design, each tooth, to an extent, protects the tooth behind it. "You’ve got that piece of steel in there, an I beam, for example, or any irregular shape, and the teeth are going in and out of the work piece--you’re cutting a piece of steel, and it’s going through the air for a little bit, then it’s hitting back into another piece of steel. When you have a regular type of raker set, those multiple impacts within one pass through the material can lead to knocking a tooth off or stripping a tooth off."

Clark says that once this happens, the teeth behind the affected tooth are hit harder and will likely be knocked off or stripped, setting off a chain reaction that ultimately leads to a shorter life span. The modified design reduces this phenomenon.

"The idea with this group set is that [the tooth is] set out just a little bit, and it protects the one behind it, ultimately reaching the full kerf width and thereby hopefully not stripping teeth because the impacts are blunted a bit," he says.

Similarities and differences
The Cut Master, which has an M42 blade, is geared toward heavier pieces of steel and other material than the New Wave, thus, it’s available in sizes from 1 in. wide and 0.035 in. thick, whereas the New Wave starts out at 1/4 in. wide and 0.025 in. thick. Additionally, the Cut Master has a tooth-per-inch count of 4/3 or 6/4, depending on the size of the blade. The New Wave’s tooth-per-inch count varies from 8/5 to 18/14.

One thing the Cut Master and New Wave have in common is that both band saw blades are designed for longer tool life and to be more forgiving.

"Joe Operator can come along and make a cut, and you’re not going to as readily strip teeth or crash the band because of the tooth design and the set arrangement," says Clark.

Although he’s unsure as to exactly when Diamond Saw Works started carrying the Cut Master and New Wave band saw blades, Clark says the products were available in 1996 and hit the company catalog as stand-alone products in about 2001.

Cut Master in action
Cleveland Tramrail, Fishers, N.Y., a product line of Gorbel Inc., has been using the Cut Master for about five years, says Robbie George, manufacturing foreman for Gorbel Cleveland Tramrail. Both companies are OEM overhead crane manufacturers, but the Cleveland Tramrail product is underhung, whereas the main product for Gorbel is a workstation crane.

Six years ago, Gorbel, which was founded in 1977, purchased the assets of Cleveland Tramrail, which was founded in 1919. Gorbel has about 225 employees, and it has a plant in Alabama and in China, as well as the Cleveland Tramrail factory in New York.

Cleveland Tramrail uses the Cut Master on everything it manufactures because it’s the main production band saw blade that cuts Tarca beam, the material the company uses to make all the cranes in the Tramrail line. George says it’s a fabricated beam that has both high- and low-carbon material.

George was introduced to Cut Master through the company’s supplier, who was looking to give Cleveland Tramrail alternative blades. The Cut Master’s affordability sparked George’s interest, and in a side-by-side comparison with the blades Cleveland Tramrail had been using, the Cut Master performed better.

Additionally, the Cut Master has a longer life span than the former blades, which had to be replaced every two to three weeks. George says he runs one 28-ft.-10-in.-long Cut Master blade about every four weeks and gets 500-plus cuts per blade.

"Because of the longer life span, we’re having fewer changes on the saw, which is resulting in more Tarca beams being cut per shift and per day," says George. "With the fewer changes that we have for the blades, the saw is running more. It’s definitely increased productivity and reduced bottlenecks."

He also says the Cut Master produces good, square cuts every time and that the blades run quietly, which benefits everyone on the factory floor. And beyond the band saw blades, Cleveland Tramrail has enjoyed Diamond Saw Works’ reliability and proximity--the two companies are about two hours from each other--during the time they’ve done business.

"We’ve had good-quality blades from them," says George. "Plus, they’re reliable, and it’s quick delivery for us because they’re right here in New York." FFJ

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