Diamonds are one of the hardest materials found naturally on of earth, therefore for centuries they have been used to make various tools that are required for tough jobs. diamond drilling is one of such techniques that help make drilling through tough materials easy and efficient. This particular technique of drilling has been in use in the mining sector for mineral exploration for ages.
The technique of diamond drilling has also been used in the construction industry, where it helped to make holes of different sizes in concrete and other hardy structures such as brickwork frameworks. This technique has proven to be a cost-effective way of drilling through structures or ground.
It is also considered to be one of the cleanest ground-clearing techniques. It generates relatively little noise, debris and dust compared to other methods of drilling. This, in return, ensures that this method is burst-free and will likely not require any patch-work after the job is complete.
But how does it work?
Diamond drills are usually a diamond tipped drilling bit on the end of a hollow shaft or tube. The job of the hollow shaft is to pump water to the bit for lubrication and cooling purposes. The drill waste can also be cleared via the hollow shaft with the help of a suction system.
There are usually two types of diamond drill bits – bonded diamond bits and coated diamond bits. There is only one difference between these two types of drill bits – the coated drill bits have only one layer of diamonds, whereas the bonded diamond bits have more than a few layers of diamonds. As a result, bonded bits cost significantly more than coated bits, but have a longer life span and better durability.
Why choose diamond drilling?
As mentioned earlier, diamond is one of the sturdiest materials known to mankind, and so it can drill through almost every type of surface. Diamond possesses the ability of grinding away materials on Nano or micro level. Diamond drills cut through surfaces that other materials such as carbide, high speed steel and conventional types of abrasives cannot.
Compared to other drilling materials, diamond cuts faster, provides a smoother finish, delivers higher performance and consistency and yields lower cost per part. There’s really no comparison to the effectiveness that can be achieved using diamond drilling techniques, compared to other methods.
Diamond grinds materials on a micro level, whereas, other materials, like carbide and high performance steel, require a sharp cutting edge. This difference provides diamond drilling an upper hand relative to other drilling materials. Moreover, diamond drills offer various holes that range from 6mm in diameter to 1200 mm in diameter. Therefore, it is the best suited tool for almost every kind of drilling project.
Types of Diamond Drills
Although diamond drill bits come in various shapes and sizes, there are primarily two types of tips – solid tip drill bits and hollow core drill bits.
The solid drill tip has diamonds attached on the tip, as well as the sides. This bit tip style is perfect for drilling a complete hole proportionate to the size of the tip. These tips are generally used on glass, soft stones, jewelry, or sea shells.
The core drills, also known as hole saws, grind or saw a circle to form a hole or opening. The diamonds are placed along the edges of the bit tip and slightly up to the side of the hollow tip.
The core drill bit grinds a circle at the edge of the tip, rather than grinding a circle according the full diameter of the tip. These tips drill faster than the solid ones. They can be used for drilling large holes and are best suitable for most non-ferrous hard materials such as marble, slate, limestone, granite, porcelain, ceramic, fiberglass and stained glass.
Benefits of Diamond Drilling
Since diamond is one of the hardest materials founded on earth naturally, diamond drilling is the most versatile technique for drilling openings through different materials. There are several benefits of using this technique over other drilling techniques and are listed as follows:
- Diamond drills are available in various sizes and shapes. You simply can’t match the versatility that is offered by diamond drills – they can be used to drill holes for most projects and can do so efficiently and with an unparalleled precision.
- Creates little noise. Of course, little noise is a relative term, but compared to some of the other forms of drilling, diamond drills make significantly less sound and thus are a great choice for reducing noise pollution.
- Produces little dust. Because of the efficient drilling possible with diamond drills, as well as the lubrication method offered by consistent water pumping, the process is very clean and produces little dust that could be hazardous to the environment or the workers involved.
- It is effective and time saving. There’s simply no match to the efficiency and pace that diamond drilling can accomplish even the most complex drilling tasks – there’s simply no better material than diamond to handle drilling.
- Diamond drilling can be done remotely. It’s actually possible to do diamond drilling works from a remote location, ensuring complete safety of everyone involved.
- Provides superior precision. Because of the unmatched strength and durability of diamond drills, they can go through any material with a precision that would simply not be possible without them.
- Does not require a lot of effort from the operator. Because the process can be largely automated, it is not only completely safe, but also does not require much physical effort, ensuring even better results and minimizing the risks of errors.
- Cost effective drilling process. Because of the potential for drilling speed and accuracy, diamond drilling is ultimately a very cost effective way to do quality drilling.
Uses for Diamond Drilling
Because diamond drills have noteworthy advantages over other methods of drilling, the uses for them are countless. Diamond drilling bits are used in drilling holes through tough concrete and brickwork surfaces to install electrical or ducting cabling. It allows for convenient boring through earth because the underlying rocks offer no threat to diamonds. Besides, the obstacle encountered in the process of drilling can easily be removed by vacuuming it out through the hollow shaft.
Bursting also incorporates the uses of diamond drill bits for drilling a series of pilot holes in stone, brick and concrete scheduled for demolition. The precision, toughness and small size makes diamond drill bits the ideal tools for crafting jewelry.
Therefore, diamond drills are best suited for drilling through hard materials. Softer materials like wood and metal are not suitable for Diamond drilling and thus, for these materials, conventional drilling should be carried out.
Diamond Drilling Techniques
There are various types of diamond drilling tools and equipment. All of them are lightweight and portable and can be easily used in dry and wet areas for drilling purposes. The types of diamond drill machines include electric drilling machines, pneumatic drilling machines and hydraulic drilling machines.
Electric Drilling Machines:
- Hand Held Electric Drilling Machines;
- Hand Held Electric Mini;
- Hand Held and Rig Mounted Electric.
Pneumatic Drilling Machines:
- Rig Mounted Pneumatic Machine;
- Hand Held Pneumatic Machine.
Hydraulic Drilling Machines:
- Rig Mounted Hydraulic Machine;
- Hand Held Hydraulic Machine.
It is to be noted that the best diamond drilling technique for a specific situation is the one which incorporates drill speed, drill pressure and drill lubrication proportionately. They must work together to allow for effective drilling without overheating.
Each material has different drilling approaches depending on the situation, but the information regarding recommended drill speed and pressure for different materials can be easily found online. Lubrication is a must for the drills’ durability and efficient function. The general rule is the smaller the diameter of the drill bit, the faster is the drill speed. For harder materials, one should always use slower drill speed.
This article is written and submitted by Matthew Funnell, who works with Supercut (WA) Pty Ltd, a privately owned concrete cutting and core drilling company serving Western Australia for 20 years.