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Laser Dicing of PCD/PcBN discs into small blanks

Lasers can be used to ‘dice’  large discs of PCD and some types of PcBN into smaller pieces or to pre-shape edges in place of rough grinding.


The LD2 laser is manufactured by Coborn Engineering in the UK and is specifically designed to cut mother discs of PCD into smaller pieces. It can also be used to cut plates of cemented tungsten carbide and some grades of PcBN. Typically, 1.6mm PCD can be cut at a speed of approximately 80-100m/min. This is approx 30 times faster than wire cutting.


The machine accepts "dxf" drawing files directly. If required the machine can be fitted with a Fanuc controller instead of the standard controller.

The laser easily evaporates the PCD layer but the carbide substrate is more difficult to cut. For this reason the laser is gas assisted using nitrogen. This gas jet ensures the molten cobalt in the carbide substrate does solidify in the cut zone. Without the gas the pieces would simply weld back together. 
 
 
 
 
The Laser Head & Work Table

The laser itself sits on a granite base and the beam passes to the laser head situated inside the working chamber. The CNC controlled work table is fitted with 4 collets to hold the discs to be cut. Spacer rings allow discs of different diameters to be held. Other work tables can be produced to special order. 
The X Y sides are pressurized against ingress of dust. Timers on the door interlocks prevent the chamber being opened before the dust has been extracted from the chamber into a very high performance filter.
The Cut Disc

The cut width (kerf) is approx 100 microns. This is much narrower than achieved by wire cutting which is typically 350 microns. The result - about 10% higher yield of PCD pieces from a mother disc. 

Another advantage is that the disc stays in one piece after cutting. The pieces can then be separated by breaking out the pieces as required. The pieces should then be cleaned before brazing by shot blasting. 
Cutting other materials

The LD2 laser is able to cut cemented carbide plates at similar high speeds as cutting carbide backed PCD. It is most useful when cutting deep profiles as used in the woodworking industry. 

Lasers for cutting PcBN

PcBN has a lower thermal conductivity than PCD and the lasers used for rapidly dicing PCD are usually unsuitable as they can produce thermal shock and thus introduce cracks into many types of PcBN, especially those which contain a low cBN content (finishing grades of PcBN). 

However, special lasers are available for processing low cBN content PcBN and the reader is asked to contact us for further details.  
 
 

                                    Contact peter.heath@qs-diamondtechnology.com for further details.