Tools of the Trade! – Diamond Cutoff Wheels


I am always looking for better and safer ways to do things. I came across these Diamond 4.5″ metal cutting wheels and thought I would try them out. Read more to see how they performed!

Some of the things that I truly hate about cutoff wheels is they don’t last very long and they often explode if you get them in a bind. They also throw out clouds of hazardous to your lungs materials like aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and ceramic grains according to Wikipedia (gross!).

Now that I have had a chance to use one of these diamond cutoff wheels pretty extensively I gotta say they are….Awesome! I made a good 15 cuts the other day just rocking through them and put almost no wear on the blade.

Safety Concerns

As always, safety first. Please wear appropriate attire while using tools in the shop. I have another post about Home Metal Fabrication Safety Gear you can read after you are done here.

Pros

  • Lasts way longer than an abrasive cutoff wheel (Lenox claims 1,000+ cuts)
  • No more exploding cutoff wheels! (this happens way too often to me)
  • The blade doesn’t change diameter as it wears
  • Less abrasive fiber dust in the air from the disk (safer!)
  • Can be used for steel, sheet metal, stainless steel, rebar, cast iron, aluminum, and non-ferrous metals

Cons

  • The metal blade gets hot
  • The blade is metal and will bend if abused or the grinder is dropped
  • On thicker stock the blade will leave some dross/burr that needs cleaned up/ground off
  • The metal wheel seems to be louder than normal cutoff wheels

In use

One of my recent projects was fixing the front differential pinion mount on my project ‘PJ’ Suzuki Vitara. For this project I had to make a bunch of cuts including the broken part of the mount pictured below. The diamond blade also made quick work of a bunch of square stock and bolts that I had to cut off.

Diamond Cutoff Wheel Lenox MetalMax
The diamond wheels work great for repetitive stock cutting without having to change the blade every 20 or so cuts.
Diamond Cutoff Wheel Lenox MetalMax
Used the diamond metal cutoff wheel to cut the remnants of the broken aluminum mount from my Suzuki Vitara front differential when I was fixing it.
Vitara Tracker DIY Front Differential Pinion Mount Fix
What it looked like after the initial cut with the diamond cutoff wheel. Got a pretty clean cut and it just zipped it right off quickly with no binding.

Safety Tip – NEVER store a grinder with a grinding/cutting wheel on it. The blade can easily be damaged in storage without you noticing then the next time you pull it out and turn the grinder on a damaged wheel could EXPLODE!

Applications

I only have a handful of 4.5″ angle grinder diamond blades for now, but they are available in a variety of sizes from 1.5″ all the way up to 14″ according to the Lenox website. I would consider in the future picking up a 7″ blade for my circular saw for longer sheetmetal cuts.

Conclusion

I don’t think this blade necessarily totally replaces abrasive cutoff wheels in the shop, but I do think it is a good performing and safer alternative in most situations. Different tools have their pros and cons, that is why there are so many types and brands. In this case I bought a couple of these diamond wheels, but haven’t been able to wear out out the first one yet!

Now YOU, go out and cut something up!

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