Lenox MetalMax Diamond Blades
Bonded abrasive cutting discs have long occupied a prime position amongst the tools available for cutting through metal but they are not without their downsides. The first and most important problem is that they can be extremely hazardous. Because they are relatively fragile, they are prone to breaking apart, especially if they have been dropped, damaged or exposed to water. If a disc bursts while in use it flings potentially lethal shrapnel into the immediate area, an alarming situation for the tool operator and anyone else in the vicinity. Because of this it is important to store and transport them appropriately, and to dispose of any that become damaged. As the materials in them degrade over time, abrasive cutting discs also have a use by date printed on them, beyond which they should not be used. Another problem is that the disc wears away around the perimeter, gradually shrinking in diameter until it needs replacement, with the result that the available depth of cut decreases as the tool is used.
Despite these factors, abrasive discs remain an everyday essential for cutting metal with angle grinders. Firstly, they are cheap, fast and effective. Secondly, there isn’t really any alternative….is there? Well, yes, there is! The new Lenox MetalMax blade is something of a unusual product in that it is a diamond blade designed specifically for metals (including steel, sheet metal, stainless steel, rebar, cast iron, aluminum and non-ferrous metals). Intended as a direct replacement for abrasive discs, these blades can be installed on regular grinders or cut-off saws without needing to make any adjustments to tool speed or operating procedures. As they are made from solid, diamond encrusted steel, they don’t wear down and will maintain the same diameter throughout their lifetime – a lifetime which should be considerably longer than standard abrasives. Lenox claim that a typical MetalMax blade will last for over 1,000 cuts, giving it a lifetime approximately 30 times that of an abrasive disc. The solid steel body provides a reassuring safeguard against breakages, and, as it does not wear down, produces no grinding dust other than that from the metal being cut.
So, to summarize the key advantages of the MetalMax range:
- 1. Safety. Much less chance of hazardous breakage during use.
- 2. Consistency. Blade retains the same diameter throughout its lifetime.
- 3. Longevity. Fewer disc changes. No use by date.
- 4. Reduced Dust. Cleaner working environment.
- 5. Durability. Less susceptible to damage.
As you might expect, there are a couple of cons to balance out the pros. Firstly, most users report a decrease in cutting speed when compared to abrasive discs, and secondly MetalMax blades will set you back a bit more. That’s not to say they’re particularly expensive – you can pick up a 125mm blade for about £15 currently. And if you can indeed get 30 times more lifetime out of it, you’d have to be buying abrasive discs for less than 50p each to beat that.
Have you tried out any blades from the new MetalMax range? Let us know your thoughts!
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