Posted by Monday, September 17th, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

As we were testing (playing with) the Jack of ALL Blades™, we naturally began to wonder about the potential uses for this kind of diamond grinding wheel. Two specific factors helped to drive the idea of using this blade for rescue work:

  1. My brother is a local fireman who is involved with the rescue unit in central Ohio
  2. The earthquake that devastated Haiti occurred while we were developing this blade and we couldn’t help but think it could be useful for rescue teams to be able to quickly cut through rubble made of a variety of construction materials including concrete, rebar, other metals, wood, etc.

In an effort to test this blade for rescue conditions, I made a few molds and used them to make concrete blocks with rebar running through them.  I contacted my brother to see if we could go to the junkyard with the local firemen while they were training and cut on cars & school buses… yeah it was fun!

Through this “real world” rescue & construction type testing we learned a few things:

  • this type of blade can dry cut concrete very rapidly, and it lasts quite awhile cutting only concrete.
  • it cuts automotive glass very effectively with almost no wear on the blade.  We also learned that it will cut steel pretty well, but it dramatically reduced the life of the blade compared to just concrete and other common construction materials.
  • as the blade wears from metal cutting, it degrades the cutting ability of the blade on softer materials like wood.

These lessons led us to another natural progression… how can we make the Jack of All Blades™ cut metal effectively without killing the overall life/effectiveness of the blade for other materials?

Next up, development of a metal (specifically steel) cutting saw blade using man-made diamond superabrasives.  Check back in a week or subscribe to our blog in the box to your right.

If you or someone you love is a First Responder and you think this solution could help, Ask an Engineer  about details regarding the mixed-material cutting solution: Jack of All Blades Now!

Topics: , , , , , , ,


Posted by Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

In the process of remodeling my living room, I ran into an issue where I needed to cut through metal, brick and wood, all at the same time. At the joint where the back wall of the room met up against the fireplace, there was a 2×4 joined to brick with metal straps & screws. The screw heads were so corroded that it wasn’t possible to back them out to remove the board.  The only viable option was to find a way to cut through all three of these materials with the same cut.

It just so happens that I work for Abrasive Technology, a worldwide leader in a variety of superabrasive grinding and cutting products.  That said, we didn’t already have a product to tackle this multi-material,DIY job.  This challenge got my wheels turning.  I decided to talk with a couple of my fellow engineers at work about my idea to make something that could cut all of this stuff at once… the name “Jack of ALL Blades” immediately came to mind.

We discussed the required attributes of a diamond blade capable of cutting a wide variety of materials and settled on testing:

    • a relatively large grit abrasive
    • with a high level of fracture resistance
    • applying our P.B.S. brazing process

The key in this multi-material environment is using a low bond and low concentration of abrasive, while still having enough strength to prevent the abrasive from pulling out in use.  We also used a few other tricks-of-the-trade to increase the toughness of the bond to help maximize life, without reducing the aggressiveness needed to cut the softer materials like wood.

We took our initial ideas, made a couple of test blades, and then did some empirical testing on a variety of materials.  We had success cutting the following:

    • wood
    • concrete
    • brick
    • cinder block
    • nails / screws (in wood)
    • sheet metal (school bus)
    • automotive glass
    • rebar
    • aggregate filled cast fiberglass tubing

Here is the logo I created and a few quick photos I took of the Jack of All Blades.


While it is pretty cool and interesting that we were able to make a working, useful product for this mixed-material cutting challenge, in a very short amount of time (from idea to end product in just days), the point of sharing this information is not really to focus on the end product. The point is that the culture of Abrasive Technology allowed us the freedom to take an idea (one that originated completely outside the context of work) and spend a little bit of time, resources and effort to see what we could come up with.

As one of the founders of our company has stated, “I wanted to create the kind of organization I wanted to work in. The kind of place that doesn’t get in the way of good ideas.”

Creating the Jack of All Blades for home use, got us thinking about what other markets could benefit from this mixed material cutting solution.  Because my brother is a local firefighter, we think this is a perfect tool for rescue crews.  Subscribe in the box on the right to be alerted about the next article I am writing, where I will put the Jack of All Blades to work in a simulated rescue environment!

If you’d like our experts to tackle your grinding and tooling challenges, with an innovative, custom grinding or tooling solution… Ask an Engineer Now!

Topics: , , ,