Fabrication products roundup

May 30, 2002
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Even with all of the advances in stone fabrication machinery, the quality of the end product ultimately relies on the products that actually shape, polish and treat the stone itself. Manufacturers of products for cutting, edging and polishing stone have released a range of new items, and suppliers of stone treatments and adhesives have also introduced new products.

The following is a look at some of the latest products available to the industry:

Edge profiling

Abrasive Technology's Super Edge 4-inch metal bond cup wheels are designed to shape bullnose profiles and calibrate straight edges on both granite and marble. Available in x-coarse, coarse, medium and fine grits, these tools are used on automatic edging machines. They are formulated for a free cutting action to withstand and deliver top performance when used on high machine traverse speed settings. The cup wheels are designed for ultimate performance to prepare the work surface rapidly for easy polishing. The snail lock mount feature allows for fast changes.

Abrasive Technology's new Super Edge 5-Step Polishing System is designed to increase production on C-frame edge polishing machines. The system, based on Abrasive Technology's Super Edge discs, is comprised of two reformulated metal bond cup wheels (coarse and fine), as well as three newly formulated Super Edge resin polishing discs for the third, fourth and fifth steps. The two metal bond cup wheels have been reformulated for free cutting action, enabling faster edge shaping. The system is designed to increase production by decreasing the number of passes required to achieve a polish. With this new 5-step system, the machine will perform 37% faster on an edge compared to conventional systems, Abrasive Technology reports. When using conventional tools, it takes approximately 500 machine passes to shape and polish a bullnosed edge. The new 5-step system performs the same work in 312 passes. The new system also features a 27% savings in diamond costs - $0.23 per completed linear foot compared to $0.31. To take full advantage of the increased performance, users should readjust the operating parameters of their machines, such as miter angles, traverse speed and stops settings. All the tools are snail-lock mounted for quick changeover. A new, thicker 11/32-inch snail-lock backplate for the resin grits is designed to save time by eliminating the need to adjust and lower the hard stop when switching from the metal cup wheels to the resin polishing discs.

Alpha Professional Tools of Wyckoff, NJ, developed the Guide Rail System as a simple and innovative option for use with the Alpha EdgeCrafter. The Alpha Guide Rail System provides stability for the Alpha EdgeCrafter while enabling an easier and more effective polishing operation, the company reports. This system delivers high-quality results comparable to automated line polishing machines at a fraction of the cost, according to Alpha. Available in three common lengths suitable for most edge polishing applications, the system is man-ufactured with premium aluminum for strength and durability. The clamps are hidden within the guide rail and will not interfere with any polishing equipment. In addition, the Alpha Guide Rail System may be utilized with other tools to perform either polishing or cutting applications.

Braxton Bragg has teamed up with Diamant-D of Italy to produce CNC tooling for all CNC machines. With Diamant-D's unique position #2 wheel, it guarantees true shape and better performance for the remaining five wheels, the company reports. Braxton Bragg offers these wheels with both 22-mm and 35-mm bore to accommodate all CNC tool holders. If CNC tool holders have other sizes, Braxton Bragg has adapters to accommodate six other arbor sizes. This makes these tools available for any existing CNC machine at a reasonable cost.

Over the past few years, Consolidated Diamond has continued to grow and increase its product offerings, and it has been de-dicated to producing many custom shapes.

Responding to customers' requests for an intricate shape which could be readily polished, Consolidated Diamond now offers the Double Arcs in a simple 5-step router polish system, which it reports has a graceful detail that has been favorably received by contractors, designers and other clients.

Diamond Productions Canada Ltd.'s profile wheels are designed to grind, shape and polish. These profile wheels provide a complete system to bring the work piece to a final shape and polish, and they are available in all shapes and heights required. Profile wheels come in position #1 segmented for rough shaping and grinding; positions #2 and #3 for final grind-ing and shaping; and positions #4, #5, #6 and #7 for final polishing. Available shapes include full bullnose, demi bullnose, ogee, dupont, bevel and others.

Dongsin North America has started production of heavy-duty Copper Bond diamond polishing discs in three sizes: 3, 4 and 5 inches. The company stocks all diameters in Wayne, NJ. The company reports that the product allows fab-ricators to replace dry abrasives in the fabrication shop, where workers are being exposed to dusty grinding. The product is available in three different grits - 30, 50 and 100 - in a special copper bond, and they are engineered to be extremely aggressive.

Unlike other coarse diamond abrasives, the solid-flexible Copperhead Series is superior in that the copper is bonded throughout, according to Dongsin North America, who reports that some other copper-type discs use resin as a foundation, with a little copper added to help with heat dissipation. The Copperhead series has no pellets that can fly off of the bonded face - insuring long life as well as operator safety. The discs are Velcro backed for fast and secure disc changes.

Ghines has established and patented Starglite, a new line of professional profiling wheels for honing and polishing marble and granite edges into a broad range of profiles.

The patented system "anchors" the diamond strips on soft rubber by means of an innovative vulcanization process and molding the body on an aluminum support.

This new process allows Ghines to produce a tool of high precision and to assure the best possible performances on each kind of machine, the company reports.

These wheels, which were designed to be used on Ghines' Sector portable shape-milling machine, can now be used on a variety of machines, including portable routers, and in particular, computerized edging/polishing machines.

A new diamond edging system from Granite City Tool has been developed for a broad range of portable profiling machines. The system uses solid resin diamond to polish, as opposed to glued-on resin strips that fall off. According to Granite City Tool, the product allows a novice polisher to produce a high-quality edge at a low cost. The product is available with a 2-cm ogee diamond. The eight-part system includes two metal-bonded ogee bits and six resin-bonded ogee bits to go from roughing out the edge to a factory final polish.

Diamond cup wheels from Italdiamant are carefully engineered to ensure optimum polishing or shaping operations. They have also been designed for speed of use, allowing operators to complete high-quality projects in minimal time, Italdiamant reports.

Regent Products and Marmoelettromeccanica USA of Virginia Beach, VA, announce new profiling bit technology. The company now has three lines of profiling bits available to fit any budget and production requirement for portable routers. The Blue Line is a proven bit design with extremely high diamond concentration and long life. This bit features a patented toucher bearing. The Chrome Line is a new approach to controlling the cost per foot of profiling. These bits have a balanced blend of cutting edge diamond technology and economical production for fast cutting, durable performance at competitive prices, according to the company. The Bronze Line is produced with the company's most advanced processes, which result in a fast-cutting wheel that will never lose shape. The technology used to produce this bit allows for very low costs and an extremely quick performance. Fabricators using the Bronze Line can profile 3 feet per minute or more in black granite. Because of the high diamond concentration on the surface, fewer diamonds are required to achieve a superlative performance. By using the Bronze bit as the first pass on the company's profile-to-polish systems, fabricators can increase speed and save money, Regent reports.

Regent Products also offers a seven-step CNC tooling system for all operations from profile to polish. This metal and resin bond diamond system works on almost any machine, according to Regent, including those from Intermac, Brembana and Z.Bavelloni.

The system uses the same industry-proven technology as found in the Master series of profiling and polishing bits, which provides long life and superior results, the company reports. Common profiles and sizes are available in stock, and custom-designed profiles are also available.

Surface polishing

Abrasive Technology's SlabMaster 8-inch system is the company's latest innovation in granite surface polishing. The system is a retooled and modified version of Abrasive Technology's popular 10-inch SlabMaster system, which delivers a consistent and repeatable performance in polishing stone surfaces, including slabs and countertops. The new 8-inch system's smaller size offers little overhang, making it an ideal tool for tough-to-polish granite countertop backsplashes and faucet areas. The SlabMaster 8-inch system is suitable for processing the hardest stone varieties and for polishing small pieces. The system requires less polishing pressure and polishes granite surfaces with optimum speed, Abrasive Technology reports. It has repairable segments and is easy to learn and use. The 8-inch system is available for use on Park Industries' Wizard machine. All other machines utilize the 10-inch system.

Braxton Bragg has released a new product for installers that have to repair scratches or correct mistakes on the jobsite. In the past, the firm points out that the only repair method available was trying to polish these areas using wet pads - a mess and cumbersome process - or using sandpaper. Braxton Bragg offers the Gen X Dry Polishing Pads, which are designed to eliminate the use of water and a tremendous amount of the mess. These pads produce an exceptional polish on granite and marble as well as all other types of stone, the company reports, to the point that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between shop polishing with wet pads and using the Gen X Dry Pads.

Graniflex diamond resin granite polishing pads from Diamond Productions Canada provide a high-quality finish and long life, according to the company. Graniflex pads are formulated for material removal in the coarse grits and a high-gloss finish in the fine grits. The Graniflex discs are flexible for polishing all complex contours. These discs give superior value along with the fine finish and long life, according to Diamond Productions Canada. Graniflex discs can be used on both hand-held and stationary machines. They are available in 4-inch diameter in 50, 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1500 and 3000 grits.

The new Dia-Plus, Dry Flexible Diamond Polishing Pads from Granite City Tool are 4 inches in diameter and were designed to outlast and outperform existing dry pads for polishing granite and marble without water. These pads are very flexible and are great for on-the-job, touch-up polishing when a wet application is not possible. They have Velcro backing to attach to 4-inch backer pads and are available in 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 grits and a black final buff for granite or a white final buff for marble.

The Regent Premium line of products is designed to meet the exacting demands of today's fabrication business by offering high quality at an affordable price. The Premium line of resin polishing pads are 3 mm thick with a high diamond concentration that provides the user with fast, reliable results for the life of the pad, Regent reports. Available in 3-, 4- and 5-inch diameters, these flexible pads are the next generation of polishing technology.

Stone Boss Velcro-Backed Discs are manufactured exclusively by VSM. These discs are manufactured as a heavy-duty, premium sandpaper disc. They are manufactured in Germany using a high-quality black silicon carbide on heavyweight paper. Available with Velcro backing for quick grit changes, these premium discs are particularly suitable for demanding dry grinding tasks as well as wet. VSM discs come in 4- and 5-inch sizes and come in a variety of grits, including a 40-grit variety.

Stone Boss Grinding Wheels are made in the U.S. by Norton Co., the inventors of the grinding wheel. These heavy-duty grinding wheels are produced with the highest quality raw materials and use an interlocking resin bond exclusively designed for Stone Boss Industries. This bond produces longer life and more efficient chip-free cutting, according to the company. They are available in 3-, 4- and 5-inch sizes and grits from 16 to 600.

Cutting/Milling/Drilling

Bonanza Trade and Supply of North Hollywood, CA, has introduced the Ninja Star, a new addition to its full line of diamond blades. The blade features a thermodynamic design with a rigid steel core body with aero cooling holes. This allows the Ninja Star to be used either wet or dry. Ninja Star has a 9.5-mm diamond height, - double the height of regular blades, the company reports - providing longer cutting life for the money. Other new design features include a minimized junction between undercut body segments for a smoother transition between blade and stone. Also, the laser-cut segment slots provide crisp and even cutting characteristics, while also creating a much safer blade for the end user, Bonanza reports, adding that the Ninja Star has been field tested and professionally approved.

Diamax Cyclone contour blades were designed to perform any curved cutting application. These blades were designed with a turbo rim to cut even faster than similar segmented versions. The aggressive diamond matrix located on the inside and outside of the core allows for faster and smoother cutting performance, the company reports. These blades fit on most angle grinders and are used to cut granite and hard marble.

Diamax Cyclone Core Drill Bits were launched after extensive research and development. The segments were engineered to be utilized up to 11,000 rpm and stay sharp. Diamax reports that when running the bits at 11,000 rpm with a center water feed, fabricators can drill holes into 3-cm Imperial Red or Absolute Black granite in well under 60 seconds. At normal rpms, Diamax states that the operation will takes approximately one minute. The Cyclone's short barrel design gives just enough core travel to drill through 2- and 3-cm material, and each core is balanced to give zero vibration. This makes the bit much easier to handle and allows for more precise drilling, the company reports. Also, the segments are dropped into the coring tube itself and then welded to ensure the strongest bond possible. This process prevents the loss of segments.

The Split Segment Granite Silent Core blades from Diamond Productions Canada are engineered to offer fast cutting, a long lifespan and power savings. The split segment design exposes twice the number of cutting points, and the bond and segment height allow for free cutting and long life. These blades, which feature a silent core, are available in all diameters from 12 inches and higher. For special applications, Diamond Productions Canada will design and adapt the segment and bond to the specific demands of the saw, material, amperage and speed. The blades are available in 12-, 14-, 16-, 18-, 20-, 24- and 26-inch diameters, with larger sizes available upon request.

Granite City Tool offers every type of diamond blade for the stone industry from many manufacturers. The company's name brand blades are the Dia-Plus series, imported from Korea, which are engineered with high quality and value in mind. Granite City Tool Co. reports that it has worked and tested these blades with the manufacturer for many years to ensure that they are bonded perfectly for granite and hard stone-cutting applications. The Dia-Plus Stone Tile blade series is bonded for granite and marble tiles, and it also works well on any hard stone, porcelain and glass. These blades have a 10-mm-high kerf, which is twice the thickness as most blades of this type, the company reports. Each size can be used wet or dry, and they are available in 4-, 8-, 10-, 12- and 14-inch sizes.

The Dia-Plus Ultimate Turbo blade was designed for fast cutting and long life on granite and other hard stone materials. It has been tested on many grades of granites from the U.S. and overseas. The blade is designed with a metal-bonded diamond kerf that extends into the core and protrudes outward. In the middle of the core are metal-bonded diamond teardrops, which also protrude outward. This blade design causes it to grind from the sides while it is cutting in a linear direction. The advantage of this is that the blade will cut faster, cooler and lessen the possibility of it binding during the cut, Granite City Tool reports. The Ultimate blade is available in sizes of 4, 4.5, 5 and 7 inches. Each size can be used wet or dry, and adapter holes can be drilled upon request for using the bronze 4-hole, flush-mount adapter. The Dia-Plus Premium Wide Turbo blade is available in more sizes, including 4, 4.5, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14 inches.

The Dia-Plus Dry-Cut Segmented blades are bonded for granites, marbles and other types of stone. All sizes can be used wet or dry, and the blade is engineered for a long cutting life. It is used primarily on angle grinders, hand-held saws, and on high-speed cutting saws for the 12- and 14-inch sizes. Adapter holes can be drilled for using the bronze 4-hole flush mount adapter, or the steel 8-hole flush mount adapter.

The Dia-Plus Large Segmented Wet-Cut Diamond blades from Granite City Tool are designed for slab-cutting portable saws or rail saws. They are available for granite or marble cutting, and with either 10-mm-high segments, or 20-mm-high segments. The blades can be ordered with a semi-silent core or a true silent core. Sizes available are 12, 14, 16 and 18 inches.

Italdiamant has introduced a new saw blade, based on the company's 26 years of experience, which was engineered for fast, straight cuts with no chipping to the edge of stone. To provide optimum customer service to its clients, Italdiamant has a U.S. presence in Elberton, GA, and it pledges to always support its customers.

Teflon milling wheels from Italdiamant feature a unique design, which allows fabricators to complete a variety of projects with the same level of quality. The product can flatten the concrete bed for sawing machines in the shop, and it can also groove granite or other hard stones. It is offered in a 14-inch size with three different thicknesses - 1, 1.5 and 2 inches - and a 3.5-inch size is also manufactured on request.

The milling wheels are silent and light, and they can be operated on standard machinery with no special adjustments, according to Italdiamant.

Pearl Abrasive Co. announces the introduction of its new Granite Core Bit and General Purpose Core Bit. The new Professional Core Bit for Granite is engineered with a special bond for long life, aggressive drilling and maximum performance. The product was designed to be ideal for wet drilling of granite, porcelain, artificial and natural stone, and it has surpassed other granite core bits in both cutting speed and life by two to one, according to Pearl Abrasive. The product is available in 1- and 2-inch models with 5/8-11 thread.

The easy-to-use General Purpose Standard Core Bit lasts longer than electroplated core bits, the company reports. It is designed for dry cutting or drilling of stone, ceramic, marble, granite, tile, brick and masonry. A center point is included, and the product is available in 1- and 2-inch barrels with a 3/8-inch shank.

Regent Premium turbo blades have been manufactured with long life and quality of cut in mind. The thin kerf of these blades gives the user a smooth, chip-free cut, and the 10-mm segment height ensures long cutting life.

Tenax USA of Pineville, NC, offers a new "Engineered Stone" cutting blade, the BGC 415. This diamond blade was researched and developed specifically for Bretonstone quartz-based agglomerate stone. The blade is available in 14 and 16 inches, and its main advantage is a fast and clean cut. This quality is particularly useful for cutting dark colors of engineered stone to avoid discoloration of the edges, Tenax reports. The disc is available in silent and standard core, and it is designed to have a life that exceeds 1,200 square feet per disc, or 10,000 linear meters in 2-cm-thick materials. The speed of cut is around 2.5 meters per minute.

Keeping in mind the frustration and time it takes to break in a diamond wire, Buediam has developed a new product with a patented stepped bead. This diamond wire by Buediam, available from High-Tech Stone of Elberton, GA, has been designed with a step where only a small area of the beads is touching the stone. This design will make the wire cut free and clean immediately. Diamond wires are available for granite, marble, limestone, sandstone and other materials.

Adhesives and treatments

The Bonstone Touchstone Edge System (TES) - clear flowing epoxy along with the new Easy-Mix dispenser - was designed to simplify work in the fabricating shop. The epoxy laminating system is intended for granite and marble work when strength and durability is needed. Using the Easy-Mix to dispense the epoxy provides a range of storage and application advantages. Other advantages include: a strong, tight bond; the ability to withstand extreme changes in temperature; the ability to grab, hold and set under high humidity conditions; a water-clear appearance; and invisible laminations.

The heated dispenser keeps the epoxy warm and fluid for easier mixing and faster cures, and it automatically dispenses the epoxy 2 parts A to 1 part B precisely.

The product will not change color when curing, has no shrinkage and is easily tinted with Touchstone colorants.

Stone Pro Adhesives is a new line of polyester-based resins from Hard Rock Tool. Stone Pro is manufactured with high-quality raw materials and processes to create a premium stone adhesive with superior bond strength and low shrinkage, the company reports. Stone Pro has a shrinkage rate of only 0.08%, which avoids the problems associated with shrinkage, which causes the glue to pull away from the stone during cure and results in bonding to less surface less overall the bond strength. Hard Rock has also announced that every can of Stone Pro Adhesives - in quarts, gallons and 5 gallons - includes an extra 5% at no charge.

Tenax has developed a new family of wax products, including a paste and two new liquid waxes. The new waxes do not contain any chloro sub products, and Tenax reports that internal trials have shown that they outperform the "old" formula waxes.

The new liquid wax is available in a water-based and a solvent-based formula. The water-based wax has achieved the result of almost doubling the shine on agglomerate stones compared with the old liquid wax, according to Tenax, which reports a shine increase from 12 LUX to 22 LUX reading on a gloss checker. All the other comparative trials between the new version and the old have similarly achieved an average 20 to 30% increase of LUX in both marble and granite.

Tenax has also developed a new epoxy gel. Together with the company's established line of epoxies - Domo, Rivo and Micto Glues), Tenax has just produced with a brand new epoxy knife-grade transparent glue. The company lists the following advantages of the product: easy-to-mix ratio, strong bonding strength, fast curing time (gel time in bulk 5 to 6 minutes at 25 degrees C), an extremely smooth formula and elevated transparency of the cured product. The retail price is such that this epoxy can compete also with the less expensive Polyester resin, Tenax reports.

The epoxy knife-grade is a stronger glue then the regular knife-grade transparent polyester re-sin, and is intended for lamination jobs when bonding strength is a must or when the glued material has to withstand the exterior weather elements.

Transportation products

The Sink Saver, new from Edgemark and available from Hard Rock Tool, is a protective dual rail system that is made to help protect precut sinks during in-stallation. The Sink Saver comes standard with 5-foot rails and 7 1/2-foot rails optional for use with larger kitchen sinks. The Sink Saver is a two-rail system that has attached and sliding vacuum cups making each rail one piece. The Sink Saver also features pump type 4.5-inch vacuum cups, which show the installer when there is a loss of pressure. Additionally, the compact cup allows them to be used where other competing products will not fit, Hard Rock Tool reports. The rails can be used as grab bars to ease the effort of installation and movement of the protected piece. The vacuum cups - being the most critical part of this device - are protected by plastic snap-on covers to allow for years of use.

Laser systems

Carter Products has introduced two new choices in its lineup of 2D Laser projection models manufactured by Z-Laser, Europe's leading laser manufacturer. According to Carter, the new units - the CPS 800 for red line projection and CPS 900 for green line projection - feature upgraded galvanometers to deliver longer and better performance. The maximum scanning angle of each is 80 x 80 degrees, compared to 66 x 36 degrees in previous models.

The CPS series allows the operator to reproduce a size-for-size transfer of complete component drawings from a CAD system to the CNC-machining table with an accuracy of 1 mm/meter of projection distance. The polygons are projected in highly visible red or green laser light onto almost any surface. Size, form, position and height may be easily changed as required, and the new models enhance this capability.

"Our expanded line of two-dimensional laser projection systems translate CAD data quickly to the work surface for rapid positioning of parts and instant quality checks," said Peter M. Perez, president of Carter Products. "This dramatically reduces set-up time and improves the productivity of expensive processing equipment such as CNC routers and point-to-point machines."

Carter Products also introduced a new line of laser diodes that provide pinpoint accuracy in positioning. Also produced by Z-Laser, Powercross models project a positioning cross with long, sharply defined red laser lines. This makes them ideal for pod placement on CNC tables and for any other application where exact positioning is needed.

The two small but powerful diode lasers are set in a single compact housing so that when the laser is vertically mounted, the optics project a rectangular cross on the workpiece. The pre-aligned lasers mean almost instant set-up without difficult adjustment of two independent lasers. Because each line has the full power of the laser with focused optics, the positioning point is highly visible. The black anodized aluminum case is approximately 1 inch in diameter and about 4 inches long.

Carter offers three models of the Powercross. The Z10DX projects a cross with each line approximately 10 feet when mounted at a 6- to 7-foot elevation above the work surface. The Z5DX projects a cross with 6-foot lines when mounted at a 4- to 5-foot height. The Z3DX projects a 3-foot cross when mounted at a height of 3 feet.

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