In my previous blog I described a quartz glass cutting method known as ‘snap’ cutting. This is a manual method to break the quartz cleanly, quickly and still leave a good square neat cut. We use it here at Multi-lab on smaller quartz rods and tubes that can be comfortably handled and if the production quantity required is low. That usually ranges from a few pieces up to around a 100 or so. Above that, it becomes more economical to automate the process.
In a future blog I’ll discuss the merits of high output fully automated cutting processes that are available in our production processes.
This week I was fortunate the see some of the largest diameter quartz tubes that we can cut and process in the department.
This particular tube is getting cut down to length for some further processing in the Glass Blowing section of the works. Again for a future blog, I’ll describe this glass blowing process in more detail. Mainly as its a operation that we carry out quite frequently and also because the tube is fairly large, it’s easier to show and demonstrate what the craftsman is putting the glass through.
After the blade passes through the wall of the quartz tube, the workpiece is gradually rotated by hand.
After the tube is cut into two sections there is still a little bit more work to do before the job is finished. Although the cut end surface is reasonably square it can be slightly uneven and rough, so it’s time to dress the ‘cut end’ up.
The craftsman is lining the end of the tube up with the cutting blade.
It may look unsafe but there is very little pressure applied in doing this, the diamond blades themselves are very thin and thus bend easily. Water is used as a lubricant during the cutting process and the water helps to cushion the fingers when the blade is help in position.
There is only the slightest amount of material removal during the dressing operation. Its sufficient to make the edges and ends neat and removes any pieces that could cause injury or cuts whilst handling.