Petrol vs Electric Power
While it is great to have the independence of a petrol-powered disc cutter in some places, there is no doubt that the use of electrically powered machines has grown because they are quieter and just as efficient. Noise is definitely an issue when these petrol cutters are being used in public places and it may be a limiting factor when used near hospitals and schools for example. I also find them easier to work with too – but that is probably a personal experience – noise can add to the ‘scariness factor’ sometimes.
The other technical challenge that has been overcome is the use of water-based dust suppression on electric machines. We have always been warned that electricity and water don’t mix, but apparently with a bit of care and the right parameters, they can safely be kept apart.
All new disc cutters have to have ways of suppressing dust because of current health and safety legislation, and probably not before time, because they are often used on hard building materials like concrete. Cutting concrete produces a lot of the very fine silica dust that is one of the worst dusts for our lungs.
Diaquip’s Concrete Saw
The Diaquip machine is instantly recognisable as professionally rated – just looking at it you realise that it is solidly built, straightforward and no-nonsense. The U-shaped side handle, for instance, is a solid steel-plated tube, bolted into place and covered with an insulating and grippy ribbed-rubber compound. This handle is strong and rigid and shaped so that the user can grip from the top as well as the side when the cutter is used in different orientations.
An elongated main handle is placed directly behind the blade, and it gives users a good view of the cut, as well as allowing them to have enough leverage on the blade to be able to guide it accurately. The oval-shaped aperture of the handle also allows users some movement options for the trigger hand. The trigger is big enough for easy use by gloved hands, and it comes with a lockout button, of course. Right on the top of the trigger handle is the load-warning lamp so that it is very easy to see if an overload occurs.
Easy to Set up?
All the adjustments that should be on a machine like this are there - they are simple to operate and are strongly made. For example, the lever that locks the blade guard into various positions is a simple L-shaped steel piece that locks into a series of holes on the guard. It doesn’t need any more complication, but it does need to work easily when the machine is covered in sludge after a hard day on site.
There is also a simple arbor lock for easy blade changing.
The big and strong cast alloy blade guard incorporates two methods of dust suppression. The most obvious of these is the water-based version, since it involves a tube for the water feed attached to the heavy-duty main power cable that leads down to front of the guard. There are two nozzles – one on each side of the blade - that spray water onto it. With the right amount of water at the right pressure, there should be precious little dust escaping into the environment. For ease of use there is a water feed valve at the entrance of the water tube, and a standard hose lock water coupling is provided for instant snap on/off hose connection.
Right at the bottom of the guard is a standard sized dust port that will connect to a vacuum dust extractor should the user choose. The amount of dust produced at full speed is quite considerable, so a small L-Class vac is probably not going to do a good enough of job of protecting the user, and those nearby, from the inevitable dust that does escape. A really powerful H-Class extractor will do a much better job – but users will still need appropriately rated facemasks and other PPE. It is also good to note that the dust port has a little cover on it so that when vac extraction is not being used, the sludge doesn’t come straight back at the operator.
Or if you prefer you can use the dust ski. Held in place by a simple pin this fits underneath the blade so that the weight of the machine rests on the stainless steel base of the ski. With the support this gives, again accuracy of cut is improved, but more to the point, the ski provides a shroud to the blade that concentrates dangerous dusts right to the back of the ski where it is collected much more efficiently by the (correct) class of vacuum extractor. Since the ski adds so much to the overall dust safety of the cutter it is indeed a very useful addition to the whole saw kit, eradicating all dust when cutting. Regs still say that good PPE (masks, goggles, gloves, hearing protection) is needed in the battle against dust intake that leads to silicosis – so be wise and comply.
Other Bits I Liked
Having used them on a few cuts when I was slicing through some delicate 40mm thick marble, I am a great fan of the guide rollers assembly that comes with this machine. They are simply fitted using a butterfly bolt right under the balance point of the main motor housing. They allow the user to rest the weight of the machine onto a hard surface and use this extra stability to guide the cutter for greater accuracy.
Although it is only a simple addition, the splash guard that can be fitted at the back end of the blade guard is another nice touch. Simple to fit, it also provides some protection for the user from water and sludge splash.
I first saw the Diaquip being put through its paces at a rain soaked and windswept Plantworx Show. I thought at the time that these conditions might be a more typical usage framework than some of the sunnier weather we have had recently. During the demonstration, I was impressed by its obvious power and cutting ability in a variety of materials such as reinforced concrete and paving materials. Water dust suppression was being used, just to add to the already damp atmosphere, and it clearly worked well.
Back home in my workspace, the weather was drier but I still ended up thinking that this was a Very Useful and Capable Machine. It is clearly quieter using an electric motor, but didn’t seem less powerful or less capable. I found myself using the water dust suppression system nearly all the time, because it works very well and is simple to attach and set up from either a garden hose or a pressurised container. Accurate cuts are easy to achieve as you become more expert in the use of the machine – much helped by the judicious use of the guide rollers of course.
It would definitely be a machine I would look at if I were a construction worker – powerful, easy to use with good dust suppression – lots to like.
Aimed at: Construction workers, heavy-duty users
Pros: Powerful, easy to use and excellent dust suppression