Diamond tools are essential in various industries. The high hardness of diamond enables the machining of a wide range of different materials. The materials processed with diamond cutting tools vary from ceramic or metal components to natural materials like stone. In most cases, the abrasive diamonds of such cutting tools are embedded in a metal matrix. Depending on the application, this metal matrix has to fulfill certain requirements of wear resistance in order to achieve a sufficient tool life in combination with optimal cutting results. Laser cladding offers the opportunity to produce metal bond diamond tools with different matrix materials. In this process, the matrix is applied as metal powder. Together with the diamond particles, the metal powder is blown into the focus of the laser beam. By moving the laser over the workpiece, an abrasive line trace, consisting of diamonds embedded in a metal matrix, is built. In this way, arbitrary geometries (only limited by the handling system) can be generated. For example, dot patterns or spiral tracks can easily be processed. The use of an Yb-fiber laser with high beam quality (1.05 mm mrad) enables us to build up structures with dimensions less than 1 mm. In contrast to our process, the established ways of manufacturing (electroplating or brazing) require huge efforts to produce abrasive coatings with complex shapes. In order to rate the potential of this laser cladding method, especially for small structures, 1 mm and below, the ability and the influence of different matrix materials are of great interest. Therefore, this work examines the evaluation of three different matrix materials: Co-based matrix, Fe-based matrix, and Ti-based matrix. The abrasive clads were analyzed by light optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM); in some cases, preparation took place by focused ion beam etching. Moreover, the diamonds were chemically leached out of the metal matrix and analyzed by SEM and Raman microscopy in order to understand the interfacial reactions between the diamond and the matrix melt. The diamond strength, after the laser cladding process, was measured by mechanical tests.

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