This study presents the development and application of an ultrathin diamond wheel-tool that combines in situ reverse RWEDM (rotary wire electrical discharge machining) with in situ HSFSG (high-speed and fast-shallow grinding) technique for directly generating precision microgrooves onto NAK80 mold steel. The mechanism for reverse RWEDM involves the brass wire being located beneath the disk workpiece to upwardly machine it by spark erosion. The method is employed for thinning a diamond wheel-blank made of boron-doped polycrystalline composite diamond (BD-PCD). The good electrical conductivity of BD-PCD allows for an ultra-thin grinding-edge of 5-μm thickness to be produced on the wheel blank. The HSFSG technique is used to successfully grind micro-grooves in NAK80 mold steel. The method overcomes the traditional obstacles to using diamond to machine steel by having excellent metal removal rates. Experimental results prove the precision of the microgrooves generated. Nanometric grinding depth results in much less friction allowing for the cold machining conditions and preservation of diamond's sp3 bond structure. The grinding-edge has an extremely low wear rate of just 0.1 μm per 280 mm of grinding. The factors influencing formability, thermal machinability, graphitizing of diamond and the wear process of the BD-PCD wheel-tool are discussed in detail.
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