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3D Shape Evaluation for Diamond Electrodeposition Tools Using the Olympus OLS4100 Laser Confocal Microscope


Tools with electrodeposited diamond grains are designed to grind and machine hard materials such as cement, carbide, ceramic, and quenched ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The electrodeposition process uses electrical current to bond the diamond grains onto a base metal. This results in a rigid tool with excellent cutting performance. As these tools are used, they wear causing the diamond grains to fall off the base metal. At a certain point, wear negatively affects the tool’s accuracy and machining speed. Consequently, manufacturers must regularly inspect the condition of diamond grain coated tools.

The Olympus solutions

The Olympus OLS4100 3D laser measuring microscope enables you to inspect the surface of a diamond electrodeposited tool to assess its condition (Figure 1). The side surfaces of electrodeposited diamond grains have steep angles with respect to the base metal surface. Conventional laser microscopes have difficulty measuring these steep surfaces because they reflect only a small quantity of light. The OLS4100, however, has exceptional inclination detection capabilities and can measure surfaces with an angle up to 85°. This capability enables the OLS4100 to create accurate three-dimensional renderings of microstructures that have steeply-inclined configurations (Figure 2). The OLS4100 has an imaging function that stitches up to 625 images together while enabling you to exclude unwanted images from the overall picture.

Features of the product

The OLS4100 has ultra-high-resolution 3D visualization and measurement capabilities combined with high pixel density. It is capable of making accurate and reliable measurements of samples with steep angles. The imaging feature enables you to stitch images together to obtain a complete view of the tool surface being inspected.


An electrodeposition tool showing diamond grains embedded in the metal surface
A diamond electrodeposited tool surface
Figure 1: An electrodeposition tool showing diamond grains embedded in the metal surface
Figure 2: A diamond electrodeposited tool surface

Olympus IMS

Products used for this application


With the Olympus LEXT OLS5000 laser scanning confocal microscope, noncontact, nondestructive 3D observations and measurements are easy to produce. Simply by pushing the Start button, users can measure fine shapes at the submicron level. Ease of use is combined with leading-edge features to deliver an acquisition speed four times faster than our previous model. For customers with larger samples, LEXT long working distance objectives and an extended frame option allow the system to accommodate samples as large as 210 mm.
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