Founded in 1993 and headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, sp3 is now a full-spectrum manufacturer of CVD diamond material, products and equipment. sp3 Cutting Tools, a recent spinoff from sp3, currently produces cutting tools utilizing all three major diamond technologies: thin-film (DIAbide), thick-film (TFd) and PCD.
As a separate activity, sp3's subsidiary, sp3 Diamond Technologies, continues to advance diamond deposition technology, supplying products for a wide range of electronic thermal management and mechanical applications, as well as manufacturing deposition reactors and providing deposition consulting services.
Pioneering development of thin-film tools
sp3 started in Mountain View, CA, in 1993, as a specialist in the development and manufacture of diamond thin-film tools, using proprietary manufacturing processes and sp3-designed CVD reactors. This development effort evolved into the current product line of DIAbide™ tools.
In 2000 sp3 acquired the diamond manufacturing facilities of Crystalline Manufacturing Ltd. (CML) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, now named sp3 Ltd. The acquisition provided sp3 with thick-film polycrystalline diamond manufacturing capability to complement its existing DIAbide thin-film diamond capability. The state-of-the-art facilities include multiple DC torch deposition reactors, and laser cutting, polishing and metrology equipment. sp3 embarked immediately on development of thick-film diamond cutting tools at the Calgary facility; these tools are now offered by sp3 Cutting Tools as standard TFd™ catalog products. Similar processes are used for the DiaTherm™ CVD diamond heat spreaders.
Later in 2000 sp3 acquired Precision Machine Service (PMS), Inc. in Decatur, IN. This facility, renamed sp3 Cutting Tools, manufactures a line of PCD, CBN (cubic boron nitride) and carbide inserts and cartridges. sp Cutting Tools manufactures the Ultra-Mill™ family of patented milling cutter bodies as well as industry-standard cutter bodies. Custom tool manufacture and a tool regrinding service are also offered.
With its ongoing production of thin-film diamond tools, the acquisition of sp3 Ltd., and the integration of sp3 Cutting Tools, sp3 became the only company designing, manufacturing, applying and distributing the three major diamond cutting tool technologies available in the world today. The broad range of products and technologies allows sp3 to better serve customers by being able to supply the highest value solutions from a wide range of products for cutting highly abrasive non-ferrous materials and most non-ferrous metals.
With the growth of sp3's cutting tool business and increasing activity in diamond products and services not involved with cutting tools, sp3 reorganized in 2004 into sp3 Diamond Technologies and sp3 Cutting Tools.
sp3 Cutting Tools provides a very broad line of cutting tools using all three diamond applications—thin-film and thick-film diamond and traditional PCD—augmented by the Ultra-Mill line of cutter bodies. Tool refurbishment services are also supplied.
Using both thin-film and free-standing deposition technology, sp3 Diamond Technologies' products include heat spreaders for high power laser diodes, grinding logs, coated silicon wafers to 12" (300mm) diameter, wear surfaces and seals. sp3 Diamond Technologies also manufactures CVD deposition reactors and provides diamond deposition consulting services.
In 2007 sp3 Cutting Tools became an independent company, whereas sp3 Diamond Technologies and sp3 Ltd. continue to operate as part of sp3 Inc.