Angle Grinders are a must-have in any metal worker or welder’s workshop. You might have noticed an angle grinder in a mechanic’s shop or at a construction site. Angle Grinders are also widely used for emergency purposes. There are several ways you can use your angle grinder. The most common application of an angle grinder is cutting and polishing.
Now that we have talked about the general use of angle grinders let’s briefly talk about what an angle grinder is
An angle grinder consists of a rotating motor that can go way over 10,000 RPM. The motor is directly connected to an abrasive disc. There are several different types of discs such as cut-off discs (diamond blade discs), abrasive grinding discs, grinding stones, sanding discs, wire brush wheels and polishing pads.
The discs also come in different shapes and sizes. The most commonly used disc sizes are 4” are 4.5”. However, there are sizes from 4 inches to more than 12 inches. Grinding discs over 12 inches are a little harder to buy because they’re used in extremely heavy duty working sites which aren’t commonly found.
What Things Should You Consider Before Buying an Angle Grinder?
Buying an angle grinder is pretty easy. You can buy an angle grinder from any hardware store for less than $50. You could buy a more expensive angle grinder, but a cheap one works just as fine.
However, the grinding discs are a completely different story. You can buy an inexpensive angle grinder, but buying cheap discs is a huge mistake. The discs are rotating at about 10,000-15,000 RPM, and at that speed, small bits and pieces tear from the disc and fly off. Now, when it comes to cheap discs, the pieces won’t be small, they’ll be huge. Rest assured those chunks will cause a serious health hazard. So, it is highly recommended that you spend a decent amount of money on grinding discs.
The Second thing you need to keep in mind is the type of grinding disc you purchase. Every material requires a different grinding disc. For instance, consider a piece of metal. Now, cutting and polishing metal requires two different discs. For polishing, you need a thick disc. On the other hand, you need an extremely thin and sharp disc to cut the metal. If you use a wrong type of disc for some task, you’ll definitely damage your disc.
Before you start using an angle grinder, it is important to ensure that you’re safe. A tool grinder is a pretty lethal tool and it can cause some serious damage if you use it without proper care.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that guard is on properly. The guard is the perfect separation between your fingers and the blade. Most people remove the guard because “it gets in the way”. Well, if you’re happy with the number of your fingers, use the guard. A little ease of use doesn’t justify removing the guard.
Now, let’s move on to the safety equipment. The most important thing is wearing good gloves. As said earlier, there will be a ton of small pieces flying around and, if you don’t wear gloves, your hands will be the first thing to suffer extreme damage.
Angle grinders can get pretty loud so you should wear sound blocking ear muffs. The last thing you should do is wear a face mask. The pieces from the discs are even more dangerous for your eyes and face than they are in your hands. So, make sure you wear a face mask otherwise you’ll start to look like Freddy Krueger much quicker than you think.
Operating an Angle Grinder
Before you do anything with the machine, there are a few things you should do before you plug in the grinder.
- Make sure that the disc lock is in the ON position. There is a disc lock on most of the angle grinders that prevent the disc from moving at all. Make sure that the lock is disabled.
- Give the disc a spin before you plug in the grinder.
- If you’re using the grinder after a few days, make sure that the disc is fitted safely.
That’s all you have to do before you get to actually using the grinder. As we said earlier, the two most important things a grinder does are cutting and polishing. We will explain them both and talk about how you can get your work done safely.
Removing rust off of some piece of metal is a much harder task than cutting because it requires more stable hands. First of all, make sure that you have the correct disc. Polishing or sanding discs are usually pretty thick. Secondly, make sure that the disc is made of the material you’re going to be polishing.
Branded discs have a visible tag on the opposite side saying what material the disc should be used on. Turn on the grinder and let it get to full speed first. Once it is at maximum RPM, touch the surface of the disc against the piece of metal. You should remember that during polishing, you don’t have to press the grinder against the surface. Just gently lay the flat surface of the grinder against the metal and hold it in place firmly. Don’t keep it at once place for too long, keep it moving constantly. You can also use the side handle with your grinder. It isn’t that easy to use but it adds a little stability to the grinder.
Using a grinder to cut is a pretty simple task. It is pretty much the same as cutting wood with a woodcutter. However, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind before you get to cutting metal or wood with a grinder.
The first thing you should do is secure the object you will be cutting. If it’s a small object (2-3 feet), then make sure you use iron clamps to hold the object in place before you start cutting. If it’s a large object, then hold it down with a few bricks just to make sure that the object doesn’t move.
Use a very thin disc to cut object. Hold the grinder at a 90° angle to the object and move it slowly and steadily.