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What is an Angle Grinder Used For

Angle grinders are some of the most versatile power tools in the world, with their rapidly rotating discs that grind, cut, sharpen, polish, and clean a wide range of challenging materials. These materials include things like iron, brass, copper, tile, brick, mortar, and stone.

The tool works by rotating the disc with high torque levels and a standard revolution speed of around 12,000 RPM. Some angle grinders feature variable speeds, and by adjusting the rate at which the disc rotates, you are able to alternate through grinding or polishing metal. This is why it is important to ensure that your angle grinder is equipped appropriately for all of the goals of your project.

Angle grinders are able to work with batteries, or you can connect them directly via a power cable to provide the motor with a steady electrical supply. Cordless angle grinders are perfect for smaller projects or for specific grinding and cutting projects. If you require an angle grinder that can be used for over an hour, we suggest that you purchase a corded option.

No matter which type you choose, you should always ensure that you are wearing the correct personal protective equipment, or PPE, which includes safety goggles, a mask, earplugs, and work gloves. So, let’s find out all of the different ways that you can use your angle grinder.

Cutting Masonry Materials

Though angle grinders are most commonly used when working with metals, they can also be used to cut through many masonry materials like stone, tile, and brick. To do this, you’ll want to swap out the current disc for a masonry cutting wheel, which will allow you to slice right through these challenging materials.

The precision that an angle grinder offers makes them perfect for cutting custom angles into tiles, allowing you to create garden pathways from stone or brick, repair your showers, or even replace the broken parts of a backyard fireplace. These cutting wheels are made to withstand a lot of strain, so you’ll find that they are not nearly as fragile as discs that are made for cutting metal.

That doesn’t mean that they are not still prone to breaking or chipping when you force the grinder onto the material. The risk of chipping and breaking increases as your wheel ages, so be sure to replace your masonry cutting wheel regularly to ensure your cuts are clean and smooth.

Sharpening Other Tools

The great thing about angle grinders is that you can also use them to sharpen your other tools, especially when you need to restore the edge to lawnmower blades, chisels, or axes. To do this, you will want to secure an abrasive grinding disc onto your angle grinder. Make sure the blade being sharpened is correctly secured in a vise so you can prioritize controlling the grinder’s movement.

When you are sharpening tools using a grinder, it is important to orient the disc with the blades’ angle so the sharpened blade has the exact same angled cut. Changing the angle that you are cutting at will likely reduce the tool’s effectiveness significantly, and in worst cases, can actually ruin your blade.

Grinders are fantastic for sharpening tools, but we suggest using a sharpening stone to add a finer edge to the blade before you pack your tools away again.

Cleaning Metal

With a little help from your trusty angle grinder, you are able to remove paint, lacquer, and rust from metal surfaces. To do this, you simply need to place a metal cleaning disc or plastic stripping disc to remove peeling and chipped layers while avoiding damaging the underlying metal.

Stripping discs made of plastic are a fantastic option for getting rid of lacquer, paint, and other coatings that have not been physically bonded to the metal. Such discs are generally made using a webbed nylon material, as well as silicon carbide, so that they can be abrasive enough to lift the unwanted layers from the surface you are working on.

If you are using your angle grinder to remove rust, then we suggest that you use a metal cleaning wheel. These wheels are created using a number of metal wires that are twisted through one other to make a wheel that is effective when it comes to removing rust. When this disc begins to spin rapidly and then comes into contact with your working metal, it will scrape the surface clean of rust to reveal the clean, shiny metal hiding beneath.

It’s important to remember that these types of wheels may sometimes send little bits of broken wire flying, so you should always be wearing the appropriate PPE when using them.

A man in gloves works with a grinder

 

Cutting Metal

The fast-moving disc on your angle grinder is not just used for polishing, smoothing, and grinding away metal but is also very effective at cutting through metal. This is the most common application of the tool for plumbers that work with lead pipes or galvanized iron. What’s more, welders often cut away metal pieces during their clean-up jobs and when preparing a piece of metal to act as a replacement.

When you want to use your angle grinder for cutting, you’ll need to remove your abrasive disc and equip a cut-off disc. These are special discs that come in a variety of widths but are generally still not as wide as grinding discs.

It is this thin size that makes it easier for the disc to slice through the metal as it spins since it does not have to remove as much metal as it would if you used a grinding disc that was thicker. With that being said, the thinner size also means that cutting discs are more susceptible to breaks and bends. To avoid breaking your cut-off disc, allow your angle grinder to slice the metal fairly slowly, rather than trying to force it through quickly.

Polishing and Grinding Metal

As the name suggests, the main purpose of an angle grinder is to grind metal. The tool does this using abrasive grinding discs that are available in several different materials, such as carbide, aluminum, and diamond-tipped discs. Attach a grinding disc and turn the grinder on to get the disc spinning rapidly, then press the disc to your target metal to smooth, flatten, or completely remove pieces of that metal.

At lower speed settings, a polishing or smoothing wheel can improve the finish of the metal and enhance its color. Smoothing a metal with an angle grinder involves removing a fine layer from the metal to leave behind a wonderfully clean finish.

Polishing wheels will usually be made using softer materials, such as cotton, and they also work with a layer of polish so that the metal you are working on is left with a smooth, mirror-like finish. If you are not able to adjust the speed, then a polishing or smoothing wheel might remove too much of the surface. You would also do well to remember that both polishing and smoothing take more patience and time than grinding does.

Final Thoughts

Angle grinders can be used for many different tasks, as we covered above. If you are interested in doing DIY projects, an angle grinder is an absolute must-have tool.

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