Have you had to use your hack saw in the last 12 months? Or a pair of tin snips to cut metals other than tin? We are willing to bet that it took you some time and a lot of muscle, if either was your cutting choice. Luckily, there’s an easier way. In just a few short steps, right angle grinders make an otherwise tedious process quick and easy.
Selecting the right tool and cut-off blade for the job at hand
A right angle grinder is one of the most versatile tools you can own. They are small, easy to control and can work into tight spaces. They can take the place of a variety of limited tools. With a grinder, you can cut metal, stone or ceramic tile and you can use it to strip coatings from wood and metal as well. Grinders come in consumer standard sizes for 4″, 4.5″, 5″ and 7″ with other sizes for more industrial applications.
The first step in choosing the right blade or grinding disc to use is to determine the material you are working with – metal or masonry – and whether you will be cutting, grinding, stripping or finishing.
Abrasive Metal blades are specifically designed to quickly and easily cut through various metals like angle iron or rusted bolts.
Abrasive Masonry blades are specifically designed for cutting concrete, cement and brick pavers, and natural stone for walkways and patios.
Diamond blades are designed for long life and fast cutting in multiple stone and masonry applications, from cutting concrete and stone to cutting ceramic tile.
Fiber Discs, Flap Discs and RapidStrip Wheels come in coarse, medium and fine grits and are used for heavy stripping of coatings from metal and wood, removing rust, de-burring of metal and grinding welds.
Because you will be generating dust from the grinding and cutting process and may come in contact with sparks and flying debris, it is recommended to wear work gloves, a dust mask, safety glasses and a full face shield. Ensure your work space is properly ventilated.
Setting the speed on your right angle grinder
All wheels and grinding discs have a maximum safe RPM that each should be operated at. Verify that your right angle grinder does not exceed the recommended RPM for the product you are using. Note that most right angle grinders run at a fixed speed of around 11,000 RPMs. Always use the safety guard during operation.
Cutting the surface
A right angle grinder saves a lot of time and effort versus using a standard hacksaw. Using a metal cut-off wheel for cutting angle iron, rebar, metal siding or bolt, clamp the work piece securely in a vice. Hold the grinder straight and use light pressure to cut through the metal. Do not twist the grinder as this will cause the wheel to bind. Too much pressure will cause the cut-off wheel to wear prematurely.
Cutting Stone and Tile:
A versatile right angle grinder can be used in place of a larger tile saw to cut concrete pavers and other types of stone used for walkways and patios, and would be used with either a masonry cut-off blade or diamond cut-off blade for longer life and faster cutting. You can also use a right angle grinder for cutting ceramic tile. For this application you will need to use a special diamond continuous rim blade that is designed to cut through hard tile and leave a smooth cut.
When cutting pavers, stone and tile make sure the work piece is secured before cutting. Using light to medium pressure, move the grinder in a back and forth motion through the cut. This helps remove dust from the cut and allows the wheel to cut faster. Do not twist the grinder as this can cause the wheel to bind in the work piece.
For stripping heavy coatings from metal or wood, you will need to choose a coarse grit fiber disc, flap disc or RapidStrip wheel. Choose either 24 or 36 grit depending on the condition and amount of coating to be removed. Starting with a coarse grit will allow you to strip the coating quickly and minimize loading of the disc. For rust removal, use a 60 or 80 grit flap wheel or grinding disc. Flap discs offer additional finishing capabilities so another product does not have to be used to bring a finer finish to the surface.
With its ability to tackle metal, stone, and tile cutting projects with ease, the right angle grinder will soon be the most reached-for tool in your workshop.