Angle Grinder ABC’s

Your angle grinder or disk grinder is probably one of the most versatile tools you will have on your tool shelf. Although it may not be the most used, it’s one of those tools where you change the disk and you can get a virtually unending choice of uses. I’d say my disk grinder comes in third on my list of most frequently used power tools after my drill driver and circular saw.

I’m sure those of you who own one or more of these machines can testify the importance of this tool in the workshop, but for those who don’t own one yet or those who don’t yet disk grinder in actionknow the versatility of the disk grinder I will attempt to break down a few of its key uses. Ok here we go:

1. Sander. One of my favorites, this particular head requires a certain steadiness of hand if you’re doing finishing work, although it can be used to bring down surfaces in a rough manner as well when aesthetics is not an issue. Anything under 80 in grit will just rip through soft wood so it’s useful for taking surfaces down even several millimeters. Remember that an angle grinder is not actually a sander – they have machines especially for sanding – and due to the roundness of the head, it tends to leave circular marks if not careful. Choose the grit appropriately. (Variations include grinding stones & polishers.)

2. Cutter (standard). As is indicated by its name, this is the head to use when needing to cut through various material. There are as many different kinds of cutter heads as there are materials to cut but the most common is probably the standard metal cutter. This is a thin flat head that is used to go through iron and steel but will wear out quickly if used for harder materials like stainless steel.

3. Diamond Cutter. This is the head of choice when cutting anything cement-based, stone, brick, slate, etc. Although about 10 times more expensive than its counterpart, it’s a must-have for the above listed materials. (For projects where extensive cutting is necessary, I would suggest a proper wet saw or similar.)

4. Wire Brush. Well, this one’s the more humble one out of the lot, but it has its purpose. This is used to clean or scrape rust or particularly hardened crud off of things, etc. Just know that it will not only get thedisk grinder cuttingcountless crud off but it can also scratch up the surface beyond recognition – depending on the wire diameter and length.

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, and there are variations of the 4 above types from which you will have to choose. But I hope I was able to point you in the right direction and give you an idea of what can be done with this insanely versatile tool. Just be careful with this one as disk grinder burns and cuts are no fun. Whether to keep the guard on or not is also up to you, but weigh out the pros and cons. I personally have it off as it gets in the way.

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