Angle grinder uses are a ton. These tools are some of the most unique and versatile power tools. They can be used to accomplish so many tasks. They are mainly used to cut, grind, polish, and clean metal. These tools can also be used to cut stones and masonry.
In this article, we will first talk about how to use angle grinders. Angle grinders are extremely dangerous to use, if not used with care. Therefore, a big chunk of this article is dedicated to listing all the safety precautions to be aware of when using an angle grinder.
How to Use an Angle Grinder (Safely and Properly)
If you just look up “angle grinder accidents” in Google Images, unfortunately, you’ll encounter plenty of horrifying images. It’s worth mentioning again. Angle grinders are extremely dangerous tools if not used with care. We’re going to give you a number of guidelines that will help you use an angle grinder safely and properly.
Wear the Proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
When the angle grinder is used to cut or grind material, sparks and shards are thrown at the user with speed. The shards are pretty sharp, and the sparks are extremely hot.
Furthermore, if kickback happens or the disc shatters for any reason, the user will need proper protection, including safety glasses, gloves, hard hats, masks, ear protection, safety boots, and proper work clothing that completely covers the user.
Make Sure the Tool is Unplugged when Changing the Discs
This is an obvious one, yet it’s something that happens to people. It sounds pretty easy to remember, yet still, people fail at it. Not remembering to keep the tool unplugged when changing the discs can lead to extremely dangerous and horrific accidents. On top of this, you want to keep the switches in the off position.
Make Sure Your Tool and the Accessories You’re Using are Not Damaged
Before beginning any operation with an angle grinder, you want to check the tool for any damages. You need to inspect the tool for any damages, chips, or cracks on the different parts of the tool, especially the housing.
Furthermore, you need to check your discs to see if they are not damaged. If you see any visual clues on the discs that suggest the disc is damaged, you should break the disc in half to make anyone else who might use the disc aware that it is unusable. You also need to check the disc for the expiration date.
If a grinding wheel looks completely okay, you can do the “ring test” to ensure that the disc is not damaged. When a disc is hanging freely, you tap a wheel with a non-metallic item. If the wheel makes a ringing sound, it is undamaged and safe to use.
The next step in inspecting if the tool or the accessories are not damaged is to carefully give the grinder a test run to see if there’s anything wrong.
Use the Proper Disc with the Proper Tool
Check the specs of your angle grinder and the accessory (disc) before installation. The maximum RPM rating of the accessory (disc) should be equal to or greater than the maximum RPM rating of the angle grinder.
If the speed of the disc is lower than the tool, you run the risk of the disc flying apart, and that is extremely dangerous and it can seriously injure you.
One other thing! You should check the size of the disc and match it with the size that the tool can accept according to the specs of the factory.
Use a Proper Wheel Guard
Install a wheel guard at all times. Wheel guards are designed to protect you from sparks or shards of metal. They also protect you in case the wheel flies apart. For most applications, one-sided guards are used. In the case of cutting discs, two-sided guards are used. So, you should check the type of disc or wheel.
Check the Environment
Avoid using angle grinders in environments that pose a risk of slippage and tripping, and make sure there are no flammables in the area. Keep fire extinguishers in the area at all times. The sparks that generate during metal grinding operations are extremely hot. If they touch a flammable object, fire could start.
Use the Tool with Both Hands
You should use the angle grinder with maximum control at all times. One hand should be on the tool, and the other should be on the side handle.
Do not ever hold the workpiece with your hands. You should use a vise or a clamp to hold the workpiece in a stable position.
Let the Tool and the Disc Reach the Maximum Speed
Before making contact with the workpiece, make sure that the disc has reached maximum speed. This is to ensure that the disc doesn’t grab and kick back. Additionally, when operating angle grinders, don’t put too much force on the tool. Let the tool do its thing.
Cut-off Discs and Abrasive Discs are Used Differently!
Only the edge of cut-off discs is used. The face of cut-off discs can never be used for grinding and polishing purposes. When using abrasive discs like grinding discs (wheel) and flap discs, the face of the disk is used. The top of the disc, the part with the label and the information related to the disc, is never used.
Make Sure that You Won’t be In Contact with the Angle Grinder in case It Lets Go
One way you can do this is to make sure that the direction of the disc’s rotation is away from you. One other way to do this is to place your body in such a position that if the tool leaves your hands, you’re not in the direction of the trajectory. One last thing to note! You should check the instruction manual for your angle grinder.
What is an Angle Grinder Used for?
Angle grinder uses are various. Cutting metal, grinding and polishing metal, cleaning metal, sharpening tools, cutting stone and masonry, and clearing mortar are some of the most important uses of angle grinders.
Cutting studs, bolts, and rebars are some of the most common uses for angle grinders. To cut metal with angle grinders, cut-off discs are used. Cut-off discs are used at a 90-degree angle. Only the edge of cut-off discs is used for any kind of cutting. The surface of cut-off discs can not be used for grinding.
One of the main functions of angle grinders, as apparent in the name of the tool itself, is grinding metals. These tools are used for grinding down bumps to give the metal a smoother profile. Welders frequently perform this task.
After welding jobs, angle grinders are used to make connections look smoother. One other instance of this particular application is deburring machined metal pieces. Depending on the type of wheel or disc used, you can also polish metals to make them look shinier.
Cleaning metals is among angle grinder uses. Cleaning metals involves removing paint, rust, or lacquer. Depending on the task at hand, you may use flap discs, wire wheels, or strip discs. Strip discs are usually made of plastic. When using strip discs to remove paint and rust, there’s less chance of scratching the metal as strip discs are made of plastic. Make sure to always wear masks when using strip discs, as plastic particles scatter in your work area and are dangerous to breathe. One other option for doing these types of tasks is using flap discs with a higher grit.
Metal is not the only type of material that you can cut with an angle grinder. Cutting stone, tiles, and masonry is also one of the common uses for an angle grinder. For cutting these materials, you can’t use a metal cutting disc. You need diamond cut-off discs for cutting stone, tiles, and masonry.
During demolition or renovation operations, angle grinders come in handy. They can be used to clear mortar or grout. Using angle grinders, you can also remove mortar and then remove and replace bricks. Another instance of clearing grout and mortar is after removing tiles. Angle grinders are perfect for this task, as they can be used to clear the mortar with precision and without damaging the underlayers of the wall or the floor.
What are some mistakes to avoid when you use an angle grinder?
You should never use angle grinders with circular saw blades. Angle grinders are extremely dangerous. They can lead to horrific injuries if they are used with the wrong accessories or without paying attention to the safety precautions.
Can I use angle grinders to cut wood?
Well… Yes, but professionals strongly advise against it. The first thing you need are special cutting wheels that are specially designed for wood, as cut-off discs that are used for metal and masonry are not suitable for wood. The second thing is that you need to be skilled at handling the angle grinder to cut wood. This is because wood has a different resistance compared to metal and stone.
24 June 2023