The angle grinder is among the most versatile power tools available. Whether you need to cut, sand, polish, or grind, it’s the tool for the job.
With the right attachment, it can be made incredibly specialised, however – meaning that you can get a great deal done with just a single device and a collection of bolt-ons.
Angle grinders come equipped with discs of different sizes, materials, and compositions. Of these, the most popular come with a 10-12cm disk. Like most modern power-tools, you’ll find cordless options in the form of the battery angle-grinder. These are great for outdoor work, like cutting tiles for a patio – but you might find that they lack the power of their corded equivalents.
Uses for Angle Grinders
Let’s run through some of the more popular attachments, and what they can do.
A disc is a little bit like a circular saw, except it doesn’t have any teeth, in the traditional sense: it’s the coarseness of the metal that does the work. You can find diamond-edged discs, which do a great job of cutting through ceramics and tiles.
Pads are a little bit like discs, except they’re softer and more pliant. They’re used for finishing and grinding, and tend to be attached to the grinder via a special plate.
A wheel is a thicker version of the disc. They come in several sorts. You’ll find flapper wheels, which comprise hundreds of little pads attached to a central hub. They provide a more consistent finish than some of the other options. Then there are polishing wheels, which substitute more abrasive materials for things like nylon and felt.
A cutter turns the grinder into what’s effectively a drill. They can be used to cut larger holes in a whole range of surfaces.
Operating an Angle Grinder
Before you get started with this tool, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve fully understood how it works and what it does. Make sure that the grinder is completely secured to the disc. Never use force to try to speed up the work, and make sure that you cut all the way through the workpiece to avoid the grinder from becoming jammed.
Safety with an Angle Grinder
Like any power tool, an angle grinder throws up several safety concerns. Before using your grinder, you’ll want to prepare the workspace and yourself. Make sure that everything is tidy, and that you’re wearing eye and ear protection. Don’t try to grind in the rain – you risk damaging the tool, and yourself. The attachments and replacement discs may come with expiration dates; make sure that you’ve checked and that you’re in the recommended time limit.