An angle grinder, or a side or disc grinder, is a versatile tool that is typically used in auto repair, workshops, and construction sites, and comes in a wide variety of different sizes and motor powers. There are some conflicting stories about who invented the angle grinder. Once source states that it was invented by a German company named Ackermann + Schmitt in 1954; another claims that it was invented in 1973 by a man named Thomas Joseph. Either way, this tool is relatively new to the power tool scene.
A Variety of Uses
Angle grinders are used to cut, grind, polish, buff, sand, sharpen, clean, and remove different materials that include metal, concrete, ceramic, masonry, slat, bolts, rebar, PVC pipe, and even wood. The wheels, or cutting discs, are made for many projects and vary according to the material on which its being used. Angle grinders are used for both cutting through material and for grinding, for instance, to smooth out the rough edges on masonry.
Corded or Cordless
Angle grinders come in both corded and cordless models. Cordless grinders run on a battery and provide more convenience and ease of use. You can take them to remote areas and new home sites where there is no power hookup, and as long as you have charged up batteries, they will work onsite as long as you need them to.
Corded models need a power source to operate, but are generally more powerful and able to offer more torque than cordless, and because they do not have a heavy battery attached, are lighter in weight, handling with less overall fatigue. Other factors to consider when choosing an angle grinder for projects are the disc size or motor, and the pneumatic or electric power source, rpm, and arbor size.
For most DIY projects, discs that are 4 to 4.5 inches will suffice for general tasks. There are a plethora of different discs that can be used with an angle grinder:
- Cutoff discs
- Grinding discs
- Sanding discs
- Grinding stones
- Polishing Pads
- Wire brush wheels
Safety is Priority
Operating an angle grinder safely becomes a number one issue, and there are a number of risks involved that need to be taken seriously, especially for first-time users or non-professional users. When operating an angle cutter, please remember to protect your eyes and always wear a face shield and gloves, and to shut off and unplug the grinder when switching wheels.
Always secure the work piece in place and maintain a firm grip when operating the grinder. Position the work so the debris flies downward, and the wheel spins away from, not into, sharp edges. Wheels can catch onto an edge and cause the object to throw, or the grinder to kick back. For more safety precautions, please refer to the angle grinder’s users manual before operation for best practices.
An angle grinder is a basic component in any toolbox that can be used to provide an easier way to get a project completed quickly and efficiently. When operated safely, an angle grinder makes a smart investment that should last for years.