An angle grinder is a highly powerful and versatile handheld power tool. It typically comes with a diamond-tipped blade which gives it the capability to slice through rough materials with very little work. However, that’s not all it does; from cutting hard materials to polishing surfaces, an angle grinder is a tool that pros and even DIY hobbyists can make use out of.
The performance of an angle grinder relies heavily on one’s ability to keep a steady hand. There aren’t any fences or clamps that come with an angle grinder so if you’re not exactly known for your dexterity, perhaps consider purchasing other cutting tools for your projects. However, this means purchasing multiple tools to cover what a single angle grinder can do.
Angle grinders were once a tool used by only the most skilled metalworkers for dimensioning workpieces and removing excess material. Today, however, we can find numerous manufacturers releasing models almost every year and increasingly affordable prices. If you’re planning on becoming a metalworker for fun, one of the most valuable tools to own would have to be an angle grinder.
Main Uses of an Angle Grinder
If you’re still a bit confused about what you can do with an angle grinder, take a look at the following list. We’ll describe the most common uses of an angle grinder that you do with the right wheels and attachments.
Cutting and Grinding
The most basic function of an angle grinder is grinding and cutting. It doesn’t just grind metal; with the right type of wheel, you can grind stone, ceramic, and even concrete.
An angle grinder can come in handy in a number of different situations – at construction sites where dried concrete is covering floors or walls or at your home workshop for cutting down metal conduits. There are even some stone sculptures who use angle grinders for adding fine details to their masterpieces.
You’ve never seen how versatile an angle grinder is until you’ve used it to clean metal. A wire brush or wheel attachment can be attached to the tool to give it the ability to scrape paint and rust cleanly off of metal while leaving very little marks in its wake.
These cleaning wheels come in a variety of different shapes and sizes for use on different cleaning tasks. For instance, deburring holes in metal would require a smaller brush, whereas removing paint off of large surfaces would be more efficient with a larger wheel. With a wire wheel, removing specks of dried cement and the most stubborn dirt stains is a breeze.
Although there is a dedicated tool for reshaping tiles accurately (tile cutter), they’re not exactly versatile. An angle grinder, paired with a steady hand and eye for detail, can be used to slice through ceramic tiles accurately for fitting them into tight corners or making custom-sized holes for metal piping to pass through. Their small discs allow you to produce some rather intricate cuts and shapes; something that a regular tile cutter is incapable of.
There’s nothing worse than working with dull tools. Imagine poking the ground with your shovel only to have it bounce back and hit you in the stomach or cause an earthquake up your arms and body. Or what about using a lawn mower only to have the blades clumsily bat at blades of grass rather than chop them?
With an angle grinder, you can sharpen any metal tool you possess. Just take the grinding wheel with a standard blade attachment and graze the edge of your shovel or lawn mower blades ever-so-gently. Hold the angle grinder at an angle to give your tools a slight sharpness to it. Voila! You’ve just restored life back to your tools without any professional help.
Note: Sharpening tools using an angle grinder should be done with extreme caution since a slight knick in the tool can render it completely useless. Also, if the angle grinder knocks a piece of the metal tool off, it can go flying and hit you in the eye.
About once every 20 years or so, the existing mortar between bricks needs to be chiseled and replaced. This is because moisture from rain can cause the mortar to lose its structure, making it more prone to crumbling and diminish its holding power between bricks.
If you’re familiar with tuckpointing – removing an inch or so of mortar between bricks and replacing it with fresh mortar – then you already know how difficult and dangerous it can be to use a regular chisel and mallet. An angle grinder fitted with a tuckpointing wheel can make the task go by much more quickly and with better results.
If you’d like to restore the surface of an aluminum piece or sheet back to its former glory, then an angle grinder is a tool you definitely need. Polishing aluminum requires the use of several different grits of sanding discs to produce a smooth, reflective surface.
Once again, safety should be a priority. Only do this if you have safety goggles, a respirator (nobody wants flecks of aluminum in their lungs), and ear muffs or plugs.
Sanding and Smoothing All Sorts of Materials
Giving a smooth surface to ferrous and non-ferrous metals is to do with an angle grinder. Make sure you purchase the right sanding pad attachment and various grit sizes to give your metal pieces a squeaky-clean shine. You can smooth and sand metals including aluminum, steel, copper, iron, aluminum, and brass. An angle grinder can even smooth non-metal materials like fiberglass and wood. Talk about versatility!
So there you have it, folks! These are seven of the main functions of an angle grinder. When we say an angle grinder is versatile, you better believe it can do more than just cut and shape your workpieces. Just remember that you can only do these things if you have the right types of attachments and at the right size.