Need to grind or cut certain materials like metal, concrete, stone, tiles or plastic? Need to sharpen blades? Or need to remove ugly rust or loose paint to smoothen a surface more quickly? An angle grinder will do those jobs perfectly and cleanly.
An angle grinder is a handheld power tool used for grinding, cutting, polishing, sanding and sharpening. Angle grinders can be powered by an electrical motor, a gasoline engine or a compressed air. It is also called a “disc grinder,” since it features a disc which is run to a high speed to perform several actions (cutting, grinding, polishing, etc.).
The angle grinder is quite a versatile tool, and its versatility goes down to the discs and other accessories. These are replaceable and each of them is made for a specific use:
- Grit disc – Probably the cheapest option, a grit disc is also thinner (about 6 millimeters) compared to other discs. It is chiefly used to cut or grind certain materials like metal and stone.
- Diamond disc – A diamond disc does the same function as the grit disc – cutting and grinding – but the former does them more quickly. A diamond disc is also safe to use since it won’t be likely to slip away from the grinder. The diamond disc has segments, and the rim of each segment is covered with a diamond coating. The coating gives the blades better durability and resilience. However, it is also expensive compared to other discs.
When buying a diamond disc, you need to make sure whether they are wet or dry cut (a wet cut needs water in order to be kept damp, while a dry cut doesn't need any water).
- Wire wheel – Unlike other discs which are used for cutting and grinding, the wire wheel is primarily used for polishing surfaces. It can also be used for removing loose paint and rust.
- Wood disc – A wood disc is designed to cut all types of wood. But a disc that’s intended to cut only wood tends to limit its all-around usefulness. It is better to buy a wood disc that has also the ability to cut steel. This is especially useful if you need to remove a nail or something else metallic that’s lodged in the wood.
- Sanding disc/pad or abrasive disc/pad - As the name implies, this disc is used for sanding and polishing materials. Basically, it's just sandpaper, and it can be attached to a soft pad or base which is then attached to the sander or grinder. Sanding discs are available in various degrees of coarseness.
- Wire brush – Also known as a cup brush, a wire brush consists of a bundle of twisted wires under a cup, which attaches onto the grinder. A wire brush is used for removing scales, rust, or loose paint. It can also be used for polishing and deburring. There are actually different wire brushes on the market, mainly classified by size (diameter) and duty levels. There are wire brushes suitable for light removal of scales or rust, while others are specifically designed for use by high-speed angle grinders.
For DIY-ers, they can get by with a 110-volt (730-watt) general-purpose model. It is powerful enough for cutting and grinding, as well as for sanding, polishing, de-rusting and removing paint. Higher-powered versions (up to 1000 watts) are suitable for faster and more efficient cutting through thicker and heavier material.