Whenever you need to perform some grinding, cutting or polishing, you’ll typically turn to the angle grinder. These powerful hand-held power tools are comprised of a side handle, adjustable guard, geared head and grinding disc and can be powered either by an electric or petrol engine or compressor. Yypically found in metalworking shops, auto garages, construction site and basically anywhere where excess and unwanted material needs removing, angle grinders find many uses in various applications.
When buying an angle grinder, the most important consideration is the disc size. Typically, the bigger the grinding disc, the more power the motor will have.
Discs mainly consist of the following components: label (all the information about the disc), steel ring (enables safe and firm installing to the grinder), safety net (fiberglass net that protects the disc), cutting mixture (typically aluminium oxide, silicon carbide, binder, corundum and other materials), another safety net. Size wise, grinding discs come in various different sizes, but generally the most common ones are 230 and 115mm. Some handymen opt for pneumatic angle grinders as they posses smaller discs which are ideal for smaller tasks which require a lot of precision.
The disc is what allows the grinder to cut through things, so depending on the quality and strength of the disc, you’ll be able to perform different cuts. For instance, some discs can cut through metal alloys, stone, concrete, while others can only perform light polishing and grinding. Discs are typically flat, round thin panels, much like a DVD or CD.
The thickness of the disc can have a crucial impact on the quality and speed of cutting. Thinner discs cut quicker and more accurately, while using less material. Moreover, the temperatures the disc reaches while cutting are lower and there’s a very slim chance of sparking. The standard disc thickness used to be 3mm, but as technology has progressed, they’ve become thinner. Nowadays, all discs that are produced by reputable manufacturers are safe for use in any thickness. Theoretically, you can cut most materials with any grinding disc, however, the power, time and material you spend on that cut will vary depending on the disc thickness.
The advantages of thin discs are:
- they don’t wear off as much
- they vibrate less, produce less sparks and less heat
- they don’t produce as much odour
- they allow higher productivity and faster cutting
- less tiresome to the user
- easier to control.