How An Angle Grinder Works

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Angle grinders are a workman’s favourite tool for any larger DIY jobs that you are wanting to complete around the home. These versatile tools are able to work with different types of wood, metal and even concrete and pipework! They can be used for grinding materials to reduce their size, smooth out rough edges and even cutting through certain materials, so you will be sure to get your money’s worth if purchasing an angle grinder. But first, you need to know exactly how they work…

The Mechanics Behind An Angle Grinder

Angle grinders can be powered either with electric or petrol depending on the model that you choose. This motor, combined with a rotor shaft, will then turn a geared head (a circular metal plate). On this geared head will be a disc, which is the part that does the hard work in grinding the surface that you are working with. These discs will be made from different materials depending on the type of surface that you are wanting to grind (we have provided more detail on this below). The rotating disc does its job by spinning at such a speed that it creates friction against any surface that it comes into contact with, wearing this away.

In addition to this there will be copper wires that are attached to the rotor to increase the amount of power and force that the tool can offer. You will also find that the geared head is fitted with both a drive gear and a brake to ensure that the tool can be stopped as quickly as possible should anything go wrong!

How The Mechanics Affects The Job They Do

All of the features above work together to make sure that the angle grinder is a tool that you will wonder how you ever lived without.

The fact that the disc moves continuously and at such high speeds, plus the tool being handheld, means that it can be moved around according to the job that you are completing and the type of work that you are completing. The head of the tool is angled to ensure comfort and precision when working, so that you can move the disc of the tool against edges, corners or flat pieces of material to achieve the desired look.

Most angle grinders will also have a slight lip over the edge of the disc or a full wheel guard, this is to encourage the sparks and debris from the piece of material away from you, to help avoid any injuries or accidents.

Different Discs

Most angle grinders will have removable discs – this means that you can change the disc depending on the job that you are completing, or even if it becomes worn from the amount of jobs that you have completed and just needs replacing.

The different discs will be made from different materials, all of which will then work better at creating a friction with (and therefore grinding) different types of material.

  • Grit Discs – These are usually the cheapest type of discs and will work with stone and many types of metal.
  • Diamond Discs – These are a lot more expensive as they work a lot faster than grit discs (because they create more friction) but they will still commonly be used for stone and metal jobs
  • Wire Wheel – Many angle grinders allow a wire wheel to be attached, which allows you to then use the angle grinder for polishing and removing rust or layers of paint, instead of grinding away a surface or edge. These will only be able to be used on tough surfaces though as they could break softer materials due to the force created.

Wood Discs – These discs are used to grind away wood. It is important to bear in mind that these will be easily damaged if they come into contact with any other material so you need to be careful when working with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the speed available affect how the angle grinder works?
In theory, the faster an angle grinder can work (measured in rotations per minute) the quicker it will be able to get the job done. But if you purchase an angle grinder with a high rpm but then not enough torque, it won’t be up to the task! You need to look for a model that has a comparative rpm to power ratio.

Can angle grinders be dangerous to work with?
Angle grinders work at incredible speeds (usually around 12,000rpm) which makes them really good at their jobs but also very dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure to follow all safety precautions, use wheel guards and make sure that handles are safely attached before using. It is also important to make sure that your blades are not damaged and are secured firmly before bringing it into contact with any material. Providing you follow the safety instructions that come with your tool, they should be relatively safe to use.

Can an angle grinder overheat?
Yes, but this is usually a sign of something wrong with the tool (or possibly just that it has been overworked). Check that the vent is clear from debris and not blocked by your hand when in use. Also make sure that your blade is oiled and secured correctly. Finally make sure that the disc is not old or worn. Providing all of these precautions are in place then you shouldn’t find your angle grinder overheating.

Does it matter which way the disc spins on an angle grinder?
Yes! You must always make sure that the disc is spinning away from your body when using an angle grinder! If you fail to do this then you will probably find the sparks and debris flying right up at your face when you are working, which could cause a serious injury!

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About Mike Jones 178 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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