What is an angle grinder and how is it used?

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: cutting

  • Angle grinder or flex?
  • How does an angle grinder work?
  • The angle grinder and its various designations
  • Safety regulations when working with angle grinders
  • The right grinding wheel for the right application
  • Important note on the durability of grinding and cutting discs
  • Accessories for angle grinders

Angle grinder or flex?

The question is not entirely unfounded and some will roll their eyes. After all, you do not "grind" the angle, but grasp the flex and flex the protruding screw. But as much as the name has been naturalized, not every angle grinder is a Flex. Because just as Torx stands for hexalobular, Kärcher for high-pressure cleaners or Dremel for a small grinding tool, Flex is also a brand name and not the name for an angle grinder.

Although the company "Ackermann & Schmitt" (later "Flex") invented the angle grinder and thus coined the name Flex as an angle grinder, it has long ceased to be the sole manufacturer of angle grinders. Straight angle grinders from Bosch or Makita have more to it than just a word. Their market share is now higher, but you still have to accept that their angle grinders are often referred to as Flex.

How does an angle grinder work?

The correct name is angle grinder orSmall Angle Grinders, Where "one-handed" has lost importance. Each small angle grinder can be guided with one hand because of its size, but also has a second handle that can be variably attached. For large angle grinders, which should rather be held with both hands, one speaks therefore ofTwo-hand angle, A clear line between the two variants, however, can hardly pull.

The term angle grinder is composed of angle and grinder, which already explains the function and operation. The motor of an angle grinder drives the grinding wheel through a bevel gear at right angles to the motor.

This provides a more comfortable working posture and, above all, more safety. Everyone knows how fast a drill with a wire brush moves laterally in the direction of rotation over the material. It takes a lot of arm power to hold the drill in position. The own body weight can not be used for this purpose.

It looks different when the axis of rotation is transverse to the arm. If the tool pushes or pulls in the direction of rotation, the whole body can be used as a back pressure.An angle grinder with a disc brush can therefore always run more safely than a drill with a wire brush.

The angle grinder and its various designations

One-handed or two-hand angle grinders would be the right technical terms. Nevertheless, there are a few more names that are often used but actually have a different origin. Some examples are mentioned here:

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: used

Due to the howling noise, grinders operated with compressed air are often referred to as grinding witches.
  • Trennjäger: An angle grinder can be easily used with a thin cutting disc to separate materials such as metal, stone or plastic. That's why some people like to refer to him as a hunter. In fact, the term separating hunters comes from larger and often stationary cutting machines. Although the operation is the same, the grinding wheel does not have to be at right angles to the motor. The term "hunter" probably comes from the speed and power of a fighter plane. Due to the large diameter disc of a separation hunter, he literally chases through the material and separates it.
  • Schleifhexe: It is not witchcraft, an angle grinder is grinding. Nevertheless, he is not a grinding witch. As Schleifhexe compressed air grinder are called. The "witch" can be well understood because of the howling sound when the air drives the grinder. Again, the abrasive wheel (which need not be a washer) is not necessarily angled. Especially with compressed air tools is gladly dispensed with additional gear.
  • Flex: As already described, the company Flex (at that time still "Ackermann & Schmitt") introduced the angle grinder and determined the market for a long time. Since it is hardly surprising that the angle grinder is briefly referred to as Flex. Flexing sounds better than cutting.
  • Power Cut: The term cut-off machine is to be seen as a generic term and refers to all devices that are capable of grinding workpieces by means of a cutting or grinding wheel. This refers to stationary devices as well as to hand-held devices. The angle grinder is therefore one of the cut-off grinders.

Safety regulations when working with angle grinders

Whether you are cutting, grinding or working with a wire - due to the high speed and enormous centrifugal forces, the tool and the material wear out and the finest to coarse parts are whirled around at high speed. Therefore maynever without goggles to be worked. Anyone who has ever experienced how painful and uncomfortable it is to cut or mill a chip out of the eye, learns for life and will always wear safety goggles from this moment on.

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: grinder

Roughly negligent - The lack of safety goggles increases the risk of eye injuries. Thin blades must never be used laterally.

In metalworking - due to the material removal at a very high rotational speed of the grinding wheel - a strong sparking occurs. Attention should be paid to clothing and flammable substances should be avoided. Even with the footwear should be considered that separated parts are very hot and can fall to the ground.Safety shoes and flame retardant cotton clothing are advisable.

In principle, no gloves may be worn on machine tools with rotating tools. There is a risk of the glove being gripped and wound up by the tool. Serious injuries can be the result. When working with an angle grinder, however, this requirement must be considered in a differentiated manner and a precise consideration must be made as to whether the work glove provides more protection or increases the risk of accidents. When drilling steel on a pillar drill, the case is clear - work gloves would "only" protect against cuts by chips, but can be grabbed by the drill and pull the hand or the entire arm into the machine. The injuries caused by the glove would therefore be higher than the protection. No work gloves may be worn.

When working with a single-handed angle grinder, the risk of gripping the glove through the grinding wheel is less because it has no sharp edges. On the other handProtect sturdy work gloves from burns due to flying sparks and hot workpieces, In this case, the risk of getting the glove between the grinding wheel and the protective cover is low, while the protection against burns is much higher.

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: cutting

In the event of a strong spark, sufficient protection must be ensured

It may look different when wood is processed. Since there is no flying sparks and thus no burns, the safety at work is increased without gloves. When working with the angle grinder, each individual case must therefore be considered individually.

Each tool has its own protection devices, which should not be removed. The angle grinder is to be classified as particularly dangerous because it operates at a very high speed and easily removes not only metal or separates.The existing protective cover should therefore never be renounced. It provides protection because the holding hand is at work very close to the rotating cutting or grinding wheel.

If the angle grinder has a lockable switch that ensures permanent switching on, it must also be equipped with a restart protection. This prevents the grinder from starting automatically after a power interruption.Without restart protection the angle grinder should not be operated.

The right grinding wheel for the right application

Today there are angle grinders with extraction, different cutting and grinding wheels and angle grinders with speed control - the angle grinder has become multifunctional. Decisive for the right work result, however, is the use of the right disc.

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: grinder

Diamond cutting disc for clean cuts in tiles

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: cutting

1. Resin-bonded cutting disc, 2. Resin-bonded grinding disc, 3. Fan disc, 4. Saw blade for angle grinder, 5. Abrasive support for sanding disc
  • Resin-bonded cutting discs: These cutting discs for various materials, such as plastics, metals and stone, are available in thicknesses of 1 mm to 3 mm. Depending on the intended use, they consist of various corundums which are embedded in a glass fiber fabric layer. It allows a good cohesion of the material, despite the thin thickness of the cutting disc. If the fabric layer is damaged, the cutting disc may break and cause serious injury. Therefore, cutting discs may only be used on the circumference and never on the side surfaces.
  • Diamond cutting discs: Unlike resin-bonded cutting discs, diamond cutting discs have a master blade that does not wear out. For the separation process are only attached to the outer edge diamond segments that can be manufactured and applied in different ways. To distinguish between continuous, ribbed and segmented diamond edges. Gaps in the diamond segments ensure good cooling and good work progress in stone or concrete. Continuous diamond edges on the other hand for very clean cuts in tiles.
  • Grinding: These are also resin-bonded discs, which, however, have no fiberglass fabric layer. The stability is ensured by thicker thickness of the grinding wheel from 6 mm. Therefore, grinding discs can be used for lateral grinding of many different materials. Crucial for this is the composition of the grinding and binding material.
  • Flap Discs: The fan disc consists of a glass tissue plate on which several layers of abrasive discs (similar to a fan) are attached. It is advantageous hiebei that the grinding lamellae can have different grain sizes, which allow roughing or finishing, while offering a soft support and yet high removal rate. Fan discs are used for metals, wood and plastics.
  • Saw blades: From various suppliers saw blades for angle grinders are available, which is very controversial. The angle grinder offers neither a riving knife nor a base plate that prevents it from being pulled into the cutting material. Serious injuries can be the result. The use of such saw blades for angle grinders is therefore not recommended.

Important: Durability of grinding and cutting discs

Many users are not aware that parting, grinding or grinding discs are subject to an expiry date. As it ages, the resin of resin-bonded grinding wheels becomes brittle and loses its strength. Already without heavy use, aged grinding wheels can break and chipping off pieces cause severe injuries.

As a rule, grinding wheels have a shelf life of three years after production. The expiration date is often found on the inner metal ring.

Accessories for angle grinders

Angle grinders enable the grinding and cutting of various materials, which is made possible by different grinding and cutting discs and can be simplified with special accessories.

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: grinder

Guide carriage with dust extraction

Extraction hood for angle grinder

Angle grinders work at a very high speed and thereby carry the finest material grains, which are swirled by the centrifugal force through the air. Especially when grinding wood and stone creates an enormous workload. Dust hoods for gullies make it possible to connect a workshop or industrial vacuum cleaner and thus reduce the dust load.

Guide carriages for angle grinders

When separating sheets and plates, it is often difficult to guide the angle grinder quietly and straight. Guide carriages allow the angle grinder to be placed on top of the material for more uniform work. Frequently, guide carriages are combined with an extraction system.

Separator stand for angle grinders

What is an angle grinder and how is it used?: grinder

Divider stands allow stationary use

If thin rods, small screws or pipes have to be separated, it is often difficult to guide the angle grinder straight and, above all, safely. Dividing stands help to hold and guide the workpiece as well as the angle grinder. This increases the work safety and the accuracy of the work process. If the divider can be adjusted at an angle, miter cuts are possible.

Sanding plate for angle grinder

With an angle grinder, it is also possible to perform gentle surface treatments and polishing work. Needed for this purpose is a sanding pad, as it is also known for drills and cordless screwdrivers. This can be equipped with coarse as well as with fine sandpaper or emery cloth.

Disc and cup brushes for angle grinders

Angle grinders are powerful and work at a high speed. This predestines her not only for grinding work. They can also be used with different wire brushes for rust removal of steel parts. However, it is important to pay attention to good protective equipment. The wires of the brush release during the operation and can cause injury at high speed.

Photo Credits:
Cover image (original image): Pixabay / powertools, License: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay
Abrasive Witch (original image): skeeze, License: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay
Roughly negligent: terimakasih0, License: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay
Sparking: skeeze, License: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay
Grinding wheels: Bukk (wikimedia.org) [Flex disks] Copyright: [Public domain]
Diamond Cutting Disc: jackmac34, License: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay

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Video Board: How to Use an Angle Grinder