All About Angle Grinders

Learn how angle grinders work, the different types of blades and how to change them, plus get tips on how best to use a grinder.
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Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Angle Grinder

Designed for cutting metal and stone, the blades or "cutting discs" vary according to the material. A thinner disc should be used on marble rather than on a paving slab. Angle grinders can be used for cutting and also for grinding (such as smoothing rough edges on a heavyweight surfaces like masonry). Protective clothing is necessary when working with an angle grinder. Remove all combustible materials from the area before cutting metal, because showers of sparks will be produced.

Grinder Blades/Discs

Some discs are designed to cut, others to grind. The diamond-impregnated blades (right) have a diamond coating along the rim of each segment, therefore giving the blade greater resilience, longevity and a higher price tag. With standard grinding discs (left), the surface wears away in cutting, so the disc gradually becomes smaller in diameter.

Step 1: Using an Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is designed to operate in only one direction — upward. Pushing the angle grinder in the other direction is dangerous and reduces control. Avoid any sideways pressure on a disc. Start the grinder and position yourself so that it can be guided away from you along a marked guide line.

Step 2: Using an Angle Grinder

Score an initial line in a thick material such as a slab, then make two or three further passes across it to make the cut.

Step 1: Changing an Angle Grinder Disc

Check the manufacturer's specifications before choosing a disc for an angle grinder, buy the right size and one capable of withstanding the model's operating speed. The mechanism for locking on a disc will vary according to manufacturer. Before mounting the disc, check that it is right-side up and that the rotation arrow on the disc matches the one on the tool.

Step 2: Changing an Angle Grinder Disc

Mount the disc on the grinder's central spindle. Position the clamping nut on the disc, threading it over the spindle.

Step 3: Changing an Angle Grinder Disc

Fasten it in position (often by turning a clamping nut with a special two-pin wrench). Press the locking button if there is one.

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