The angle grinder is one of the most versatile tools in any workshop. Part chop saw, part grinder, and part sander, there are no metal working projects in my shop that do not rely heavily on this tool. Angle grinders come in a variety of sizes and with numerous power output and rpm ratings. The most common sizes are 4 1/2 inch, 7 inch, and 9 inch grinders, with the 4 1/2 in being most common, and these numbers reference the diameter of the disc, or wheel, that can be run safely by them.
Disc types for angle grinders are numerous and although some discs are multipurpose, many times specific discs are designed to perform specific functions or for specific materials, like the metal grinding disc pictured above. Not only can other discs be bought to cut, polish, sand, and grind metals, but wood working attachments have become more common for angle grinders as well. With the introduction of wheels designed specifically for carving and sanding wood, like the carving attachment pictured below, the ever-useful angle grinder has managed to become even handier.
The angle grinder’s usefulness stretches even farther than wood and iron working, there are also discs sold specifically for concrete and masonry applications like the one pictured below. Whether cutting into a brick wall, concrete slab, or mortar, this tool definitely comes in handy for those DIY stone and masonry jobs.
If anyone knows the value of an angle grinder it would have to be welders. Primarily used in metal fabrication, the angle grinder is just as important as a welding machine itself in insuring a quality weld. From material preparation and beveling to grinding down a weld, the angle grinder definitely beats hand filing to accomplish the same task.
For anyone looking to begin welding as a hobby or career I would strongly suggest buying a good angle grinder such as this one and learning how to use it before even buying a welding machine. I have learned from personal experience that buying a cheaper grinder will only find you on the market for another grinder in the near future. My DeWalt 4.5 inch angle grinder cost a little more than $80 when I bought it close to a decade ago, and after hundreds of hours of use it is still going strong today. The cheap $35 grinder that I bought from a well known big box store prior to purchasing my DeWalt did not even make it through its first job. I would also encourage any beginning welder to check out this article on how to get started without spending a fortune.
Below I have linked to a few useful angle grinder attachments as well as a few sources on angle grinder use and safety.
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Jake with tool-school.com