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What is an Angle Grinder?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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An angle grinder is a mechanically powered hand tool featuring a rotating abrasive disc. The disc is mounted at a right angle to the motor and turns at a very high rate of speed. This tool is typically utilized for grinding, cutting, or polishing metal, concrete, tile and other hard materials. Angle grinder discs may be firm and abrasive for grinding and cutting tasks or smooth and flexible for sanding and polishing. This powerful tool can be quite dangerous and precautions must be taken to ensure safe operation.

An angle grinder is usually a large, heavy tool equipped with two handles for increased maneuverability. Most angle grinders are powered by an electric or pneumatic motor. Cordless, electric models are also manufactured. Electrically powered models are typically required for heavy-duty jobs covering a large area. Pneumatic models are often smaller in size and designed for general light-duty tasks.

All models of angle grinder utilize the same basic principle of operation regardless of size or type. A rapidly spinning disc is mounted to the side of the tool at a right angle to the motor. The face of the disc can be utilized to grind, sand, or polish. Cutting maneuvers are generally carried out with the edge of the disc. Cutting tasks performed by an angle grinder are actually accomplished by grinding a thin groove into the material until it has been separated into two parts.

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Angle grinders are typically used to grind or cut metal, concrete, or tiling pieces. This tool is frequently made use of in automobile body repair to grind rust and paint off of metal parts and to polish chrome-plated bumpers. An angle grinder is also an ideal tool for cutting concrete and asphalt surfaces during road and bridge construction. Builders often employ this tool for cutting bricks or blocks and to remove excess mortar form masonry structures. This tool is also employed by emergency personnel to free people trapped in vehicles.

Different types of angle grinder discs are needed for various tasks. Rigid, highly-abrasive discs are required for grinding or cutting steel and concrete. This type of disc must usually be kept wet when cutting concrete and masonry. Highly abrasive discs are sometimes diamond-tipped to enhance their cutting performance. Less abrasive discs are also available for sanding and polishing tasks and typically require a flexible backing attachment.

When using an angle grinder, certain safety measures must be taken to avoid injury or fire. Head, face, and foot injuries are common during the operation of this device. A hardhat and face shield is typically required to avoid being struck by flying debris. Protective footwear must be worn to prevent injuries from falling concrete and steel pieces. Grinding and cutting steel with this tool typically produces numerous sparks which can ignite nearby flammable materials.

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