Super-simple disc changes with X-LOCK. Grinding cutting disc
WHAT ARE THE BEST CUTTING DISCS FOR STEEL ?
DIY users approaching projects in the metal fabrication field, where steel cutting is required, always have an initial question on what is the best abrasive product to efficiently cut through both stainless steel and mild steel. There are a few key determinants to selecting both the appropriate power tool for your project, and the most effective steel cutting abrasive for your project. For DIY users these factors depend largely on what type of material needs to be cut, the thickness of the metal that needs to be cut, and the accessibility of the metal area that needs to be cut. We aim to go through the best abrasive for the job below.
Best Power Tools to Cut Steel
Steel can be cut with a variety of power equipment, depending on the shape of the steel that needs to be cut. A bench mounted, drop saw will fit a 14” 350mm or 16” 400mm cutting blade, and this is most suitable for heavier steel work as the chop saw can cut through almost any metal with the correct cutting blade.
A bench mounted drop saw is particularly useful for cutting repetitive lengths of steel quickly and accurately. The limitation with this tool is that it will only cut at a straight 90º angle. For thin, fiddly auto work, a rotary or air tool may be your weapon of choice. These are particularly useful power tools to get into those hard to reach areas where heavier, bulkier tools cannot be manoeuvred. You can also cut metal with a hacksaw, however this is much more intensive work for something a power tool can do in a fraction of the time.
However, the most popular and versatile power tool to use to cut steel is an angle grinder, due to its size, affordability, and portability. An angle grinder can be purchased in a range of sizes to suit different sizes abrasive cutting discs. Each angle grinder will operate at a different RPM to suit the respective disc, therefore it is important not to fit an incorrect sized disc on an angle grinder. They will also have a guard that should never be removed to accommodate a wheel that is not meant for the grinder size.
An angle grinder includes a spindle washer and spindle nut that you’ll install in different configurations to accommodate thicker or thinner wheels or remove altogether when screwing wire wheels and cups onto the threaded spindle. The most popular angle grinder sizes in Australia for both professional fabricators and DIY users are 4″ 100mm and 5″ 125mm.
Choosing Profile of Cutting Wheel
There are two types of common cutting wheels to suit an angle grinder: Type 1, which is flat; and Type 27, which has a depressed centre.
Generally speaking, Type 1 wheels offer more versatility, especially when cutting profiles, corners or anything that requires the operator to cut up and over two different planes of cutting surface. Type 27 wheels, on the other hand, are ideal for getting into tight corners or overhangs. The depressed centre of a Type 27 wheel provides the extra clearance sometimes needed to get the job done. It is strongly recommend that the general DIY user purchases a flat Type 1 cutting disc which is the more popular type of wheel.
Choosing Grain and Quality in Cutting Wheels
The most popular grain used in the manufacture of abrasive cut-off wheels is aluminum oxide. This is a softer bond that results in a cut that is fast, smooth and easy-to-control.
These aluminium oxide cutting wheels can be purchased in INOX grade quality, which means the abrasive wheel contains no iron and therefore has the ability to cut both stainless steel and mild steel. If the cutting disc does not specify for use on Stainless Steel or have INOX stamped on the label, then it is most likely only suitable for mild steel cutting. As stainless steel is one of the harder types of steel to cut, a disc that cuts through stainless steel will cut through all types of metal including aluminium, sheet metal, rebar and other mild steels.
Choosing Thickness of Cutting Wheels
Cutting discs are available in different thicknesses, and the type of wheel you select depends on the type, shape and thickness of the steel that needs to be cut. For standard everyday jobs on either stainless or mild steel using an angle grinder, choose a 1mm or 1.6mm thickness in your disc.
For projects that involve thin metal such as sheet metal, choose a 1.0mm or 0.8mm thinner cutting disc. These thinner discs will sheet metal faster and as such, minimise discoloration and leave less work in the clean-up of the surface of the metal once you’re done.
When working with Aluminium, best results it is recommended to apply cutting wax or other type of saw lubricant to the cutting disc to preserve the life of the blade and avoid chipping. For heavier steel cutting jobs where you need to cut through a significant thickness of metal, select a 1.6mm or 2.5mm thickness of cutting disc. However, it is important to note that thicker wheels cut slower and generate more friction and heat through the cut — often discolouring the workpiece and requiring additional steps to finish.
Tips on Using Cutting Wheels on an Angle Grinder
Rule number one when using an Angle Grinder is SAFETY. This means; the correct wheel for that sized grinder, appropriate safety gear ( safety gloves. face shield, safety glasses etc), let the wheel do the work – don’t push it, and pay attention to what you are doing. It is important to use even pressure and consistent motion through the cut. Let the wheel do the work and use the weight of the tool to complete the cut. Pushing too hard increases cut speed but also generates heat and friction, which ultimately reduces wheel life and can be very dangerous.
A good abrasive supplier will stock a range of cutting discs for mild and stainless steel to suit the bench mounted drop saw, angle grinder and air tool. At Smith ARROW, an Australian company, we stock cutting abrasives to suit all different sizes drop / chop saws. air tools, rotary tools. roloc tools and angle grinders. We sell very high quality cutting discs for the metal fabrication market.
Smith ARROW is the only abrasives range in Australia to receive INDEPENDENT CERTIFICATION for our entire range of cutting and grinding wheels (equal to or greater than 100mm diameter) as complying with Australian Standard AS1788.1-1987 from SAI Global. As a result, Smith ARROW has been licensed by SAI Global to use their “5 Tick” Quality Certification Mark – one of the most recognisable and respected Quality Marks in the world – on the labels and packaging of all of our cutting and grinding wheels within this range under both our Smith ARROW Brand.
Along with a wide and ever increasing range of high quality industrial consumables that represent amazing value for money for our customers, Smith ARROW supply cut off wheels to suit all steel, in a range of thicknesses to suit your preferred application. View our entire cutting disc range here.
Super-simple disc changes with X-LOCK
With the new X-LOCK system from Bosch Professional, changing from 115 mm to 125 mm cutting discs and grinding discs is now up to 5x faster. The new changing system requires no additional tool, and no longer requires a flange, nut or spanner.
An X-LOCK disc is simply pressed into the mount on a compatible angle grinder. The hobbyist simply listens for the audible click to confirm the disc is properly seated. After finishing work, a user-friendly lever mechanism can then be used to remove the grinding tool quickly and easily.
In scenarios where different materials need to be worked on successively and a perfectly matched disc always needs to be fitted to the angle grinder, this system saves time and avoids hassle. This makes it the perfect tool for metalwork shops, plant construction and the plumbing trade.
The pros who work at Motopark Academy also rely on X-LOCK and RHODIUS when it comes to cutting and grinding work on their vehicles during servicing and car repairs. It’s all about performance – with no compromises made on precision or quality.
Grinding tools for pros – quality made in German
At a disc thickness of just 0.8 mm, the thinnest cutting disc now available for X-LOCK is a RHODIUS disc. The innovative flap discs from the pioneering RHODIUS VISION series are now also available for the patented Bosch changing system.
The extra-thin RHODIUS cutting discs, RHODIUS flap discs and high-performance RHODIUS diamond cutting discs help users to keep cuts virtually free of burrs, offer impressively high stock removal performance with a long lifetime, and always ensure full power is available to users across a wide range of applications – from stainless steel, steel and aluminium to concrete, ceramics and natural stone.
The X-LOCK discs from RHODIUS in the diameters 115 and 125 mm are compatible with angle grinders from a wide range of manufacturers, such as Bosch, Makita, Berner and BTI.
RHODIUS plus X-LOCK – a double helping of industry-leading technology
At RHODIUS, we’ve followed one basic principle for nearly 70 years: we want to offer our users grinding tools that make working with metal easier and more efficient. So what could be more appropriate than to combine our outstanding performance-boosting technologies with an innovative tool changing system?
The XTK8 X-LOCK offers us a great example here: at just 0.8 mm wide, the disc simultaneously supports lightning-fast tool changing. The cutting disc cuts easily and creates very little tarnish colour while keeping burr formation to a minimum.
The development and production of this extra-thin cutting disc for 115 and 125 mm angle grinders posed a particular challenge. RHODIUS is the first manufacturer to have mastered this challenge and developed a production-ready disc. This is where RHODIUS offers premium Made in Germany quality.
One-of-a-kind, high-performance cutting and grinding discs
With a thickness of just 0.8 mm, this is the world’s thinnest cutting disc for the X-LOCK changing system
Superflex Cutting Grinding Discs
Superflex Cutting and Angle Grinding Discs are made in South Africa to the highest international standards of OSA and ISO.
Using the latest production methods and best quality raw materials, they are specifically formulated to suit South African working conditions, resulting in value for money products which offer greater productivity and economy
- Stainless Steel
- Non-Ferrous Metals
- Cast Iron
- Heavy Metals
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Grinding Techniques (Pty) Ltd, manufactures and supplies a wide range of abrasive products to the global market. Our product range includes: Reinforced Cutting Grinding Wheels, Bonded Abrasives, Tungsten Carbide Burrs, Coated Abrasives, Diamond wheels and Diamond Saws.
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Types of Angle Grinder Discs Their Uses
Let’s check out the different types of angle grinder discs and their uses.
What is an Angle Grinder Disc?
First things first—let’s go over the basics. An angle grinder disc is any disc designed to fit in an angle grinder and rotates at high speed to perform cutting and polishing operations. The angle grinder disc or wheel spins at anywhere from around 2,800 rpm to 12,000 rpm, depending on the brand and model of the tool and the settings you select.
Just by switching different discs in and out of the tool, you can use your angle grinder for a variety of applications. You can cut, grind, polish, carve, and more.
over, you can work on a wide range of materials such as metal, stone, mortar, brick, or wood.
Angle Grinder Disc Types
Now that you know what an angle grinder disc is, let’s check out some of the most common types of discs you can use and what you can do with them.
Large and small versions of these discs are available to suit the size of your angle grinder. For general purposes, consider a larger disc. For detailed work, consider a smaller disc.
It makes sense to talk first about grinding discs, also called “grit discs.” These are the discs you need if you want to grind metal or stone. Each disc features an abrasive compound consisting of grains and a bonding agent. You can choose a higher or lower grit depending on how fine or coarse you want the abrasive grains to be.
You may want to start with a low, coarse grit to speed through the beginning of a task, and then switch to a high grit for a smoother finish.
Next, we have cut-off discs, also known as parting wheels. Choose this type of slim, tapered wheel if you want to cut metal stock. You will find variations in thickness for cut-off discs. There are tradeoffs either way. The thinner the disc, the more easily it can slice into metal. But thin abrasive discs are brittle and more prone to breakage. The thicker the disc is, the sturdier it is, and the less likely it is to warp or fracture while you are using it.
So, you will need to weigh those pros and cons when choosing your cut-off discs. In either case, however, try not to push too hard or too fast into the metal. Doing that only makes it more likely you will damage the work and shatter the disc you are using.
Diamond Cutting Discs
If you are working with masonry or stones, a regular grit disc or cut-off disc won’t cut. You will need a diamond cutting disc which is a superior alternative. As the name implies, diamonds grits are embedded into the edges of a steel disc.
As diamond rates a 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, it makes for efficient cutting of concrete, tiles, stones, etc. It also offers superb durability.
So, with a diamond disc, you can work more quickly and easily, even on harder metals. It will cost you more to purchase diamond discs, but they should outlast others, making them more cost-effective in the long run than they may initially appear.
A flap disc is probably the best option when you need to do some sanding with an angle grinder.
This type of disc uses abrasive (usually Aluminum Oxide) that is similar to a grit disc, but a whole lot finer. The main difference here is that instead of a single flat piece, the flap disc is made of multiple layers of overlapping abrasive sheets called flaps. Sometimes these are referred to as flap wheels, although that name is more appropriate for a radial flap wheel that you use on a drill or rotary tool.
Flap Disc Uses
With a flap disc, you can remove minor imperfections from a surface, remove rust, and polish the surface. Also, if there are fine grinding tasks that you cannot tackle using a regular grit disc, a flap disc may be appropriate. These types of angle grinder discs are often used in autobody shops, metalworking, and fabrication industries. Worried about a flap disc overheating? You can try a ceramic sanding disc as an alternative.
One of the most distinctive-looking types of wheels you can get for your angle grinder is a wire wheel. You can use a wire wheel to remove paint or rust from metal.
You also can polish hard metal with a wire wheel—but keep in mind that on softer materials, using a wire wheel is more likely to lead to scratches than a smooth finish. Instead of featuring a cutting or grinding disc, this wheel includes clusters of bristles protruding in a radial formation. These bristles may be slender and straight, or they could be thick and twisted.
The type of wire disc you should get depends on the application you have in mind. The thick, twisted bristles are kind of like coarse grit on a grinder disc. Choose them for tasks that require more speed than precision. Then, switch to straight, fine bristles for work that requires more exactness.
You should always wear safety goggles when you are working with your angle grinder. But it is extra important with a wire wheel, as wires sometimes snap off. That is about the last thing you want flying into your eye. I have seen a lot of novice users ignoring the basic safety practices when with a grinder. I wrote an entire guide on angle grinder safety since this is really important.
Paint Stripping Discs
A wire wheel is not your only option to remove paint. An alternative wheel to consider is a paint stripping disc.
If you are working on a material like wood, fiberglass, or soft metal that you could end up scuffing with a regular wire wheel, a paint stripper may be more suitable.
Instead of wire bristles, a paint stripper wheel features poly-fiber material. It removes paint with efficiency, but should not scratch or scuff the underlying surface. You also can use it to remove epoxy or other residues.
You are probably wondering by this point whether there is a type of disc designed with the specific purpose of polishing in mind. Actually, what you are looking for is a polishing pad, which is also called a “buffing pad.”
A variety of different types of polishing pads are on the market. You will need to choose a material that is right for the surface you are working on. For fine surfaces such as polishing your car, get a buffing wheel made of wool.
It is important to take it slow when you are polishing. If you select too high a speed, you will probably end up damaging your surface. Bigger angle grinders are more likely to offer you speeds that are suitable for the job.
Concrete Grinding Wheels
With the right discs, your angle grinder can not only handle metal but can even grind or polish concrete.
There are assorted shapes of concrete grinding wheels and various grit materials. You can find wheels with silicon carbide grain or diamond grit. The diamond cup wheel is the most widely used type since it can be used on a variety of materials and are durable.
Along with hard abrasive materials, these wheels are made of sturdy materials through and through like durable fiberglass. Such materials not only preserve the life of the wheel but also help it push through concrete. Besides grinding concrete with these types of discs, you can also use them to grind granite, stone, marble, masonry, and similar materials.
Although a concrete grinding wheel can offer great longevity, these tough discs eventually wear down. An old disc becomes increasingly likely to chip during use.
Wood Cutting Discs
A couple of times now, we have mentioned grinding or cutting wood using an angle grinder. But as you already know, quite a few types of discs are only suitable for harder materials. If you attempt to use them to cut or carve wood, you might end up damaging your project.
So, is there such a thing as a wood cutting disc? The answer to that question is “yes.”
Woodcutting discs typically feature a toothed, circular blade. You will notice the tips are often tungsten carbide. The reason manufacturers use carbide tips for wood cutting discs is because carbide is incredibly hard. In fact, if you need to sharpen carbide tips, you will require diamond to get the job done.
Because carbide teeth are so hard, they can make clean cuts through both softwood and hardwood. Not only that, but you can get a lot of use out of them before you need to sharpen or replace them.
What types of wood can wood cutting discs handle? You should have no problem slicing a quality disc through pine, cherry, walnut, oak, mahogany, maple, or any other wood you can name.
Wood Carving Discs
If you want to bring carving, shaping, and grinding into your woodworking, you may need to go beyond wood cutting discs to purchase wood carving discs as well.
These discs also usually include carbide teeth. But instead of a flat disc, a wood carving disc has more of a donut shape to it. The teeth are not located around the edges. Instead, they cover the entire surface of the wheel. Typically, they number in the hundreds.
With this shape, this type of disc is especially ideal for creating a concave surface—say, for example, if you are carving out the interior of a wooden bowl.
Keep in mind that working on wood is a bit different from working on metal or concrete. Those materials are typically homogenous. Wood, on the other hand, has natural contours and knots. When working with a wood carving or cutting disc, you must take care not to let your tool catch on irregular features like these. Some wheels are more prone to this than others.