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Educate me on Angle Grinders

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  • Educate me on Angle Grinders

    I am going to need an Angle Grinder for a couple small projects this summer so I just started looking at them. I anticipate that it will be a limited use tool so I would like to stay on the south side of the $100 mark. I was reading some of the user reviews on Amazon and some stated that the stock guard could not be used with masonry wheels on some of the less expensive models, why would that be? I’m not leaning toward any particular brand or model yet and I will gladly solicit any input. I did notice that the Metabo model (Ridgid Clone) received some very favorable reviews.



  • #2

    yes woodslayer, metabo has been king of the grinders for a long time now(and ridgid is a clone from metabo as alot of there corded tools are)but as of late there have been some problems,but for limited use and care of the tool that grinder will last along time.(the ones i see come out of steelmills and foundries were they are beat to the ridgid has all the same guts as a metabo right down to the part numbers. now bosch and makita have made great advances and are making a better grinder in my of wheels if it is the size of the grinder there should be no problem.(a41/2 grinder takes a wheel of that size).
    A fishing pole is the best cordless tool!


    • #3
      About 5 years ago I bought a no name, HF type quality, 4½" angle grinder. IIRC, I paid about $15 bucks for it. I haven't used it on masonry but I have used it for small metal grinding jobs, cutting some rebar and metal channel and of course as a lawn mower blade sharpener. For the few and far between jobs that I need an angle grinder for this el cheapo has served me well in the past and still has alot of life left in it. You might want to consider trying one of these first before plunking down a $100 bill for a more professional model. Heck, you can go through a few of the cheapos and still not come near that $100 figure. Just my 2¢ worth.
      ================================================== ====
      All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.


      • #4

        I'm not familier with why a masonry wheel couldn't be used with an angle grinder as long as you use a grinding wheel that is designed for mansonry and it is the proper size for your particular grinder. Checking the few catalogs that I have, I do not see any accessory guards just for masonry purposes.

        Regarding your wish to stay under $100, I wouldn't think that would be difficult. Home Depot carries five grinders and only the Makita 7" is over that range at $144. Similarly, the 2006 Craftsman catalog has five angle grinders (including one DeWalt) and only their 7" is over your limit at $107.

        I needed an angle grinder last year and I looked at the Ridgid, as well as a few others. While I liked the Ridgid model with its heavier duty motor and much better warranty. I didn't need a tool of that caliber as my usage was going to be minimal. I needed to take apart an old furnace (grinding off some very old bolt heads and rivets) and evening up some chisel cut masonry.

        What I didn't like about most of the grinders was the location of the on/off switch and the overall bulk of the body as you held it in your hand; for me, it was tough to grip securely. Most had a slide, lock-type switch which I thought a bit cumbersome to operate, especially in consideration of my novice, first-time use. I ended up buying the Ryobi 4-1/2" grinder because it was the only medium-sized grinder I saw, which had a pistol-grip handle with a normal trigger. (The trigger can also locked on with a conventionable lock button.) The larger, 7" Makita ($170) was also designed that way. In any case, the Ryobi (AG451K) worked very and came with metal grinding wheel, wire brush, and flap disk, all in a fitted case for $45. It worked out very well for me, but I have yet to try it on masonry, as I took another approach.

        Last edited by CWSmith; 03-30-2006, 11:29 AM.


        • #5
          My 2-1/2 cents
          If you are going to use a angle grinder for a lot masonary work, I would recommend using a diamond wheel. They are available in almost all sizes, costing more upfront, but last for ever. A "Type 1" guard is usually required when using any cut off wheel (Type 1).
          Unless you are the lead Dog, the scenery does not change...


          • #6
            Normally, I bleed Orange. Just so happens that a few years ago my old B&D from the early 80s burned up. Company replaced it with Yellow.(Dewalt) and it has been great. Around $70 I think.
            info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."


            • #7
              I have the Ridgid grinder and have really liked it. We also use an old black and decker grinder that has also worked well. As far as not using the stock guard w/a masonry blade, I'm unsure of that. The only thing I can think of is because of the excessive dust made, they may recommend using a larger guard to try and move the dust away from the operator better. I usually carry the hose for my shop vac with me when we do any masonry grinding inside. The dust is TERRIBLE. I also agree w/previous posts that going cheaper for such a minimal use tool is the way to go. Like I said, we have about a 10 year old black and decker that works great still. As far as triggers, etc. I like the ones that you can lock in the on position. The Ridgid has the locking trigger and the black and decker does not, so you can't move your hand around on the tool if you ever need to. You always have to have your one hand holding in on the trigger.


              • #8

                Reason the stock guard may not work with masonry wheel.

                Most grinders are designed to use an offset grinding wheel. The center of the wheel is depressed so the threaded shaft and attaching nut do not project out as far as the face of the grinding wheel.

                A cutting wheel, including the diamond wheels, are flat. On some grinders the flat wheel, because it does not have the mounting recess, will interfere with the guard. In that case you must remove the guard.

                Years back Makita was the only manufacturer making a diamond blade for a 4" grinder. I used up a lot of those blades and grinders. The makita grinder was crap, but the blade was proprietary. I figured I would use about 2 blades per grinder. Their tools are throw-aways.

                Now you can get a standard size diamond blade that will fit a standard grinder. I've long since dumped the Makita's.


                • #9
                  angle grinders

                  I have a 4 1/2" angle grinder by Makita. I posted on another thread that this is my favorite tool due to it's versatility. I've used it for saw cutting concrete in horizontal slabs, vertical walls and concrete ceilings (reenforced concrete is no problem with it. I've also used it to make round cuts in both bathroom tile and floor tile. when I cut concrete or tile I use a diamond blade. I use a metal blade for cutting steel, a general abrasive disk for removing paint off of both wood and metal.

                  The guard on the Makita is removable but I keep it on for safety. I may adjust it so as to maximize the depth of cut or to maximize the length of cut.

                  CWSmith's comment about the location of the on-off switch is right on but I have long since gotten accustomed to turning the switch on. sometimes the switch accidently gets turned off when I'm using the grinder due to my hand pushing on the switch but I would rather have that happen than have the blade locked on.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the replies; you guys brought out a lot of good points. I like that idea of a throwaway grinder Badger so I looked on the HF website. They have a 12,000 rpm grinder for $11, that is less than a dollar per 1000 rpm’s, how can they do that, I’m a little skeptical of self-detonation. The $40 Ryobi that CW suggested may be a worthy compromise but I will have to get the feel of them in my own hands and check out the switch issues brought up before deciding.

                    Thanks again for all the feedback and insight.



                    • #11
                      If there is a way to keep the guard in place you should use it. On some angle grinders the bottom nut can be inverted which will yield a flat surface to face up to the diamond wheel. Do the same with the outer nut and you should be good. That's how my older Metabo works anyway.

                      But the bottom line is keep the guard on. Years ago I had some grinding to do in a tight spot. I had a 1/16" cutting wheel fitted on an air-powered 4-1/2" angle grinder. It was Fall so I was wearing a light pair of leather gloves. After a few hours of using the grinder my hands were getting cold, the air running through the metal grinder body drew all the heat out of my hands. I would have to stop now and then to warm them up. Anyway, While grinding I saw a bit of white in the exhaust coming off the wheel, so I stopped. Good thing I did as the white stuff turned out to be the leather of my glove!! Took the glove off my cold hand and found the wheel had made a neat cut right through the glove and about 1/8" deep in my ring finger. The wheel was so hot it seared the cut and it never bled. It healed up OK and after a few months the was no trace of the mark so I did not end up with a scar.

                      Why did this happen?

                      Cold temperatures and NO GUARD on the grinder!!
                      I had obtained permission from Safety to remove the guard which was a requirement on the job. Safety and the Foreman had to agree that it was necessary to remove the guard and that there was no other way to perform the task. So even though I was aware of the danger it happened anyway.

                      Keep your guard up and keep the guard on.
                      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



                      Time, cost, or quality; pick any two but you can't have all three.


                      • #12
                        ryobi angle grinder

                        I'll second the vote for the $40 Ryobi angle grinder. I don't usually buy cheapo tools, but for the little I have ever used an angle grinder before, I didn't want to spend a pile when I finally really needed one for a single job. Since I got it, though, I've found lots of uses for it and the little Ryobi has worked fine. I actually preferred the ergonomics of this unit to ANY of the others, regardless of price, that HD had on display. The side-handle angle and the switch location and operation make it very comfortable to use.

                        And then recently HD had this incredible deal on a pile of about seven Yellow cordless tools for $600, and they'd discount it $300 for opening a new commercial account. Now THAT was a deal! In the package was their cordless 18V angle grinder. That is one sweet tool. Just as nice to use as the Ryobi, and no cord!
                        Unanswered Questions
                        are far less dangerous
                        than Unquestioned Answers.


                        • #13
                          " ...that is less than a dollar per 1000 rpm’s, how can they do that,... "

                          They can do that because they pay their people dirt and KILL many of them every day. In the chinese mining industry alone (run by the government) they KILL on average 16 people EVERY DAY !!!

                          I'll admit that mining is (in the US anyway) a more dangerous job than putting parts together on an assembly line for grinders or any other hand power tool but still if they don't care about the miners why would they care about anyone else?
                          "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



                          Time, cost, or quality; pick any two but you can't have all three.


                          • #14
                            My bucks worth

                            After reading somebody's 2 cents worth I realized you get what you pay for here as well as with tools. I have worked study in steel shops for 35 years and see and/or use grinders every day of work. Cheep grinders are made cheaply with gears of untreated cheep alloys that wear out quickly. Most you can't even change the brushes in them because they are not expected to last that long.

                            A type 1 guard is required by OSHA when using thin blades like the diamond ones used to cut ceramic and cement. They cover both sides of the blade so as to contain the pieces if the blade should break. Type 27 and 28 guards, that only cover the top, are for thicker blades that do not explode when bound up, they just kick back. Only in large corporations are the type 27 or 28 guards not removed from all the grinders by the employees that have to use them. Even though OSHA fines for not using the guards we will not use them because they get in the way and cause kickbacks. Everybody that uses an angle grinder as part of their everyday job gets cut and I have seen a couple of very bad ones. These things make a blades thickness cut right to the bone, and still we use no guards.

                            I cut tile with a 4 1/2" grinder at home and would never use a thin blade without a type 1 guard. They cost about $25 but I made mine from a type 27 guard.

                            IMHO Milwaukee makes recipitating saws, Hitachi makes nail guns and DeWalt makes angle grinders.


                            • #15
                              I finally got around to purchasing an Angle Grinder and decided on this one
                              I got it for $78 delivered to my door, it is real smooth with plenty of power and does it ever like to scream but I think that is the nature of the beast. The body also gets quite warm after about 20 minutes of running, I don’t know if that is attributable to the 10 amps of it is indicative of that type of tool. Thanks to all who helped with my decision, I probably ended up with more tool than I needed but that never hurt anyone.