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Types of Bench Grinders
Some bench grinders are made for one specific use only, while others can be used for a variety of purposes. These are the most typical varieties.
Automotive bench grinder
Metal components can be fabricated and shaped with the automobile bench grinder. It's an effective instrument that's constructed for steadiness and balance. In particular, they excel at routine jobs.
Woodworking bench grinder
Those who work with wood will find this to be the best tool for sharpening their other tools. In comparison to their automotive counterparts, these grinders operate at more manageable rates, making them ideal for finer, more delicate work.
Standard variable speed bench grinder
Finally, the typical variable speed bench grinder provides a high degree of versatility but comes at a price. These grinders include variable speeds and wheel types for a variety of grinding tasks. You'll be able to take on a wider variety of jobs and get more done in less time.
There is a wide variety of bench grinders available, ranging from the standard to the specialized. The 6-inch and 8-inch wheels are the most relevant here.
The 6-inch wheel may spin faster, but the 8-inch one has more applications. They can sharpen more effectively because of their bigger surface area.
The tool's optimal function depends on the material from which the wheels are constructed. Except for wire and buffer wheels, most grinder wheels are available in either 36 grit for rough grinding or 60 grit for fine grinding. Plus, they're constructed from the following elements:
Bench grinders typically come equipped with a variety of grinding wheels, but one of the most popular is the one shown below. One should keep in mind, though, that this particular type of grinding wheel tends to heat up extremely quickly, which might damage the temper in high-quality woodworking tools such as chisels or hand planes.
These wheels are typically used for grinding carbon steel and alloy steel, both of which are hard metals often used in hand tools, and do not heat up as quickly as silicon carbide wheels.
Wire wheels, which feature both steel and brass bristles, can be used to quickly remove grime and grease from mechanical components like valves and fittings. A grinder in a repair shop will almost always have a wire wheel attached to it.
Ceramic aluminum oxide
You'll find this abrasive wheel most useful for aggressively removing bulk material from tough alloys and steel. This is the wheel you need if you need to remove a third of the head from an ax.
Buffing wheels are wheels used to polish steel and metal to a high sheen. They can be made from a variety of thick, brushed textiles. It is common practice for auto-body technicians to use these products while restoring a vehicle to get a mirror-like shine on the hubcaps and other chrome components.
Bench grinders, like many power instruments, are not without some degree of danger. Wearing safety eyewear is a must when using a bench grinder because grinding iron produces sparks and flings shards of metal. Thankfully, the grinders have several built-in safety safeguards that lessen the severity of any potential harm, albeit they can't remove it entirely.
Most bench grinders are equipped with these in the form of transparent acrylic shields that extend over the grinding wheel and protect the user's eyes from flying metal and steel particles. They can get dirty or scraped up over time, but it only means they need to be swapped out.
Those little steel plates between the wheels and the eye guards are there to prevent sparks from flying all over the workshop. There will still be sparks, so it's best to keep flammable materials at least a few feet away from a bench grinder when it's in operation. The spark arrestors will prevent sparks from escaping too far, too.
Bench grinders vary in power, with some manufacturers listing it in amps and others in horsepower. Typically, the motors in 6-inch grinders have a power output of 2.1 amps, or about 1/4 horsepower. Common 8-inch grinders have a power output of 5 amps, or around 3/4 horse power.
While 1-horsepower motors are used in the most powerful bench grinders, these machines are often reserved for commercial or industrial settings and are far too strong for the average homeowner to use.
How do you maintain a bench grinder?
Keep a bench grinder in good working order by regularly cleaning and dressing the grinding wheel. The wheel stone may then grind more effectively without any obstructions.
Can you use a bench grinder on wood?
Putting the finishing touches on a woodworking project with a bench grinder is possible, but you need to use a grinding wheel that is suitable for the wood.
Should I get a 6-inch or 8-inch bench grinder?
If you're just getting started with bench grinders but want to be able to sharpen, clean, and maintain a wide variety of blades and tools, a 6-inch model is a good choice. Professionals are recommended to utilize the bigger 8-inch grinders.
Do I need a variable speed bench grinder?
Sharpening tools for woodworking is best done at a lower speed, whereas grinding down bolt ends and cleaning away rust from auto parts is best done at a faster speed, which can be achieved using a variable speed grinder.
Can a bench grinder be used on wood?
Although a bench grinder is typically used for metal, it can also be used to shape and polish wood. You can sand, cut, shape, buff, smooth, and polish many different kinds of wood using a bench grinder and the correct wheel. However, you shouldn't use a bench grinder on particularly soft woods because it's better suited for working with harder materials.
Can you buff with a bench grinder?
Yes. Most bench grinders have a selection of wheels designed for specific jobs. Carefully evaluate the needs of the job at hand and choose the appropriate wheel.
A bench grinder is a highly effective instrument for a variety of purposes, such as sharpening knives or smoothing out surfaces. These feature extremely robust electric motors that can easily drive their massive grinding wheels.