The old saying is if you aren’t a good welder, you better be a good grinder, is unfortunately true. But it also applies to a good welder. Grinding and cutting are inherent in welding and there is simply no way around it. If you have a welder, you will need a hand held portable grinder. A grinder is needed for cleaning up the weld area before and after the weld. The design of the grinder also allows for interchangeable disks and accessories. It can also be used to wire brush mill scale, spatter and paint away. One primary use is for joint preparation. It can also be used with extremely thin abrasive disks to cut material apart. It can be used even as a surgical instrument for cutting out small grooves in cast iron or small welds without warping or disturbing other material. In fact, for people on a limited budget, the hand held grinder is a must. It can substitute in most cases for a bad saw, chop saw or other cutting devices. With a little practice, a hand held angle grinder can be used almost as accurately as any band saw. For cutting expanded metal, it is as efficient as any plasma cutter. For grinding, there are a couple of options with either a hard abrasive disk, or a flexible flap disk composed of overlapping pieces of emory paper, both available in different grades of coarseness. The flap disk is great for light cleanup and polishing off mill scale to a shine.
All things considered, the angle grinder is versatile player, though serious consideration must be put toward safe operation. The grinding and cutting activity can be particularly dangerous. One of the largest problems is flying sparks, which can bounce into the eye or even start something on fire. The abrasives can also detonate if they are damaged while grinding. A detonating grinder wheel has been known to cause death even. So, it’s obvious an investment in good gloves, protective grinding shields/glasses and even flame retardant clothing is necessary. Never grind anything without all the needed protective equipment in place. Don’t let the protective gear discourage you though, because a good, small angle grinder is your assist player when you are welding.