They say a craftsman is known for his tools. Still, having the best tool isn’t enough if you don’t know how to work with it.
If you want to cut metal precisely, just having a grinder isn’t enough. Just holding the grinder on the metal or pushing it hard won’t do the job for you either. Cutting of a metal by an angle grinder requires a lot of preparation. The procedure is also more critical than you think.
Precise cutting of metal depends 80% on your workability and 20% on your tool. Together they bring out the 100% result for you. The best angle grinder equipped with the best angle grinder wheel is the combination that is required to cut metal.
We asked our panel of experts how they cut metal using an angle grinder. You will be happy to know that all of them follow the same process. This narrowed the process to some simple steps.
We have shared the process the same way they explained. We are confident that after this article you will know how to use an angle grinder to cut metal.
Selecting a metal cutting wheel for your job:
An efficient wheel can cut the metal like butter. But it's tough to meet a precise wheel unless you pay heed to the performing parameters. So whenever you are making the purchase, look for the following factors warily.
Depending on the materials you cut, there are different types of wheels. If you are dealing with hard metals, then you should go for finer grit size. But for the comparatively soft kind of metals, coarse grit size wheels work the best. So while buying the wheel, consider your material type gravely.
Many of us overrides considering the shape. It is an empty-headed verdict. The material shape might be in several forms. You can't cut off all shapes with the same wheel. To get the best service, there is no arguing considering the shape of the metal.
Type of machine:
You just don’t buy a wheel and start working with it. You should know which wheel will work better with your device. Your grinder might demand some specific pick. And I am very sure you won't appreciate the new purchase of a grinder for your wheel you bought.
So, Find out the best cut-off wheel for metal according to your grinder requirements.
Some grinder owns breakneck speed, and not all the wheels are compatible with the same angle grinder. You also have to be sure that the RPM you get from the grinder is enough to cut your metal.
So, it is important that you know the required RPM to cut metal. Once you know it, it gets easier to select one. The experts suggest using wheels that can deliver 13,000RPM or above.
As is the evil, so is the remedy. Let's say, your material is so big. That means a small wheel will take a long time to cut or might even break down. You should go for a wheel that is large in diameter. On the other hand, if the metal you are going to cut is small, then choose one of small diameter.
Dry or wet:
You have to consider that, in which situation you will do your work. For example, we can say, if you work on a wet surface, there is a specific kind of wheel to polish and dry the surface first. Then you can use your cutter wheel. There are no requirements of such if your surface is dry.
Safety comes first :
Safety matters, right?
It's essential to ensure enough safety, especially when you are handling sharp stuff. Let's see what security measures you should keep in mind-
Protect your eyes:
It won't be a wise decision to start working using an angle grinder without protecting your eyes. A silly mistake can cause irreplaceable harm.
Wear the eye goggles before start cutting. Make sure the eye goggles are well protected. Because, working with metal emerges a lot of hot sparkles in the air. That's why you should consider eye safety before anything else.
And not only the eye goggles but also a face shield for grinding to protect your face from unrestrained sparkles. If the sparkle reaches your face anyway, it has the potential to harm there enough. So, you can’t rely only on the eye goggles only.
Let me make it clear again, When you are cutting a metal, you are doing a risky job. Once you start cutting, there are high possibilities some unexpected situations may arrive. So the regular shoes are not enough to protect your feet. You have to put on specialized boots while working with the grinder. They are fireproof and don't catch fire easily. Carry a pair with you always.
There is no way ignoring your cloth fittings no matter how you look. Put on a suitable cloth while working with sharp stuff. Why?
The loose garment doesn't follow the body movement right away. If the grinder bites your clothes anyway, it can be hazardous.
Else, you might get electric shock or spark anyhow. You can't overlook any possibilities, whether it is tiny or large.
Besides, a fitting cloth will allow you to use the angle grinder with enough comfort.
If anything is in the topmost risk, then it's your hands. If somehow you show any negligence and anything wrong occurs, then that can be a really big issue.
That's why to secure your hands, wear a pair of well-upholstered hand gloves so that the edgy wheel can't reach your wrist even by accident.
The surrounding must be clear for a comfortable cut. Keep the workplace free as much as possible. And make sure you have a perfect floor to work. It should be completely dry and isn’t slippery at all.
Once you are done with the safety measures, you are ready to go.
Preparing the base metal:
Now it's time to prepare the metal before starting to cut. At the very beginning, consider a flat surface. All of your efforts can be ruined if the cut gets inappropriate because of any misplacement of the metal.
Then clamp the metal with a table or any sturdy frame. Make sure you clamp it tightly because after a while, it is going to take a significant amount of pressure. If it nods you know the consequences.
After placing it accurately, clean the metal with a brush, so that it is clean. If the metal contains any rust, rub it with something stiff or use a wire brush and then make the cut.
Before cutting, make sure the metal is completely dry. A wet surface can make it difficult for you.
Preparing the grinder:
Time to prepare your grinder!
Preparing the grinder is simple. I hope you have found the compatible wheel for your grinder. Once you get that, open the spindle and put the wheel inside. Ensure that the wheel sits and fits perfectly.
Otherwise, the wheel might not rotate smoothly. Set the screws and bolts.
Now your grinder is ready for work.
Here comes the most awaiting part. Once all the soldiers are ready, then you can start the work. Switch on the button and start grinding. Make sure no other body part comes into contact while starting the machine.
Hold the machine with enough power. As the grinder will work at tremendous speed, it will create continuous jerking. So, you should hold it tight. A strong grip is necessary to handle such power.
Secondly, make a plan for how you want to cut it. Don't move the grinder here and there. When you change the direction, do it according to the plan. If you just turn it anyway, it will be challenging to meet a smooth edge. Cutting straight doesn’t require any planning. Mark the metal using a pencil or chalk. Then follow the line and cut. You can damage the workpiece if you don’t have a plan to follow.
Remember, you should not force the grinder to cut. Allow the grinder to cut the metal automatically. Putting a bit of pressure helps, but unnecessary pressure might cause a fracture.
Once you are done with cutting, notice the edge; some work still needs to be done. The sharp edge needs some polishing to make it smooth.
To make it perfect, you need to remove the regular wheel and insert a 40-grit flapper. It will fix the edges instantly. Smoothening the edges is equally important as well.
Using a grinder is neither easy nor tough. It is all about the skills and pre-doings. You can't have the craft in a short time. It needs some time to gain expertise in any field.
But if you know the whole process, being skilled will be a matter of time. So, follow the instructions carefully. Soon you will be a real expert.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
How thick of metal can an angle grinder cut?
Ans: The ability of a grinder to cut metal totally depends on how powerful your angle grinder is. The diameter and RPM of the cutting wheel is equally important as well. If you want to cut a metal that is really thick then use an angle grinder that has a strong motor. Having a strong motor can handle the high RPM of the cutting disc. The higher the RPM and the diameter, the more thick metal you can cut by an angle grinder.
Can you cut Aluminum with an angle grinder?
Ans: Cutting aluminum with an angle grinder can be harmful for you. Being high speed it can melt the aluminum. This will jam the blade and shatter the blade,or fly back to you. Either way the consequence can be nasty. Use a hacksaw instead. Use kerosine as lubricant but not petroleum. Petroleum catches fire easily and this is risky.
Can you cut a weld with a grinder?
Ans: There are several ways of undoing a weld. Cutting a weld with a grinder is one of them. How? Use a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder with a cutting wheel to slice through the weld. Hold the grinder perpendicular (45 degree) and cut through. Later use the grinder to smoothen it. ,
Can an angle grinder cut through steel?
Ans: The combination of an angle grinder with an abrasive cut-off wheel can cut through any type of metal. You can cut angle iron, rebar, sheet metal, and steel with ease. Cut slowly as the disc wears down quickly. We recommend using the diamond edge blade instead.