Disk grinders are a tool used primarily for removing stock from a metal work piece with a rotating abrasive disk.
Portable, hand-held disk grinders are commonly found in auto repair shops and home workshops, as well as in industrial settings. Bench-mounted disk grinders are available for home shops, and larger floor model disk grinders and double disk grinders are part of a group of machines called surface grinding machines.
One of the most popular applications for portable disk grinders is smoothing out welds.
When two pieces of metal are welded together, the joint is characterized by a raised and uneven section of dried molten metal, which must be smoothed over for aesthetic reasons. The operator presses the face of rotating disk against the metal surface and it grinds away excess metal and smooth’s it in the same way a disk sander operates. A welded joint that’s been smoothed with a disk grinder is often painted.
Portable disk grinder also called angle grinder can be used as a cutting tool when a cutoff disk is attached. These are relatively thin, very hard abrasive disks, often with diamond chips incorporated into the design. When a cut off disk is used, the edge of the disk, not the face, is pressed into the work piece. When used for cutting, a disk grinder can quickly slice through sheet metal, hence its utility in rescue work.
Many different types of disks are manufactured for disk grinders, making them extremely versatile. The same tool can be used for grinding, cutting, and polishing, making the tool useful not only in shop and industrial applications, but for rescue work as well. Another application for hand-held disk grinders is metal sculpture; most artists who make large metal sculptures routinely employ disk grinders.
Disk grinders are also available in large, heavy freestanding designs for grinding and polishing larger work pieces, as well as for grinding and polishing tools and other metal parts. The work pieces are secured in a work holding device called a chuck, which secures work pieces either magnetically or by use of a vacuum, and feeds them into the grinding area.