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Whether at home or out in the field, an angle grinder is an extremely useful tool if you want to grind, sharpen, or cut through stubborn metal, tiles, concrete, and more.
Now, we will talk about the correct angle grinder cutting direction on different materials for the benefit of newbies.
Let’s dive in:
Angle grinder cutting direction: which way should you cut?
Overall, with rotating tools, it’s easier to cut anything in the direction of wheel rotation – you simply orient it so that it rotates and pulls into the workpiece instead of rotating away.
Well, most models have an arrow indicating rotational direction but, to be honest, you even don’t need to check anything- the wheel will immediately turn clockwise once you start it…
Of course, the sparks will be going away from and not toward you with that, which is important for your safety.
The other safety hazard with these machines is the potential kickback because of the immense torque.
Luckily, this is unlikely to occur if you’ve oriented the cutting wheel to spin the same way as the cutting wheel rather than the opposite direction.
That said, sometimes you may experience problems when cutting this way…
For instance, the tool may grab the material and jam.
It may also intermittently ‘jump’ or ‘climb’.
The good thing is that there are tricks you can implement to overcome these challenges even if it may take a bit of practice to become perfect.
Here they are:
1. Use the correct grinder
You should work with a straight grinder when cutting using the side (of the bit) and a 90-degree grinder when you are using the front (if possible).
That way, you’ll have more control of the thrust and you won’t worry about the tool grabbing or pulling at you.
2. Adjust to a higher RPM.
Cutting at the perfect speed (depending on the material you’re cutting) can make a massive difference too.
In fact, apart from maximizing your and the tool’s safety, it may help you finish the job professionally.
And the best part is that you can quickly change its speed to suit the material if you’re working with a variable speed model (check the manual for instructions if lost).
Word of caution: don’t set a super-fast speed because it may become harder for you to control how the disc is slicing into the material.
3. Apply pressure the correct way
Another thing you should consider is putting pressure in the right way.
Note that you only need to apply just enough pressure –and not heavy force- to keep the machine from chattering or bouncing as you cut.
Now, for the most part, you should try to use your two hands and have a firmer grip (but not too much).
This hack can, however, be impossible to execute properly if you’re not holding the angle grinder the right way.
With that in mind, we will next explain how you’re supposed to hold this invaluable piece of equipment to get the most out of it.
How to hold and Angle grinder for maximum control
As hinted above, the key to a smooth operation is controlling the amount of pressure you’re applying to the tool.
Here is the thing: For maximum control, you must hold the equipment in front but away from you using both hands.
Be sure to keep the cutting wheel clear of your workpiece while at it.
Then, for the best results, ensure that the angle grinder stays tilted at a 90 degrees angle to the surface you’re cutting.
Lastly, ensure that you’re continuously cutting at a balanced, consistent pace.
Tip: An easy way of telling that you’re holding the machine wrongly is by checking the direction the sparks are flying – you’re doing it incorrectly if they’re battering your face.
What to do if the tool still jams
If, after all this, the cutting wheel still jams, it’s advisable to switch off the machine instantly and pull the cutting disc from the cutline to check the disk for cracks.
You can also try to use a sliding/rocking motion still in the angle grinder cutting direction — move the cutting wheel into then through your workpiece instead of straight down.
Is it safe to remove the guard?
Of course, there is a guard to keep the loose particles from your face.
Interestingly, some folks claim that the guard significantly limits the equipment’s range and try to use the tool with the guard removed.
However, you should never use your angle grinder minus the guard, especially not when you’re just starting out.
And it all comes down to your safety…
You see, attempting to use the tool with guard removed shall result in loose particles (think of sparks and shrapnel) getting thrown toward you and could result in severe personal injury..
A word on guard adjustment
The other thing you should ensure is proper guard adjustment before starting to cut.
This should not be a big bother because the owners’ manual typically indicates the position where guards should always be placed for a safe operation.
Most importantly, never position the guard such that it’s covering a part of the front of your angle grinder (please refer to your owners manual for the right guard placement).
Failure to obey this advice will again see sparks and other loose particles thrown by the wheel toward you potentially causing injuries.
Tips to maximize the performance of your cutting wheel
In addition to maintaining the correct angle grinder cutting direction all through, there are several good practices you should follow to maximize the performance of your grinder.
We look at them below…
· Secure your workpiece firmly on the bench
When your workpiece is not clamped properly, it can move and slide as you’re cutting it.
You should hence clamp your material near the cutline to prevent vibrations which can lead to an uneven cut and damage the cutting disk.
· Choose the right wheel for the job
When it comes to grinding, there is no way around but to pick the right wheel for the job.
Having the right disk will not only reduce the time you will take to complete the job but also produces quality work.
It’s important to choose properly since some wheels are designed for grinding while others are meant for cutting.
It is always advisable to first test this tool in a safe environment before subjecting it to the actual job. This will point out any malfunction on the part of the grinder as well as show if a disc is defective.
Furthermore, ensure that the protective guard is in place before using the machine and wear gloves that provide a good grip while using your grinder.
One last thing: Always put on protective gear and read the user’s manual well before using your angle grinder.