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Tips for Choosing the Right Grinding Wheel


Tips for Choosing the Right Grinding Wheel

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding on the right grinding wheel for whatever project you’re working on. It doesn’t help the matter when you look online and find a ton of different products that you might not know how to parse. Grinding wheels are essential to getting the right finish on whatever you’re grinding, and you can’t cheap out on them unless you want to have a really difficult time. We’ve compiled a list of tips for choosing the right grinding wheel so that you can make an informed decision about your tools. Bedrock Supplies wants you to have all the information before you buy from us in order to put your mind at ease that the tools and supplies you buy are high quality.

Choosing an Abrasive Material

One of the most important aspects of your grinding wheel is going to be the abrasive that is doing the actual grinding. Not all abrasives are made equal, and you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right type of abrasive for whichever material you happen to be grinding. There are several different types of abrasives:

  • Ceramic aluminum oxide, otherwise known as just ceramic, tends to be a lot harder and sharper than other abrasives. The structure of this abrasive allows it to be self-sharpening and stay cooler while grinding.
  • Zirconia alumina, which is best used for things like high-tech resins, is useful for rough grinding and removing a lot of material at once.
  • Silicon carbide is a very sharp abrasive that is generally kept to grinding softer materials like aluminum, but it can also work on harder materials.
  • Aluminum oxide, which is manufactured at many different qualities, is useful for grinding things with high tensile strength, such as stainless steel.
  • Diamond is the strongest mineral in the world and is useful for many different applications. For example, grinding concrete is a common use for diamond abrasives.

Picking the Right Grit

Once you have the grain—or material—decided on, you’re ready to start thinking about what grit size you need. The grit size will be indicated by a number on all grinding wheels. The number will tell you how many openings are in between each individual abrasive grain. This translates to a higher number of openings that are smaller. A lower number means there are less openings, but they are larger.

The grit size that you need will depend on what you’re grinding and how much material you need to grind away in one pass. Make sure you know which is right for your project. Coarse grits, or a lower grit number, mean that you will be removing more material per pass than with a finer grit. This is most useful when there are many imperfections of different elevations on whatever you’re grinding. A fine grit is used to smooth out the final feel and look of the object or surface. If you need to grind a lot of material away, stick to coarser grit. If you are trying to make your surface look good, you’ll want a much finer grit.

Choosing the right grit should be one of your top concerns. Using the wrong grit can damage whatever you are working on and cause you to spend much longer on a project than would normally be necessary.

Knowing Your Wheel’s Bond Grade

The grade of your grinding wheel refers to the strength in which your abrasives are held to the wheel itself. Without getting too in depth, there are two basic grades that you should know have different uses to them.

  • A soft grade grinding wheel is what you’ll want to use when you need to remove a lot of stock very rapidly. They are also more useful for large areas of contact and are better on harder materials.
  • On the other hand, a hard grade wheel is more useful for softer materials. This is also the grade you want to use when the contact area is either very narrow or small. Hard grade wheels tend to have a longer life overall, as less of their abrasives get torn from the bond with each pass.

Knowing which grade to use is absolutely essential not only for the success of your project, but also for the long-term health of your tools. If you try to use a hard grade on something you need to remove a lot of material from, it will take you much longer and cause undue stress on your grinding wheel.

Referencing the Stock and Material To Be Removed

You’ll need to decide early on what kind of grinding process is needed for your project. As we’ve said, there’s a large difference between jobs that require the removal of a lot of stock and jobs where less stock needs to be removed in order to have a smooth final finish.

When you need to remove a lot of stock in one go, choosing a coarse grit wheel is the best choice for the job. Typically, you’ll want to keep the grit as low as possible, so you don’t have to keep making passes over the same are. Shoot for around 12 to 24 grit for projects that need a lot of stock removed all at once.

For a nice, smooth finish, you’re going to need a much higher grit blade in order to buff out any final imperfections in the material. A good way to know if you’ve achieved the right finish is for your wheel to “spark out,” in other words, when the sparks or debris from grinding stop. This means you’ve achieved the finish that your current grit of blade is able to get.

Now that you have a few tips for choosing the right grinding wheel, you can be more assured in your choice when you buy one from Bedrock Supplies. Our diamond cup wheels, for example, are the highest quality available and are affordable as well. When the time comes to get your hands dirty, Bedrock Supplies wants to be there to help you get the job done right, the first time around. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about our products, as we’ll be happy to answer whatever may be on your mind.

Tips for Choosing the Right Grinding Wheel

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