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Angle grinders: buffing?

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  • Angle grinders: buffing?

    I'm looking at handheld angle grinders. Main uses are for cutoff wheels and wire wheels. Maybe some sanding... What I would really like to add, though, is buffing. For work that is too large or too heavy to bring to the pedestal mounted buffer. Looking at my options for angle grinders, I'm a little confused.

    •Can a standard 4-1/2" angle grinder be used with a buffing wheel? i.e. are there 4" buffs that will mount?
    •Maybe the minimum would be a 6" angle grinder for buffing wheels that would mount?
    •Maybe they can't mount at all, and a straight grinder would be required?

    I'm not at all interested in buying a handheld straight grinder only for buffing. I can't imagine using it enough as a single purpose tool. An angle grinder, though, I can see using quite a bit for cutoff mostly. Wire wheels second. What say ye? I've never owned or even used an angle grinder. I own die grinders and the rest of my wire wheel stuff has been done in a standard drill. I swore off using abrasive cutoff wheels in my die grinder a long time ago. It needs a guard! Even with the awareness to stay out of the peripheral line of sparks, I never felt comfortable with the full 360° shower. Especially indoors Maybe I need a little practical advice on how far a small-ish angle grinder's usefulness extends (or not). Thanks in advance for the help.

  • #2
    Too manhy RPM's and a typical buffing bonnet will generate heat, causing it to load up with melted 'stuff'. Miserable mess when trying to clean, clear up the plastic headlamps on wife's car. BTDT



    • #3
      Regarding RPM's, though, there are the variable speed models out there... Milwaukee 6117-33D. 2800 rpm still too fast?
      Last edited by Arthur.Marks; 03-23-2014, 02:10 PM.


      • #4
        I f you want it slower plug it into a router speed contol


        • #5
          Hmmm... I've wandered the internet for information for a bit now and have come to the conclusion: it's not a good idea. I guess I always assumed an angle grinder could use a buff. Guess not. I'll stick to the straight shank adapter in the drill for buffing. So how about flap wheels or abrasive pads equivalent to Scotchbrite?? Do those exist and are usable on a standard 4-1/2" angle grinder


          • #6
            "flap wheels" as opposed to "flap discs", you can but might have to mess around with arbors and adapters (Norton also has a neat sort of replacement pre-made slide in part system that does have that common angle grinder thread but you end up with wheels nearly 8" in diameter).

            "abrasive pads equivalent to Scotchbrite", again, sort of, "non-woven" but think more like a "disc" as opposed to flap wheel (its the orientation detail); but IMO more common are the quick change type (2 or 3 various ways of attaching but no wrenches and nuts involved) for die grinders (or at least that is what I use them with). You can get them pre-mounted on various size shafts (sort of like a soft mounted point, and there are versions half way between in terms of "solid" versus "flap") but none, that I can see quickly, as wheels specifically for angle grinders.

            I use both quite a bit (disc)...I have been keeping an eye open for one of those old B&D "Workwheel" since that orientation comes in handy from time to time, using discs a lot of the time but you do run into the occasional corner which is really awkward to get to with the disc/angle grinder (I have found a quick change on die grinder solves about 99% of those awkward locations). There are also pneumatic drums that fit to the thread of an angle grinder but you need to be careful about overall length (I don't use them).

            What you directly ask about is likely out there but less common IMO. I am thinking of those who install things like stainless hand rails for stairs, the disc orientation and size is just not going to work well in some situations whereas a flap wheel could...
            bit of an aside but I repair heavy wire baskets several times per year and have tried all sorts of various ways to clean pre-weld and also clean for paint post weld and I think where I am going to end up this next time will be with a sort of "BearTex" small diameter wheel mounted in the die grinder and just use pressure so the non-woven material just conforms to the size of the wire (that way it "wraps" around the wire as opposed to having to move from side to side to side to side etc.)
            Last edited by RussZHC; 03-23-2014, 05:31 PM.


            • #7
              I've had a small Makita angle grinder for thirty years, and it gets a lot of use for grinding, sanding, cleaning up welds, cutting sheet metal, de-rusting steel and in the first stages of polishing the stainless jewellery I make.
              You can get 3M's Roloc discs, a kind of scotchbrite pad on steroids, to fit an angle grinder. They come in different grades and are extremely useful. I use heaps of them. There are other makes, too, which do as good a job.
              For buffing, I use a wheel in an old drill press, which is no good for you, Arthur, if you want to take the tool to the work. For that, you do need a dedicated tool, not an angle grinder.


              • #8
                When I buff cars or trucks I start with heavy cutting sometimes which calls for like 200-500rpm(ish).

                A finish buff with light pressure you may get away with the angle grinder.


                • #9
                  Back up a bit... 2800 rpm on that variable speed model has got to be within the usable range It just hit me that my 6" pedestal buffer spins at 3450 rpm! That would be equivalent to ~5175 rpm for a 4" buffing wheel.

                  I now realize I've muddled my terminology. I had to take a refresher on "wheel" versus "disc." It does look like there are some "abrasive bristle discs" that are intended for finer finishing work on an angle grinder. The Roloc discs indeed look useful too. I'd like to especially thank Russ and Mike for their specificity. I truly am uninformed on the media options out there. I never had one of these grinders, so I never gave it much attention.


                  • #10
                    Off topic a bit, just a neat item, if you ever get an opportunity, take a look at Norton's "abrasive brushes", they have ones that should work on the smaller angle grinders ...think really large bristles on a round brush/disc. Nylon bristles/fingers that are imbedded with abrasive.
                    Local supplier recommended them for contoured surfaces that are complicated, places where you may have to press too hard to get something like the non-woven blending discs into depressions (risk damage to the surface above, cutting in too much) since, in effect the bristles are vertical and fairly long, they can flex and move a lot. I have not tried them as for me the non-woven discs do about what I need (blending welds and stripping) and they are pretty pricy.
                    Last edited by RussZHC; 03-23-2014, 09:56 PM. Reason: not wearing glasses like I should, wrong keyss


                    • #11
                      I bought a polisher/sander shop soiled in a local hardware store, it came with a backing disk and a couple of 80 grit and so on 7 inch disks, i thought nothing of it as i wanted to polish a scratch out of my bathtub, anyway it did that ok with a sponge and some cutting cream but some time later i decided to try the disks, im glad i did, dressing welds is brilliant with a slower disk, really takes the lumps off
                      I use it more for descaling and grinding than the angle grinder.
                      Defiantly worth having