A bench grinder is an important piece of equipment, and if used properly, can perform several important tasks in the workshop. It has an abrasive wheel or wire brush that turns at a high speed and can be used for polishing, buffing, deburring or sharpening. Bench grinders require a steady hand, concentration on the task and good lighting to prevent serious injury. Here's how to use one safely.
Set up the bench grinder before you plug it in or turn it on. Use the correct wheel for the grinding or polishing job you're doing. There are grinding wheels for soft or hard materials and wheels with wire brushes to clean parts. Make sure there is a 1/16-inch gap between the tool rest and the grinding wheel. As your wheel wears down, this gap increases and may have to be adjusted at times. Your instruction manual will have specifics for adjustments and wheel replacement guidelines for your particular bench grinder.
Keep a pot of water near your grinder if yours doesn't have one built in. You may need to dip the metal you are grinding into the water occasionally to prevent it from getting too hot.
Apply your safety gear, which should include leather gloves, a leather apron and most definitely face and eye protective wear. Plug the grinder in, stand to the side of the wheel and then turn it on. Let the grinder get its speed up before you move in front of the wheel.
Stand in front of the grinding wheel, holding the tool or part you are going to grind firmly against the tool rest. Begin to move it slowly and smoothly forward until it contacts the wheel. If you are working with metal, don't forget to dip it into the water occasionally to cool it down. Extreme changes in temperature may cause metal to become soft or brittle, so the goal is to keep the metal from getting too hot.
Tips & Warnings
- Replace the grinding wheel, following the manufacturer's instructions, if you can no longer adjust the work rest to within 1/16 inches from the grinding wheel or if you have to push into the wheel to make it grind effectively.
- Always apply approved face and eye protection before you turn your bench grinder on and follow all safety precautions in your instruction manual.
- Never remove the safety shield or outer guards on your grinder. If it's damaged or missing, replace it before using the grinder.
- Never grind on the side of the wheel as this may cause the wheel to shatter. Keep your work near the center of the wheel, especially when sharpening on the bench grinder.
- If you install a new grinding wheel, follow the manufacturer's instructions. If improperly installed, it may break and cause serious injury.
How to Use an Angle Grinder
An angle grinder is a heavy duty, two-handed piece of equipment. Large and loud as it may be, it’s not all that...