As a contractor or construction worker, it is essential to learn how to use an angle grinder to cut metal. You should also understand the ropes if you love performing DIY home workshop projects. The name of this tool gives a clue into its purpose.
An angle grinder is a vital tool. It can be used for grinding, cutting, wire brushing, and sanding. But in this guide, we shall talk about how to cut metal using this device. As a power tool, it can be dangerous when misused.
Though the market floods with various tools for cutting metal, an angle grinder would be the best choice. Thanks to its ability to switch from one accessory to another. Based on your needs, you can also run this tool on different wheels. Follow the following step-by-step process to cut metal using this tool.
5 Steps to Cut Metal Using an Angle Grinder:
Step 1: Assemble the Required Tools
It is not possible to carry out this process without the necessary materials. The first thing to do is to look for suitable materials to use and assemble them. You will require the following tools;
- The metal to cut
- Angle grinder
- Power source or outlet
- Metal disc
- Measurement tool
- 40-grit flapper
Working with any tool requires safety precautions. You will need to have the following safety tools;
- Safety boots
- Eye goggles
Step 2: Prepare the Grinder
After collecting everything you require in the cutting process, you need to make the grinder ready. Start choosing the right cutting disc blade. It depends on the metal type to cut. Mostly, cutting disc blades with standard-width cut various metal types.
Diamond-edged blades are suitable for extra-dense metal. After installing the ideal disc, mark out the intended line to cut. You will also need to do this with the metal piece you want to cut through directly.
The best way to do this is by using a measurement tool to measure the correct lines and chalk to mark them out. You may need to cut a design on the metal piece or a straight line. Whichever the case, ensure to mark the outline correctly.
It’s not hard to cut out a straight line. You only need to mark from end to end using a linear object like a ruler and chalk. Then cut through the marked-out line without straying. The metal’s corners may be tricky to cut. For excellent results on such areas, cut slightly above the marked line.
Highlighting the entire pattern and etching the stretch areas using an awl will help you cut out complicated patterns such as zigzags and curves.
Remember to unplug the grinder from the socket or power source. Then ensure all the parts are appropriately fixed and fastened.
Step 3: Secure the Metal Piece
After setting up your grinder ready for cutting, you will need to prepare the metal piece to perform the process. The best way to secure the metal is by clamping it down. You shouldn’t forget this step because unsecured metal scoots around when cutting and can be dangerous. It may slip and cut your hand or leg.
A large and heavy metal sheet may not need clamping, but it’s a must for rebar and a loose sheet of metal. Before cutting, use a C-clamp to secure your regular piece of metal. Remember, you need to mark out where to cut on the metal before clamping.
Step 4: Put on the Grinder and Begin Cutting
When your metal is ready and safe for cutting, plug the grinder into a power source and put it on. As a beginner, you may need to hold the tool firmly as its vibration may shock you. Then give it some time for the active blade to acquire full speed. Carefully lower the rotating edge at the beginning of the marked line for cutting.
You will need to apply some pressure at this point. Don’t get scared when you see flying metal debris and sparks. It gets expected when the blade starts cutting your piece of metal. While placing the edge on the intended cutting line, ensure you exert enough force to make the starting cut.
Then continue working out the cut through the marked outline to the end. You should be through within one or two passes when cutting a thin metal sheet. Thicker metal pieces such as rebar require approximately three to four passes to have them cleave apart.
It is essential to maintain the blade on the outline. Otherwise, you may end up with an offline rev or none precise cuts. When the grinder starts slowing down, don’t stop cutting. Move it back and forth on the cutting line until you finish.
Step 5: Wind up the Cutting
Turn off the grinder immediately after you finish cutting the metal. Ensure you also switch off its power source and plug it out. A faulty switch may still allow power to pass through even when put off. Such a case can be dangerous because you may hurt yourself with a grinder.
After cutting the metal, the cut edges are usually very sharp. Avoid touching them, for you can get cut. Then remove the disc blade and insert a 40-grit flapper. Return the plug into the power source and switch it on. Then put on the grinder.
Run the 40-grit flapper onto the metal’s sharp edges until they become smooth. Do not rush the process. Do it slowly for optimal results. Please switch off the grinder and unplug it from the power source after use. Voila! You have successfully cut your metal using an angle grinder.
It is important to note that you may not get it the first time you try cutting metal using an angle grinder. It shouldn’t make you worry because practice makes perfect. If you love doing things with your hands, cutting metal using this tool is an excellent DIY home project. Like other electrical tools, an angle grinder may be harmful if mishandled.
What to Avoid When Using an Angle Grinder
- Most mistakes that violate your safety when using an angle grinder result from poor operation and implementation of the parts. Before switching on your tool, ensure that all components get installed properly.
- Do not use shortcuts to operate an angle grinder. Always use the correct method of running it, taking into account all the safety precautions.
- Avoid balancing or securing the metal getting cut with your free hand. You may get injured by the metal piece, active saw, or the sparks produced. Always secure the metal with a c-clamp for cutting.
- Don’t force the tool’s disc to cut through the metal. Change the blade to that with a higher cutting ability if facing any resistance. If you don’t have another edge to exchange with, try running a few passes on the marked cut line. Direct force may destroy or make the blade astray.
The above information of using an angle grinder to cut thick metal may be detailed, but you still have some questions lingering in your mind. Here are answers to frequently asked questions to help you solve some of your concerns.
1. Is There a Difference Between a Cut Off Device and an Angle Grinder?
Yes. As explained above, an angle grinder comes with multiple uses, while a cut off tool cuts surfaces only. For the grinder, you only need to change the disc to use it for other purposes.
2. Is It Safe to Use an Angle Grinder?
The safety of this device depends on you. If you mishandle it and avoid safety precautions like unplugging it from the power source after use, you may hurt yourself. Fortunately, most grinders come installed with protective guards.
But this shouldn’t be a reason for not being careful when using a grinder. You may never know; the safety guards may be absent or faulty. If you follow the above guide clearly, you shouldn’t worry about any dangers.
3. Can You Use an Angle Grinder to Cut Steel?
Yes. But you need to insert the correct disc. Because steel is robust, your discs may wear out quicker than when using them to cut the standard metal.
Angle grinders are essential tools both at home and places of work. You can use it to cut metal for home or commercial use. It is a favorite tool for many constructors and home and commercial workers because of its versatile nature. As explained above, you can use an angle grinder for many purposes.
If used wrongly, the tool may be dangerous. But if you follow the above step-by-step guide on using it to cut metal, you need not worry. You will enjoy an excellent cut with ease on your metal.
It is vital to take safety precautions when working with a grinder, as illustrated above. The tips explained above will guide you on how to keep safe when using this tool. If you’ve got any questions, you may come across the answer in the FAQs section discussed above.