What should be your angle while grinding? The answer can mean the difference between a sharp and a dull blade, among other results. The angle can also mean the difference between intact and injured limbs.
You have to exercise caution when choosing angle on any grinder. Your safety and performance partly rests on it. Here are tips that you can keep in mind when determining the angle of grinding. These tips can apply to both belt and angle grinders.
How to Find Perfect Angle While Grinding
1. Working Angle While Grinding Differs
Each material and grinder will have different ideal angles for several reasons. You have to consider the type of material in relation to the grit level, for example. You should also factor in the desired results, such as in the roughing and finishing stage. In general, these tips apply:
The ideal angle for grinding discs is about 5 to 10 degrees from the horizontal plane. But you can experiment with the actual angle depending on the work piece.
The wear pattern on the disc face’s circumference should be double its thickness. For example, a 0.5-in wide wear pattern on the wheel for a 0.25-inch thick disc is a good sign.
Your angle is too flat if the wear pattern is 0.75-inch – go higher. Your angle is too high if the wear pattern is 0.25-inch – go lower. You can determine it by sight alone although your first tries may need a ruler.
You can set the angle with a protractor, too. You can determine whether you’re setting the work piece at the right angle easier and faster, too.
- Set the work piece (e.g., blade edge) on a flat surface.
- Raise the back of the blade to the desired angle.
- Measure the angle with a protractor.
- Gauge the distance between the flat surface and the back of the blade. Remember the distance for application later on.
- Paint the edge, if necessary, with magic marker. Let it become your guide while honing the edge.
This proves to be a greater function since you can store a variety of rifles without any complication whatsoever.
2. Apply Consistent Pressure
You can still get inconsistent results even when you have found the right angle. One of the common reasons is inconsistent pressure on the work piece in relation to the belt or stone.
The best technique in grinding down a weld is to move the disc forward and backward. The angle should be 5 to 10 degrees horizontal. But the forward and backward motion can result in inconsistent pressure.
You may apply more pressure going forward and less pressure going backward. You will almost immediately see the results on the work piece and grinder. The excess pressure on the forward motion results in the glazing of the disc grains. Its edge can even turn an orange color.
The lighter pressure on the backstroke results in a chattering sound. It means the disc is bouncing off the material on the way back. The final result: You’re not removing weld material as much as expected. You’re wasting your time and energy on the job.
Always remember that constant pressure going backward and forward is essential in effective grinding. Your goal is to apply adequate pressure so that the disc’s grains perform their work. Otherwise, you’re doing your work wrong.
3. Maintain the Proper Distance
This distance is between the grinding belt/stone and the back of the blade, in case of a knife project. You have to maintain the proper distance between the two for best results. A few useful tips in this regard include:
- Take even passes between heal and point. Be sure to alternate between the two sides. Stop when there’s a burr all along the edge on both sides.
- Avoid changing the grit level until a burr is created from heal to point.
- Change the stone or belt. Repeat the process. This time, just take light passes.
You can start with a 126-grit belt followed by a 400-grit belt. Your finishing belt can be a lubricated and rouged worn-out belt for best results.
4. Take Advantage of the Slack Part
Belt grinder create a better finish than a hard wheel grinder. This is especially true when the slack part of the belt is used. You’re basically using the slack part between the tracking wheels and contact.
- Let the belt run away, so to speak, from the edge (i.e., instead of into the edge).
- Hold the blade in a slightly horizontal position.
- Watch the burr pop before grinding in the bevels.
- Avoid placing the blade edge into the running belt. Otherwise, you’ll end up with injuries.
Tip: Hold down the edge while letting the belt run off the blade.
This is applicable for a vertical-running belt on two wheel grinders.
The ideal angle for grinding is 5 to 10 degrees horizontal. You can determine the correct angle by using a protractor on a flat surface. Your eyes should be able to gauge the correct distance by then.
But the correct angle isn’t the be-all and end-all. You should also apply consistent pressure going forwards and backwards. You have to maintain the right distance between the work piece and belt, too.
A combination of knowledge and skills honed by education and training is a must here. You have to be patient in your trial-and-error experimentation. You can get the correct angle by sign soon enough.