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Any recommendations on a good bench grinder?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by LoraMoser, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. LoraMoser

    LoraMoser New Member

    I am piecing together my first shop and have been looking at bench grinders. There are quite a few out there, new and old… So many that I am having a difficult time making a decision about which to buy. Can anyone lend some advice on this ?

    -There are a tonne of cheap models around and then there are the ones in the $200 – $300 range. Aside from the standard “you get what you pay for” adage, what are the significant differences between the ranges?… bells and whistles, or fit/finish/quality (or both)?

    -What is the advantage of the larger wheel diameter (6″ vs. 8″ models)?

    -What about variable speed models… is this a useful function to pay extra for, or would I be best served buying a separate machine for polishing/buffing?

    -What about wheels and discs for certain models? I have noticed that some manufacturers seem to have more than others… does this matter or are most wheels interchangeable?

    -Should I try to find a used, but possibly better built model, or should I just go with a new, Chinese-produced one?

    -I see 1/2, 1/3 and 1 HP models; how important is the unit’s power output?

    I have conducted the usual searches and what I found ultimately ended up contributing little to my understanding due to the sheer volume of manufacturers and models available… each of which claim to be the recipient of some user “best of” award. Most of these hits are just mildly sophisticated ads. So rather than trust them, I thought I would trust the NWBA
    If someone has recommendations on make/model, I would appreciate it a great deal.

    Thanks in advance…
  2. kendo

    kendo Prussian bot

    If you're working with smaller/lighter materials for short periods, go cheap but check availability of appropriate grinding wheels. As ever spending more usually extends it's durability.
  3. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    How much use? Is it pro, heavy diy or do you just want something for tool sharpening?
  4. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Depends on what you want if for and how much use.
    You may find that a dry stone one side and a whetstone the other is useful. As sold they only ever have very, very general wheels fitted, so count on buying at least 2 more wheels to cover what any keen DIYer might need. Go to a grinding stone specialist for stones - you get advice and buy what you need at very good prices, in the main. Unless you have acres of space, go small and mount of a hefty bit of ply so that it can be stored under the bench when not in use.
    Likely to need it for polishing using mops/discs etc.at some stage?
  5. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    Are you in the US or Canada? quite likely models we might recommend will be UK/Europe
  6. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Good idea to make it portable on a board. The pro ones come on a stand, those are useful as you can pushthem into a corner when you don't need them. For light DIY use I favour the cheap ones as you can set one up for grinding, one witha wire brush for cleaning things up, one with a buffing mop, etc. A lot of car servicing outfits get more use out of the wire brush than anything else because they have to clean up things like brake pads that are covered in crud and corrosion.
  7. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    I have a 6 inch entry level Ryobi I paid $ 30.00 CDN as it was an ex demo at Home Depot and it’s working perfectly fine for a once a week usage.
    If you want more heavy duty, the DeWalt units are rather good but a bit overpriced so just wait for a sale if you can.
  8. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Durability. If you get a $10 grinder it will last a few years at home but only 6 months in a workshop where it runs several times a day. Cheap ones have cheap bearings and cheap switchgear. Home users won't notice baceause the thing will only see 1 day's actual use in a year. If it wears out after 100 hours that might be 20-30 years.

    Wheel speed and lower wear rate on the stone.

    No, get 2 cheaper machines.

    Yes. Threaded mandrels and stones.

    Quality used will last longer, if you can get one nearby. My Dad has one from the 70s, it came out of a school workshop where kids hammered the sh*t out of it every day. No drama.

    Not very, in a DIY environment. Go slower. 1hp is massive, that will have your hand off. Unless you are fettling castings day in day out you will never need 1hp.

    I've had a little cheap one for 15 years, it's been great. French supermarket, Chinese, no bother. Just bought another one because this one has a belt sander. £15. They last OK. Portable angle grinders have a harder life, I have killed a couple of cheap ones. At 8 Euro, I don't care. I use them in pairs, one with a hard disc, one with a soft flapwheel. Saves swapping back and forth, just use them until they die. I had a mate did similar for work, he'd worked out that a Makita would go 2 years between £80 rebuilds, whereas the cheap ones went 6 months for £10. He bought cheap ones 5 at a time and hammered the daylights out of them, then binned them as they died. Some didn't last a month, he took them back, others survived for years.
    Edit - I've just looked at mine. Both 6" wheels, both 2950 rpm, 23 m/s grinder speed. The older one is 2003 manufacture, it was dirt cheap and I used to batter hell out of it. Less so recently. I'm going to set it up as a polisher and knife sharpener one of these days. It has a poxy little motor, 1/4hp max and I suspect 1/8 horse. I've seen bigger hairdryers. It works though, does a job. Great for tool sharpening. The bigger one has a larger motor but still nothing massive. You have to remember that with a 20mm wide wheel it won't be removing a lot of metal. That's not what it is for. If you want to hack through girders, get a Stihl saw.
  9. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

    What do you want one for? This will determine any recommendations.

    I have an 8" (fnarr fnarr) 1/2 hp and it is brilliant but a little scary when spinning up but amazing for metal removal - I use it mainly for sharpening turning tools. It is a bit over the top, a 6" would be fine but the 8" is a slightly flatter grinding surface and it has a really nice white fine stone. Make sure it is balanced well before use and always stand to one side when you power up in case a stone shatters. Very unlikely but you really do not want to be in the way if it does.

  10. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Reminds me of my time in the frame workshop of the maritime museum. There’s an eight inch deep hole in the wall and a chap with half an ear from when a spindle moulder blade flew off.
    cutting42 likes this.
  11. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Before buying anything.. learn how to use it safely.
    kendo likes this.
  12. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    spindle moulders are known for that. They run at very high speed, unlike a bench grinder. I've never heard of a bench grinder bursting a wheel, they only do 3000 rpm. An angle grinder at 10,000, more likely. I've had discs break up on those when you run them vright down to the dregs.
  13. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    I spent some of my Yoof as a 'grinder/fettler'. I had a couple of near misses. One where a disc on an 'air linisher' broke and bounced the linisher back very close to my face. Fortunately, those air powered things were underpowered and it didn't quite get me.
    Next was a much more powerful electric angle grinder, bench grinding cast iron doors for street corner telecoms boxes. Same thing.. wheel broke, angle grinder bounced at my chest and wrapped my sweater round the spindle and damned near choked me to death...
    Elf n sayftee?
  14. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

    Oh they sure do. They are slow but a load of weight in those stones and they will tear themselves apart given a flaw. Usual problems if they have not been dressed for a while or chunks are taken out. The old fashioned knife grinders in Sheffield used to be the best paid jobs in industry as if a burst stone did not get you the silicosis of the lungs would do for you before you were 50.

  15. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

    All the horror stories of spindle moulders are well deserved from the days of non limited cutters. A modern SM has a well limited cutter block like a Whitehall block which is a lovely bit of kit and very unlikely to tear itself apart. Modern machines should be power fed now to avoid the kickback and nastier SM injuries.

    Old unlimited cutter, meaning there is no physical limit to how big a "bite" the cutter can take from the workpiece meaning it can be grabbed and thrown at high speed.


    Modern limited blocks one limited by the whole body size and one limited by a set of matched limiter blades. Both do the job of limiting the amount of bite the cutter can take from the workpiece.


    stevec67 likes this.

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