An important tool in any workshop is a bench grinder. The bench grinder can be used for shaping, sharpening, and polishing metal tools, but it also has other uses around the house including cleaning rust from old tools or removing paint from the woodwork.
The downside to using a bench grinder is that if not properly maintained it will quickly become inefficient and unusable. In this blog post, we’ll cover how to maintain your bench grinder so you can get the most out of it over time.
1. Make sure the work surface is flat and level
This ensures that when you sharpen a blade or shape an object with your grinding wheel you’re able to do so evenly without having to compensate for sloping surfaces that may cause the blade to be angled.
2. Clean up any rust that’s accumulated on your grinding wheel
Whilst a bench grinder is often used for removing rust from tools it can still accumulate rust over time, if this happens simply use a wire brush to clean it away and then run some water over the surface before drying it off with a cloth.
3. Adjust the wheels
The spokes of the grinding wheel should be positioned such that they form a 45 degree angle with the floor or workbench, this allows you to grind and shape objects more easily as well as avoid sparks from contacting your legs.
Always ensure that the pressure is even across both wheels if possible, though it’s unlikely your grinding wheel will need fine tuning.
4. Check for loose nuts and bolts
The grinder might not be level due to a cross-threaded nut or bolt, if this is the case simply take the opportunity to tighten anything that’s loose while you’re checking it.
You can also use lock-tight on any nuts and bolts that seem loose but aren’t likely to come undone during regular use of the grinder.
5. Clean out any dust from inside the motor
Dust accumulated within a motor over time acts as a thermal insulator, preventing heat from dissipating quickly which may cause permanent damage or burning out the motor down the line.
To clean out dust from inside a motor all you’ll need is an old toothbrush and some paper towels.
6. Oil up the bearings
The manual for your grinder should indicate what type of oil to use and how often it needs changing, but as a general rule of thumb, most need their oil changed once or twice a year depending on use.
You can find motors with removable covers at any auto parts store and after removing the cover you simply drip some motor oil down into the bearing housing and move the armature shaft around so that it soaks the bearings and primes them for action.
Things that can Damage your Bench Grinder
Your bench grinder is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will ever purchase. It runs all day, every day, and has a tough job. If it’s not taken care of properly it can end up doing more harm than good and shortening its life span considerably.
There are several things to consider when using your bench grinder; we’ll discuss some of them here.
Keep in mind that this article is meant as a general guide and may not apply to everyone or their particular situation. With any piece of machinery, occasional problems can arise, however proper use and maintenance can decrease those chances considerably.
Please let us know if there are any other precautions that need to be added or anything that needs clarification! Go ahead and comment below.
1.Protecting your eyes and ears
Believe it or not, the first thing we’ll discuss is protecting what you can’t live without; your vision and hearing (after all, that’s how you do your job). This example of safety should be common sense, however, some people seem to forget about the danger of looking right into a spinning wheel.
It’s similar to having very bright headlights shining directly into your face on a dark road; temporarily blinding! When working with any sharp object such as a grinding wheel, always protect your eyes and other senses whenever possible.
The same goes for noise levels: anyone who has ever had something goes wrong while using an angle grinder knows how ear-shattering these tools can get at close range. If you need to raise your voice even a little bit, chances are it isn’t safe for you or anyone else around!
2. Protecting the grinder and work piece
Whenever possible use clamps to hold down your workpiece; this will help avoid any type of accident that may result in damage. The last thing we want is anything getting tossed into the spinning wheels, or worse: thrown back at us (unfortunately we’ve heard stories like these from time to time).
This extends beyond just wood as well, as metal pieces can be extremely heavy and could very easily catch air under them without warning.
You can also try using feather boards or push sticks as an alternative as well. They may not always be the best option for getting into smaller spaces but are nonetheless worth mentioning.
3. Tensioning the right way
This is another one that should be common sense… however there’s no need to go overboard. If you keep tightening your grinder’s wheel down until it starts to deform the metal sleeve, chances are it’s over-tensioned.
The best way to check this out is by looking at how much the tool rest has moved away from the wheel; if you can slide a piece of paper under there then it might be a good idea to loosen it a little bit and try again!
One thing we’ve noticed with some users is that they tend to crank down on everything as if their life depended on it (which in most cases they probably do).
This is okay when using a grinder to sharpen knives or other tools (which can be very dangerous otherwise) but on something like this, you’re running the risk of breaking the wheel’s tensioning mechanism if it’s over-tightened.
4. Wear and tear
No matter how well-maintained your unit is, at some point, it will need to be replaced entirely (especially if there are any cracks in the material). Lubricating really isn’t necessary for these, however keeping them clean with compressed air every so often may help extend their life expectancy.
Being mindful of how hard you run your bench grinder for extended periods of time is key; constantly locking it up will cause the wheels to heat up more than usual and eventually wear down the metal sleeves.
If you can, try to listen for any unusual sounds coming from your machine; this could be a sign that something is about to go wrong (this applies to all machinery as well!).
5. Recycling and disposal
This is mostly common sense as well: never just throw one of these into the trash. You may not want it clogging up your shop, but chances are someone else’s shop will appreciate getting rid of their old unit once and for all.
Either donate it if possible or recycle anything that doesn’t look like it can be used again (anything with cracks or other damage).
6. Reducing vibrations and buying spare parts
Please note that we won’t advise you to replace any part(s) of your grinder until you know for certain that it’s no good anymore. We’ve noticed that many users tend to run into issues with their units vibrating too much or just not working at all and assume it needs fixing right away.
Before doing so, try tightening the set screws and checking any other components your unit may have (like a rubber washer) as these will wear down over time as well; this could save you money in the long run!
If you do need to replace anything, make sure you buy from a reputable dealer such as Discount-Tools who provides fast shipping (with an average response time of less than 1 day).
7. Being aware
If there’s one thing we can say about bench grinders is that they’re very dangerous and should be treated as such! Make sure to keep your hands and other body parts away from the wheels at all times (well… this is a given with any sort of machine).
If you need to adjust or remove anything then we’d strongly recommend using gloves (e.g., leather work gloves) as well as eye protection; some newer units may offer built-in safety shields which can be useful but aren’t exactly common yet.
If there’s one thing we’ve noticed about bench grinders it’s that they never stay new for very long; things like metal shavings and rocks can easily find their way into places where they shouldn’t be, throwing them out of balance and potentially shattering the steel sleeves over time.
One important thing we want to mention is that you should always wear gloves when cleaning the internal parts of your unit; this includes removing and re-installing any guards or shields too!
If anything looks like it’s not in great shape then you should replace it immediately (i.e., if there are any cracks then it might be a good idea to get rid of it altogether). This way you’ll end up with an even grinder which will help with accuracy over time.
Replacing components can be quite costly though, so make sure you don’t need to do it before buying replacement units (from Discount Tools for example) unless absolutely necessary.
Doing all these things will ensure that your bench grinder lasts as long as possible and continues serving you without any issues.
If you take anything away from this article then it should be to always check for vibrations when you turn on your grinder; if it’s vibrating too much (or even at all) then something needs to be tightened or fixed!
This goes for pretty much every machine out there, so please keep in mind that we were only giving advice based on personal experience and what our research has revealed through trial and error.
Using a bench grinder the right way is important; things like using the wrong speed/grit/wheel can easily produce excessive heat and lead to less than favorable results (e.g., decreased lifespan of the wheels, poor quality cut).
That about wraps up this article; we hope you’ve found it to be helpful and if you have any further questions then feel free to ask us in the comments section below!
- Don’t forget to tighten set screws before using your bench grinder for an extended amount of time, don’t force it too much though.
- When cleaning internal components use gloves to prevent injury.
- Replace parts that seem like they may need replacing (e.g., cracked steel sleeves).
- If there are vibrations in your unit then something needs tightening; otherwise check into getting new wheels/guards/shields installed.
What can you not grind on a bench grinder?
The answer is simple. You can’t grind anything on a bench grinder because it’s not a grinder.
What you can grind on a bench grinder depends on who is using it. For example, if you are grinding bevels with it then the answer is almost anything metal.
The grit of the wheel determines how fast you will wear out the tool so keep that in mind when considering what to grind on your particular machine. Aluminum oxide is used for everything from sharpening lawn mower blades to knives and chisels.
You can even use it for sharpening chainsaw blades if they are not cross-cut type (most aren’t). This includes garden implements like scythes, sickles, and pruning shears too!
This sentiment was echoed by my mother in law who goes into very specific detail about what you can or can’t grind on a bench grinder based on the type of wheel and grit used. Video below:
She also reminded me about grinding carbide as this is another task that people ask about often. You can see what she has to say in the video below:
I heard another interesting tip from Jon Sienkiewicz, who says you should never grind steel on a bench grinder but if you do use cutting oil (which generally isn’t recommended) and go very slowly back and forth without stopping or your piece will turn into a mushroom-like a shape. This technique works well for sharpening drill bits too!