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How to Choose a Grinding Wheel

If you’re looking to buy a grinding wheel for metalwork, there are several vendors you can find nowadays. However, it is crucial to buy the right one to avoid wasting money and time.

There are different things to look into when shopping for a grinding wheel, and the first is what you plan to use it on. This will dictate what abrasive is necessary for the wheel. For instance, aluminum oxide is recommended for steels and steel alloys. For non-ferrous metals, non-metallics and cast iron, you should get silicon carbide.

The harder and more brittle the material to be ground is, the softer the grade and the finer the grit size you’ll need. This is due to the fact that tough materials resist abrasive grains, causing them to dull quickly. The fine-grit-soft-grade combo allows the grains to come off as they dull, revealing newer and sharper cutters. Softer, more ductile materials, on the other hand, permit more penetration,so they work with a harder grade and coarser grit.

It’s also important to determine how much stock has to be removed. Stock is naturally removed faster with coarser grits because of the stronger penetration as well as the heavier cuts. But a finer grit will be more effective for softer material.

As to bonds, wheels with vitrified bonds, they are capable of higher-speed cutting. If only a limited amount of stock must be removed, or if the finish requirements are higher, shellac, rubber or resin bonds are more fitting.

Another thing that makes a difference when choosing a wheel bond is how fast the wheel turns in operation. Vitrified wheels are typically operated at a maximum speed of 6,500 surface feet per minute. Faster speeds can break the vitrified bond. When speeds reach 6,500 to 9,500 surface feet per minute, organic bond wheels are recommended. High-speed grinding requirements can be met with specially designed wheels.

In any case, it is crucial not to go beyond exceed the indicated safe operating speed as shown on the wheel or its manual.

The next issue to look into is the area of the grinding contact between wheel and the material being ground. A wider area of contact calls for a softer grade and a with coarser grit. Smaller areas of grinding contact needs wheels that have finer grits and harder grades to endure the greater unit pressure.

Next thing to check is grinding action severity. This is the pressure responsible for keeping the grinding wheel close to the workpiece. For extreme grinding, such as projects involving steel and steel alloys, special abrasives are made to withstand the pressure.

Lastly, grinding machine horsepower needs to be factored into your choice of a grinding wheel. Higher-horsepower machines often work with harder-grade wheels.In cases where horsepower is less than wheel diameter, experts recommend a wheel of a softer grade. The reverse applies too.
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