Cutting wheels should never be used without a guard that is properly rated for the size of wheel and mounted correctly per manufacturer instructions. Type 1 cutting wheels require the use of a two-sided guard that offers 180 degrees of protection.
Before mounting any cutting wheel, check that the maximum safe rpm rating on the wheel is higher than the maximum rpm rating of the tool being used. Using a wheel with an rpm rating lower than the tool, improper mounting or tool misuse compromises operator safety, as well as the safety of coworkers, and can result in serious injury. It’s recommended to let the wheel free-spin for 60 seconds prior to beginning a cut. This allows the operator to detect any balance or structural issues with the wheel prior to use.
Finally, operators should ensure the cut line is as close to the clamping point as possible while still allowing enough room for the guard, the tool and their hands. The further an operator moves from the fixed point or clamp, the more vibration will be transferred through the workpiece, which reduces wheel life and increases the risk of wheel failure. This can also make the wheel more difficult to control.
The proper angle for holding the grinder depends on several variables, including workpiece size and orientation, tool size and user comfort. Before cutting, bring the wheel to the workpiece with the grinder stopped and look for potential interference. When the operator has determined the most comfortable angle of approach, adjust the guard so it is positioned between the body and the workpiece. Giving some forethought to the overall size and thickness of the workpiece before cutting can help ensure the guard won’t interfere with the cut halfway through.
As with any skill, practice makes perfect. It’s important to consult with a trusted abrasives manufacturer if there are questions about safety considerations, selection or technique.
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