How To Install Wire Brush On Angle Grinder? | All You Need To Know
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Installing a wire brush on an angle grinder is similar to installing any other blade attachments. You need to dismantle the blade guard and arbor nuts to take the old blade out and install the new wire brush. After re-attaching the parts, you can use the grinder again.
An angle grinder is one of those tools that you will always find in the toolshed of a DIYer. Thanks to its versatility, it can be used for a wide range of household tasks.
In fact, if you use a wire wheel, you can use the angle grinder to clean grime and debris off of a surface as well. But from our experience, many users do not know how to install one, which keeps them from fully utilizing this functionality.
That is why we have addressed it in this brief guide. So, if you are curious, dive in!
What Are Angle Grinder Wire Wheels?
Before we proceed to the meat of this article, let us discuss a little bit about what wire wheels are. If, by any chance, you haven’t heard of the term before, then this will give you a good idea.
Wire wheels are a specialized attachment that you can use on angle grinders to clean and deburr a surface. In some cases, it can also be used to scrub paint off surfaces. Such a feat is made possible owing to the design of this attachment.
Unlike other angle grinder blades, wire-based attachments come with numerous metallic bristles attached to the edges. These bristles are generally made from hard and springy steel, which makes them tough enough to scrape off materials from a surface. Some manufacturers may use brass, copper, or even stainless steel, which improves the durability of the bristles.
On that note, there are two different types of wire-based angle grinder attachments available today – wire wheel and wire cup brush. Despite being used interchangeably, there are certain differences between these two, as we have discussed below.
Typically, the wire wheel is shaped like most other angle grinder discs. The wire bristles are attached along the edge of the disc, while the base or the center of the disc is attached to the angle grinder.
Out of the two wire-based attachments, this is more popular among users. It is due to this reason that people refer to all wire-based attachments as wire wheels. In terms of utility, this attachment is beneficial for clearing out edges, crevices, and cracks.
Wire Cup Brush
As the name suggests, the wire cup brush is an attachment that is shaped like a concave cup. Here, the bristles are attached at the edges, and they are situated perpendicularly to the base of the cup.
The bristles of this attachment are made of the same materials as the ones used in wire wheels. Because of the design, wire brushes are commonly used to scrape and polish flat surfaces.
How To Install Wire Wheels/Wire Brushes On Angle Grinders?
Even though wire wheels and wire brushes are quite different in design compared to conventional angle grinder blades, the procedure for their installation remains almost similar.
Now, many models today come with convenient mechanisms that allow you to remove the angle grinder blade without a tool. But if you have an older model, you can remove and install the wire brushes just like any other angle grinder attachment using the process we have described below.
Step 1: Remove The Blade Guard
First, you need to unplug the grinder and remove any batteries just to be safe. Then dismantle the blade guard by removing the screws that hold it in place. In some models, the blade guard may be attached with a latch, so make sure to dislodge it before proceeding further.
Step 2: Dismantle The Old Blade
You need to carefully remove the arbor nut that attaches the blade to the machine. Next, pull the blade out of the angle grinder spindle gently. Before you do that, though, make sure that you lock the blade by pressing the blade lock button. It is usually located near the switch, and it stops the blade from spinning unnecessarily while you remove it.
Step 3: Attach The Wire Wheel
After removing the old disc, place the new wire wheel over the spindle. Make sure to align it properly with the grinder so that you can seamlessly attach the arbor nut. In case of wire cup brushes, however, you can directly attach or thread the brush wheel to the spindle. This means that the previous steps might not be necessary in that situation.
Step 4: Reassemble The Grinder
Once the wheel is in place, carefully reattach the arbor nut with a wrench. Make sure not to tighten it too much, as it can damage the nut. Then reattach the blade guard, and put the battery back in the machine. After that is done, you will be good to go!
Using Your Angle Grinder
Knowing how to install a wire brush or wire wheel isn’t enough – you also need to know how to use an angle grinder. That’s what we have discussed in this section, so we suggest that you keep reading.
When operating an angle grinder, you need to use the correct technique, or else you won’t be able to do a good job with it. This is especially true in the case of wire wheels.
Make sure to set the correct spinning speed while using the angle grinder. Using an angle grinder at high speeds makes it very difficult to control, and unless you are an experienced user, we would not recommend it. That said, the speed shouldn’t be too low either so that you can get the job done effectively.
You should also consider the angle and pressure at which you hold the angle grinder to the surface. And be careful and attentive while using it as this is a pretty powerful tool, and even the slightest mistake might lead to a serious accident.
Keeping that in mind, here are some safety tips you should follow when using angle grinders.
- Wear protective gear like a face shield, goggles, and gloves
- Keep your workplace clutter-free
- Do not work on wet surfaces
- Keep all flammable materials away from the grinder
- Ensure you have a fire extinguisher nearby
- Make sure the power outlet isn’t faulty
How To Install Wire Brush On Angle Grinder Final Words
Installing and using a wire brush on an angle grinder is a better strategy than scrubbing and polishing surfaces manually. Not only do you save a lot of time and effort, but you can also do a better job.
However, using a heavy-duty power tool like an angle grinder comes with its fair share of risks, which is why people may tend to avoid it. But if you follow the safety tips we have discussed, you will be completely safe.
And once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to go back to manual scrubbing and polishing ever again!
Wheel Brushes for Grinder
Wheel Brushes suitable for sideways jobs on irregular surfaces, with edges, profiles and cracks. Crimped wire of very high resistance. Compact, aggressive and safe for mini-grinder.
Applications: Waste, residues and rust removal from surfaces of any material and shape.
Twist Knot Wheel brushes U101, U115, U125, U3151, U5181 and U5201 for Angle Grinders
Brushes suitable for sideways jobs on irregular surfaces, with edges, profiles and cracks. Aggressive for heavy-duty jobs at high rotation speed.
How To use Wheel Wire Brushes for Angle Grinder. SIT BRUSH. Spazzole Circolari per Smerigliatrice
Applications: Welding preparation and continuous welding finishing, deburring, mechanical pickling.
Wheel brushes and Twist Knot Bevel Brushes UZ115, UZ125, UZ151 and UZ178 for Angle Grinders
Brushes suitable for sideways jobs on irregular surfaces, with edges, profiles and cracks. Thin and with very high wire density.
Applications: Removal of rust, encrustations, surface roughening, removal of wastes of plastic and rubber. For all the specific production in the sector of Pipelining
Vulcanized wheel brushes CV178V for Angle Grinders
Consisting of an iron ring drowned in a polyurethane solution. Uniform consumption of the filaments, constant thickness of the abrasive edge, filaments that won’t break and higher safety for the operator
Applications: Ideal for thand cleaning and for the preparation of weldings.
Wheel Brushes in Crimped Wire 6151 and 6181 for Angle Grinders
The conical shape makes these brushes suitable for sideways jobs on irregular surfaces, with edges, profiles and cracks. Jobs on angular or profiled surfaces at high rotation speed.
Applications: Waste, residues and rust removal from surfaces of any material and shape.
SIT Brushes for Power Tools
SIT has been for over 50 years the leader in Italy for the production of industrial wire brushes for electric and pneumatic tools (Grinder, Drill, Stationary) used in every environment and application. The shape of the brush allows to work with several distinct surfaces while the selection of the filament depends on the finishing and the removal desired
Tips for choice and use
The selection of the shape of the product depends on the surface on which you intend to work:
The type and formation of the filament determine the type of finishing and the processing required
Use always Individual Protection Devices (IPD like gloves, goggles and ear monitors).
Never go beyond the MAX RPM indicated for the brush.
As for the diameters of the brushes and assembling them follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the tool
Choosing the right tool for effective cleaning in welding applications
Following best practices will extend product life, ensure your safety, and increase productivity and efficiency.
It is critical to eliminate all inclusions and pollutants when preparing a material’s surface for welding and during interpass and postweld cleaning. Removing as little material as possible between weld passes saves time and money since any material removed will ultimately need to be replaced via the most expensive consumable—the filler metal. Removing too much of the base material during preweld surface preparation can also affect weld penetration, impacting the strength and integrity of the finished weld.
For these reasons, always choose the best surface preparation and cleaning tools for the job. The right solution provides efficient, effective performance—and allows you to spend more time welding and less time cleaning and making repairs.
Common Tools in Welding Applications
Three common tool categories are used for surface preparation and cleaning in welding applications:
- Bonded abrasives/grinding wheels
- Coated abrasives/flap discs
- Wire brushes and wheels
What you should choose depends on the requirements of the application and, of course, your personal preference.
Abrasive products and wire brushes differ in their performance and purpose. Abrasive products are designed to remove base material, whereas wire brushes are not. When surface preparation or weld cleaning requires that you remove slag or mill scale, a wire brush is generally recommended. Note, heavy mill scale sometimes can be too much for even the most aggressive wire brush. In these instances, choose an abrasive product. Abrasive products are specifically designed for applications such as stock removal, edge beveling, chamfering, and weld grinding and blending. Conversely, if an application requires that you preserve the base material during surface preparation and weld cleaning, a wire brush is still your best choice. Here’s how these products work.
Bonded Abrasives/Grinding Wheels. A combination of the grain type, grain size, and bonding agents (resins and additive fillers) determines the performance of each. Bonded abrasives are generally more aggressive and remove material faster, requiring a skilled operator who knows how to prevent damage, gouging, and undercutting. Wheels are constructed of abrasive grains, including aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, zirconia alumina, ceramic alumina, and combinations of these grains. A resinoid (organic) bonding agent is mixed with the abrasive grains. Finally, this mix is molded and combined with fiberglass reinforcement layers for durability and strength.
Aluminum oxide (AO) wheels are the most popular and are good for many general-purpose applications. Products made with a combination of ceramic and zirconia alumina cost more, but typically provide a better overall life and material removal. They are a good choice for materials such as armored steel, structural steel, cast iron, and INCONEL alloys.
Coated Abrasives/Flap Discs. These items are constructed using the same grain types as those found in bonded abrasives. Coated abrasives bond the abrasive grains to a backing cloth, which is most commonly a cotton, polyester, or blended backing rather than the hard grinding wheel found on bonded abrasives. This abrasive cloth can be cut into smaller flaps and layered radially to form a flap disc. It is this layered construction that gives flap discs a much softer, more forgiving feel.
The flaps are designed and positioned to wear away as the grains deplete, exposing new, fresh, and sharp grain underneath. Flap discs are often more comfortable to use and offer the aggressive cutting and grinding action of a grinding wheel; however, they also allow for blending and finishing work, which is important when the material needs to be painted, primed, or powder-coated.
Wire Brushes and Wheels. These are the primary choice for weld cleaning, when it is necessary to remove spatter and other contaminants prior to finish or the next weld pass. Remember, the tips of wire brushes do the work, functioning like tiny hammers hitting and preparing the work surface. Applying the appropriate pressure is critical to power brush performance, as excessive pressure flexes and bends the wires, preventing the tips from working. This can lead to premature wire breakage and dramatically reduce brush life.
Why Wire Wheels?. Metal Working Tools You Need!
The right surface preparation and cleaning tools provide efficient, effective performance and help ensure you spend more time welding and less time cleaning and making repairs.
Power brushes provide the speed and efficiency necessary to complete cleaning and surface preparation applications quickly and efficiently. When you are removing coating from a surface, such as epoxy, paint, or rubber, coated abrasives have a tendency to load—in other words, the material being removed packs between the grains and builds up—stopping their ability to perform. A power brush’s ability to “self-clean” makes it the best choice for these cleaning applications.
When choosing a power brush, you have several knot styles, wire gauges, and trim length options. By changing one or more of these characteristics, you can fine-tune brush performance for a specific application. For example, stringer bead brushes have narrower knots twisted from base to tip, making them better suited to penetrate tighter spaces like corners, fillets, and root pass welds. Cable-twist brushes are also twisted to the tips but have a wider profile that can quickly cover more surface area for fill passes. Standard twist brushes flare at the end, providing an even wider footprint as well as additional conformability.
Crimped-wire brushes provide less aggression and more conformability, making them a great choice for paint and rust removal and deburring. Crimped-wire brushes also leave a consistent “orange peel” finish, so they are a good choice for surface preparation and paint adhesion.
Wheel brushes are designed to work perpendicular to the work surface and are best-suited to smaller, tighter surface areas. Cup brushes are perfect for covering larger, wider surface areas because of their ability to clean a larger area in a single pass.
Making the Right Choice for You
When choosing a product for surface preparation and weld cleaning, consider the base material. Generally speaking, choose a carbon steel brush to clean carbon and mild steels and a stainless brush for stainless, aluminum, and exotic metals. Brushes are also available in copper and brass to prevent spark, when necessary.
Next, consider the application’s finish requirements. Is there a need to remove base material, or is the material being prepped and cleaned for finish or coating? For weld cleaning, a knot brush—stringer bead or cable-twist—is typically the best choice. When selecting a power brush, start by choosing the least aggressive option for the job.
For a coated or bonded abrasive, aluminum oxide provides the most cost-effective option for general-purpose grinding. Harder, more durable grains like zirconia alumina and ceramic maintain sharpness and resist heat, making them a much better choice for more aggressive grinding applications.
Finally, consider the size and orientation of the material to be cleaned. Cleaning the fill pass of a weld requires a very different tool than cleaning a large, flat surface. For example, a cup brush has a significantly larger footprint and, therefore, can cover a large area.
Best Practices to Maximize Performance
To achieve safe, optimal performance of any wire or abrasive product, think S.P.O.T.
S—Speed and Size. Choose an appropriately sized product for the tool, and use the manufacturer’s recommended guard. Be sure the maximum safe RPM marked on the wire or abrasive wheel is greater than or equal to the maximum operating RPM on the tool. When selecting high-performance ceramic abrasives, pay attention to tool speed. Tools with lower power can’t maintain the required speed and therefore don’t provide the full advantages of these high-performance, higher-priced products.
Knowing available product options and understanding their intended uses are important parts of getting the best results from abrasives and wire brushes.
P—Pressure. When operating wire brushes, you shouldn’t have to push harder because the tips should be doing the work. Applying excessive pressure to the brush prevents the tips from hitting the surface, so the sides of the wire begin “wiping” the surface. This reduces cleaning action and increases wire loss because of stress. If a power brush is not performing to expectation, consider changing the knot, increasing the wire gauge, or shortening the trim length. A common complaint about wire brushes is wire loss, and the main cause, in many cases, is improper use or excessive pressure.
When you are using an abrasive, increasing pressure slows tool speed and significantly increases friction and heat. Heat and pressure are the enemies of any abrasive product. Use even, consistent pressure and motion to minimize heat discoloration and maximize performance.
O—Orientation. Wheel brushes are designed for use perpendicular to the work surface. This positions the wire tips for optimum performance and reduces lateral stress on the wire, preventing wire loss, poor performance, and short brush life. Bonded abrasive cutting wheels are also designed for use perpendicular (90 degrees) to the work surface for best performance and longevity.
Grinding wheels and flap discs are designed for use at 5 to 35 degrees in general. When selecting a flap disc, choose Type 27 for finishing and applications that require lower grinding angles—5 to 15 degrees. Choose Type 29 for more aggressive, higher angle grinding—15 to 35 degrees.
T—Time. All products are designed to be moved across the work surface. When you are using an abrasive product, do not dwell in one spot as it will lead to pitting, gouging, increased heat, and reduced surface finish.
Knowing what your product options are and understanding their intended uses are important parts of getting the best results from abrasives and wire brushes. Always follow best practices to extend product life, improve operator safety, and increase productivity and efficiency. Doing so can help you complete jobs faster, saving time and money for a better bottom line.
No matter the tool, inspect the abrasive or wire brush each time it’s used for any signs of damage or wear. Replace as necessary.