The definition of Abrasive is a material that is used to finish or shape a workpiece, usually made of steel, metal, iron and other solid substance. With grinding wheels, the concept is to grind or rub against the workpiece in various angles removing the excess, uneven surface. The process of finishing a workpiece is called grinding, cutting, sharpening and sanding, all depending on the material and type of workpiece you are working on. With cut-off wheels, or cutting wheels, the concept is to cut off completely a piece of a pipe, protruding parts such as bolts and other metals and bars. Finishing Discs are a type of abrasive wheels that are used to even out a surface or to polish a finished product or surface area.
Generally speaking there are four (4) different classes of abrasive wheels.
Abrasive cutting wheels are used to cut steel, aluminum tubes, pipes, rails, sheet metals, trim castings and various ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals. It important to select the right type of wheel for the application in question. These are the most common of all Abrasive Wheels on the market.
Abrasive grinding wheels, as the name suggests, are designed for grinding and smoothing a workpiece, typically made of hard materials such as metal, steel and iron. They are also commonly used to sharpen tools and for removing and smoothing excess material resulting from welding. Typically, any wheel that is thicker than 1/8" is considered a grinding wheel. Again, in this category there are many considerations in choosing the correct grinding wheel based on the application.
Abrasive finishing discs are used for polishing and sanding a workpiece or a surface area. They are commonly used to smooth out paint, polish a stainless steel or aluminum product and other similar finishing applications. The most common type of abrasive wheels that are used for finishing are know as flap discs.
Aabrasive bench grinding wheels get their name due to the fact that they are used on bench grinders or pedestal grinders. A typical application for using bench grinding wheels is for sharpening of parts and various tools, offhand deburring and blending ferrous metals and non-ferrous materials.
There are four general parameters that help define the usage of each abrasive wheel and tool compatibility.
Max RPM - This specifies the maximum speed of which it is considered safe to operate the abrasive wheel without it tearing apart.
Diameter - This is the outer measurement of the abrasive wheel and it helps determine tool compatibility, as different tools can handle different abrasive wheel sizes.
Thickness - This too helps determine tool compatibility, as different tools can only handle abrasive wheels of specific thickness. In addition, the thickness of the wheel also contributes in determining the usage application. For example, fiber discs are very thin and are typically used for sanding and weld smoothing while cutting wheels are used for cutting steel, masonry and other tough substances. Grinding wheels are thick and are used on bench and pedestal grinding tools.
Hole Size, better known as Arbor Size - This specification is used for matching tool compatibility with the abrasive wheel. Arbor refers to the shaft that the wheel is mounted on. The size of the arbor is to match the diameter of the shaft so that the wheel should fit nice and tight without much wiggle room.