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  1. #1
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    Bench grinder recommendation

    I'm thinking about buying a bench grinder and would appreciate any opinions/recommendations. 6" or 8"? Variable speed? I was just going to go with the 8" variable speed from Porter+Cable but it received such horrendous reviews on the Lowe's web site I thought I would check with the experts.

    Thanks.

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    How do you plan to use a bench grinder for bicycle maintenance?

  3. #3
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    My bench grinder is a primary tool in my shop although I use it for shaping frame parts as well as for dressing housing ends and making poky spokes...

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    Mainly using a wire brush wheel to clean up galvanized metal parts, etc.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim1217 View Post
    Mainly using a wire brush wheel to clean up galvanized metal parts, etc.
    OK, in that case bigger is better since the wheel's surface speed is proportional to diameter at constant RPM. Frankly, I've never seen a variable speed bench grinder and see no benefit to having that capability.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    OK, in that case bigger is better since the wheel's surface speed is proportional to diameter at constant RPM. Frankly, I've never seen a variable speed bench grinder and see no benefit to having that capability.
    Thanks...that helps me narrow it down a bit...any recommendation on brand?

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    For as much as most home bench grinders get used, a cheapie from harbor freight or the like is just fine. That's particularly true if you're just going to use a wire wheel on it. Bigger is nicer. So is a light, and a stand, if you're not going to use it on an actual bench.

  8. #8
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Check your craigslist in both tools and garagesales. I got a pretty nice setup for $25.

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    only caution I would add is buy a leather apron and a face shield. Those wire wheels tend to throw those wires at times and they can get embedded in stuff real quick. Also, larger isn't always better unless you can slow the grinder down. Remember, the surface feet per minute increases pretty quickly...a 6 inch grinder turning at 3500 has 5,495 surface feet per minute whereas an 8-inch grinder has more than 8,000 surface feet per minute, so things are going by pretty quick...and thus, things get flung pretty fast...I run a 6 inch wire wheel with a 1750 rpm motor with a variable speed and it does just fine.......

  10. #10
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    tim: What kind of parts were you thinking about using a wire wheel on? If they are small or complex a better choice might be a Dremel tool with the 2500-01 Rotary Tool Multi-Vise http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-2500-01.../dp/B000P4W3LU or 220-01 Rotary Tool Work Station http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-220-01-.../dp/B00068P48O, both of which can hold the tool at various angles leaving both hands free to manipulate the workpiece. The bench grinder is better suited to larger, heavier work.

    For shaping metal by grinding I prefer to use a disc/belt sander over a wheel-type tool. It does not load up with softer metal such as aluminum like a wheel does and the work table is more adaptable than those on bench grinders, in my experience. YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
    tim: What kind of parts were you thinking about using a wire wheel on? If they are small or complex a better choice might be a Dremel tool with the 2500-01 Rotary Tool Multi-Vise http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-2500-01.../dp/B000P4W3LU or 220-01 Rotary Tool Work Station http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-220-01-.../dp/B00068P48O, both of which can hold the tool at various angles leaving both hands free to manipulate the workpiece. The bench grinder is better suited to larger, heavier work.

    For shaping metal by grinding I prefer to use a disc/belt sander over a wheel-type tool. It does not load up with softer metal such as aluminum like a wheel does and the work table is more adaptable than those on bench grinders, in my experience. YMMV.
    Yes, some of the pieces are probably not very large...good advice especially since I already have a Dremel! Thanks to all who replied.

  12. #12
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    Along with Virginian's safety suggestions I'd add a thin phone book to back up the apron if a workpiece should get caught and thrown toward your chest, although I try to arrange wheel and work so the work gets thrown away if I can manage it

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You really cannot take it with you.. visit Estate sales.

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    Harbor Freight. bk

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Ditto on Harbor Freight.

    Got two 6in size. One with a grinding wheel and course wire wheel, the other with a buffing wheel and soft wire wheel. Of course you could get by with just one and swap wheels as needed.

    WEAR EYE PROTECTION!!!!

    I consider a bench grinder, vise, and corded drill to be the most basic of shop tools.

    Bicycle related uses for a bench grinder/wire wheel/ polishing wheels....

    Cleaning out threads (probably my most frequent use).
    Cleaning up slightly crusty or rusted nuts, bolts and screws. Many that look shot can be made to shine like new.
    Polishing up hubs, stems ect.
    Dressing burrs and dings in parts.
    If a chain is not worn but has some surface rust it can be made to look like new by carefully drawing it across the wire wheel.

    Once you have had one your shop will feel naked without it.
    Yep, THAT Ira

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    It depends on your budget (and intended use). 6 inch and smaller you'll probably do ok with any motor turning at 3450. For larger wheels I'd suggest 1725, or at least a speed reducer if it's compatible with the motor. If you're gonna put a buffing wheel on it- the slower the better.

    Harbor Freight? Up to you. Sometimes the equipment is ok, sometimes not. If you like better stuff, and your usage demands it, go elsewhere. But- there are other (well known) brands that ain't much better. Under $100? Pretty much the same.

    Any grinder in the HF range is going to have some suspect abrasive wheels. It won't be long before you will need to spend some dough on some Nortons, or others of equal quality. Then there's the cheap wire wheels. Remove them before plugging it in- or get really good eye protection!

    Replacing OEM with quality wheels on a HF grinder will cost more than the original price. So... you spend more on wheel than the macine cost originally, and it still won't balance?

    I know quality tools are more expensive but they are so much nicer to use, and save money in the long run. If you don't need good stuff, you probably don't need it at all.

  17. #17
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ira B View Post

    WEAR EYE PROTECTION!!!!

    +1 ! I remember those graphic IAPA films they showed us back in high school of the immediate aftermath of an eye injury.
    While on the subject of grinder safety, always check the integrity of the wheel when installing a new one by suspending the wheel by the mounting hole, and giving the wheel a little tap with a screwdriver handle or something. If it makes a dull thud rather than a clear ringing sound, the wheel is not safe.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

  18. #18
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    +1 ! I remember those graphic IAPA films they showed us back in high school of the immediate aftermath of an eye injury.
    While on the subject of grinder safety, always check the integrity of the wheel when installing a new one by suspending the wheel by the mounting hole, and giving the wheel a little tap with a screwdriver handle or something. If it makes a dull thud rather than a clear ringing sound, the wheel is not safe.
    Good point.

    Wire wheels are especially useful but they toss wires out a very high speeds. After using them you will frequently find several wires embedded in your shop apron. I can't imagine what it would feel like to take one in the eyeball.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  19. #19
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
    tim:

    For shaping metal by grinding I prefer to use a disc/belt sander over a wheel-type tool. It does not load up with softer metal such as aluminum like a wheel does and the work table is more adaptable than those on bench grinders, in my experience. YMMV.
    I agree. I've worn out my Delta and they stopped making them. I'll probably settle for a Skil to replace it.

  20. #20
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    If all you are doing is wire wheeling of bolts you can just use a grinder with shields removed and a wire wheel attached. If you are going to wire wheel parts you may run into clearance issues unless you have a buffer. Be careful about the arbor size (1/2, 5/8, 3/4) of the grinder you buy and the wire wheel you intend to use. Also, it may be a good purchase to buy a buffer instead because you can make the parts shiny and have the necessary clearance. I would also use 1750rpm for a wire wheel instead of 3450rpm and choose high quality wire wheels.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
    For shaping metal by grinding I prefer to use a disc/belt sander over a wheel-type tool. It does not load up with softer metal such as aluminum like a wheel does and the work table is more adaptable than those on bench grinders, in my experience. YMMV.
    Maybe you are using the wrong compound and type of wheel for aluminum?

  22. #22
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    FWIW, I got the cheapest $20 unit 6 inches at OSH on sale. OSH brand. It's been useful for a lot of things, like grinding down fishing rod guide feet when I build rods. Sharpening blades on things like mowers, or axes/hatchets. For cycling, I've used coarse and fine wheels to successfully grind down the lips on older Uniglide FHubs to accept smaller teeth modern cassettes. I've used it to finish the lips on steerer tubes after I cut them roughly. But the grinder sees more action for non-cycling purposes. Quite some years old. Collects dust most of the time until another project.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  23. #23
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    I put a grinding wheel on an old dryer motor. It's worked like a champ for nearly 20 years now.
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  24. #24
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    If you want a real bench grinder...Baldor.....you will only need to buy one in this lifetime....and your kids lifetime.....and their kids lifetime....

    If your just going to use it for simple stuff,Craftsman or something along those lines will be fine.You can stop a cheap grinder with your hand.Try that with a Baldor.....you can put your whole hand in it and it won't stop,it will take the skin down to the bone,if you don't pull your hand out,it buffs bone away also.

    You can also find a 1/2 or 3/4hp motor and bolt an arbor on it.It should have some kind of guard on it.

    Cheap wire wheels throw wires,good wire wheels wear down.

    If you use grinding wheels,ALWAYS use a blotter(the paper that's on the sides on the wheels)on the wheel.If it doesn't have one,make one out of construction paper.

    Wear safety glasses or shield,tuck your shirt in,roll up your sleeves.

    I've seen one person actually stop a Baldor grinder with his hand,he lost 3 fingers and what's left ain't looking so good,be careful.

    If you look like me,Santa with a long ponytail,tuck your beard and ponytail in your shirt or you can get scalped.
    Last edited by Booger1; 11-23-11 at 11:40 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  25. #25
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    For my hp is on more concern at least 3/4 hp if you want to keep the rpm up as you work. Nothing is more annoying than having to let off pressure to keep it spinning.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
    http://www.jtgraphics.net/cyclist_bicycles.htm

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