An angle grinder is a versatile power tool that can be used for cutting, grinding, and polishing various materials, especially metal. However, not all metals are easy to cut with an angle grinder. Some metals are very hard, heat-resistant, or brittle, which makes them challenging to cut with a standard metal cutting blade. In this article, we will explore what is the hardest metal to cut with an angle grinder, and what are some tips and tricks to make the process easier and safer.
The Hardest Metal to Cut with an Angle Grinder
The answer to the question of what is the hardest metal to cut with an angle grinder is not straightforward, as different metals have different properties that affect their cutting difficulty. However, based on some general criteria, such as hardness, toughness, melting point, and abrasiveness, we can identify some candidates for the hardest metal to cut with an angle grinder. These are:
Osmium: Osmium is the second-densest element on the periodic table, with a density of 22.59 g/cm3. It is also one of the hardest metals, with a Mohs hardness of 7. It has a very high melting point of 3033°C, and it is very resistant to corrosion and wear. Osmium is considered impossible to cut with an angle grinder, as it would quickly overheat and damage the blade.
Titanium: Titanium is a strong and lightweight metal, with a density of 4.51 g/cm3. It has a Mohs hardness of 6, and a high melting point of 1668°C. Titanium is also very heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant, which makes it ideal for aerospace and medical applications. However, these properties also make it difficult to cut with an angle grinder, as it tends to form a hard and gummy layer on the surface that clogs the blade and reduces its effectiveness.
Stainless steel: Stainless steel is a steel alloy that contains chromium, nickel, and other elements that enhance its corrosion resistance and durability. It has a density of 7.9 g/cm3, and a Mohs hardness of 5.5. It has a variable melting point, depending on the composition, but it is usually around 1400°C. Stainless steel is widely used for various industrial and domestic purposes, such as kitchenware, pipes, and surgical instruments. However, cutting stainless steel with an angle grinder can be challenging, as it is very tough and abrasive, and it can generate a lot of heat and sparks that can damage the blade and pose a fire hazard.
Hardened steel: Hardened steel is a steel that has been heat treated or work hardened to increase its hardness and strength. It has a density of 7.8 g/cm3, and a Mohs hardness of 7.5. It has a melting point of around 1500°C, depending on the carbon content. Hardened steel is used for various tools and components that require high wear resistance and durability, such as drill bits, knives, and gears. However, cutting hardened steel with an angle grinder can be very difficult, as it can quickly overheat and ruin the blade, and it can also cause the angle grinder to stall or kick back.
Tips and Tricks to Cut Metal with an Angle Grinder
Cutting metal with an angle grinder can be a daunting task, especially if you are dealing with hard metals like the ones mentioned above. However, with the right technique and precautions, you can make the process easier and safer. Here are some tips and tricks to cut metal with an angle grinder:
Choose the right blade: The most important factor for cutting metal with an angle grinder is to choose the right blade for the job. You should use a metal cutting blade that is compatible with your angle grinder, and that is the right size and thickness for the type of metal you are cutting. You should also check the blade for any cracks, chips, or damage before using it, and replace it if necessary. A good blade will ensure a smooth and efficient cutting performance, and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
Wear protective gear: Cutting metal with an angle grinder can be a dangerous activity, as it can produce a lot of heat, sparks, noise, and metal dust. Therefore, it is essential to wear protective gear such as safety glasses, leather gloves, ear protection, and a dust mask. These will protect your eyes, hands, ears, and lungs from any potential harm. You should also wear long sleeves, pants, and boots to cover your skin and avoid any burns or cuts.
Secure the workpiece: Another important precaution for cutting metal with an angle grinder is to secure the workpiece firmly in place. You can use a vise, a clamp, or a jig to hold the metal in the desired position and angle. This will prevent the metal from moving or slipping during the cutting process, and ensure a precise and accurate cut. It will also reduce the vibration and kickback of the angle grinder, and make the operation more stable and comfortable.
Use the right technique: The final tip for cutting metal with an angle grinder is to use the right technique for the job. You should always cut metal with the angle grinder at a 90-degree angle, unless you are making a bevel or a curve. You should also apply a moderate and consistent pressure on the blade, and avoid pushing too hard or too fast. You should move the angle grinder along the cutting line in a smooth and steady motion, and avoid twisting or tilting the blade. You should also keep the blade cool by spraying water or oil on it periodically, and stop the angle grinder if it overheats or stalls. By using the right technique, you can cut metal with an angle grinder more efficiently and safely.
An angle grinder is a handy tool that can cut through various metals with ease. However, some metals are harder to cut than others, due to their hardness, toughness, melting point, and abrasiveness. Some of the hardest metals to cut with an angle grinder are osmium, titanium, stainless steel, and hardened steel. To cut these metals with an angle grinder, you need to choose the right blade, wear protective gear, secure the workpiece, and use the right technique. By following these tips and tricks, you can cut metal with an angle grinder like a pro.