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How to Use an Angle Grinder | 3 Key Tips to Grind Like a Pro

We got our Pro team together to give you some tips on how to use an angle grinder from basics to some advanced techniques and shortcuts. Angle grinders are controlled by either a trigger, paddle, or a switch. They spin a disc at an incredible rate of speed for the express purpose of sanding, grinding, or cutting. The many uses of an angle grinder make it a versatile tool used by a wide range of professionals. With so much flexibility at your disposal, the angle grinder also has a steep learning curve compared to many other tools.

30-Second Summary
  • Wear proper protection
  • Match the accessory to the grinder
  • Face the debris away from your body
  • Maintain the proper angles

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How to Use an Angle Grinder

Tip #1: Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Before you use an angle grinder, you’ll want to grab some personal protection gear. The reality of the angle grinder is that it’s a loud tool that kicks a whole lot of debris around. Plus, you’re not always grinding or polishing. Oftentimes, the job entails cutting. If you get sloppy with a cutting wheel or simply have bad luck, that wheel could turn into high-speed shrapnel.

For these reasons, you’ll do yourself a favor if you grab some hearing protection, long sleeves, gloves, and something to shield your entire face. You don’t want to take a hot shard of cut-off wheel to the moneymaker, after all.

The Bosch X-Lock Grinder may make it easier to change discs, but it still operates like a traditional grinder in every other way.

Pro Tip: Having a cutting wheel fly apart on you at 10,000 RPM is no joke. There’s nothing you can do when it happens. As a result, you want to always wear a full face shield when using a cutting wheel—even when using a guard. Grinding and using a flap disc doesn’t typically present the same level of danger, so the guard and adequate eye protection are often enough.

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Tip #2: Your Accessories Need to Match the RPM of the Grinder

When attaching your wheel, disc, or cup, check the manufacturer’s specs. The max RPM on the accessory should meet or exceed the max RPM of the grinder you plan to use. If the rated speed of the accessory is lower than your grinder, you run the risk of the wheel flying apart.

Tip #3: Position the Tool Properly and Watch Those Sparks!

Angle Sparks Away from Your Body

Because angle grinders quickly remove lots of material, lower the risk as much as possible by positioning the tool properly. Different applications and attachments call for different angles. Ensuring sparks and debris fly away from your body reduces your chances of getting injured. Your work clothes will last longer, too!

Even inexpensive models like this Skil cordless grinder spin at incredibly high speeds and warrant the use of protective clothing.

Surface Grinding and Flap Discs

For surface grinding, use the flat part of the wheel, maintaining a 20°-30° angle between the tool and the work surface. Position the blade guard at the back towards your body. Use a smooth back and forth motion to guide the flap disc over the material. Let the wheel do the work, but feel free to apply enough pressure to ensure you’re being productive.

Cutting Wheels

You should tackle cutting straight on since you want to use the edge of your wheel to cut into the work surface. Be careful not to bend the cutting wheel in any direction. In this mode, the guard always goes on top to protect you from debris. Wearing a face shield also protects you against premature disc failure. And remember—if the guard isn’t between the cutting disc and your face—move it until it is.

Light Grinding or Sanding

For sanding applications, hold the tool at a 5°-10° angle to the work surface. For pretty much all grinder applications, apply only minimum pressure. You want to allow the tool and the wheel to do the hard work.

Additional Pro Tips on How to Use an Angle Grinder

  • Before applying the grinder to the work surface, allow the tool to reach full speed. You’ll do a better job of keeping your cuts and grinds consistent.
  • For grinding and sanding applications, keep the tool moving so as to avoid gouges just like you do with a sander. You’ll end up with much smoother and more professional results.
  • Some grinders have lock-on switches. These have the potential to come on whenever they receive power. That means that if you swap out a battery, attach an extension cord, or reset a breaker, you want to make a habit of turning the grinder off first. Some grinders have a built-in “zero voltage” safety to avoid kicking on automatically, but not all do. This is a great safety feature.
  • Make sure everything stops spinning before setting the angle grinder down. Even a lightly spinning blade can damage work surfaces and grab loose clothing. A braking grinder (grinder with an electric or mechanical braking system) really helps avoid these problems.
  • Occasionally, you’ll want to remove the guard when it gets in the way. Many Pros have at least one story about a cutting wheel shattering. Most shrouds rotate to make life a little easier. Most of these tools spin at over 10,000 RPM. In general, you want to keep that guard on no matter what!

If you’ve got any tips or tricks on how to use an angle grinder, feel free to leave your input in the comments section below!

We got our Pro team together to give you some tips on how to use an angle grinder from basics to some advanced techniques and safety guidelines.

What Is a Grinder and How Do You Use It for Cannabis?

If you’re new to cannabis, you may have a few questions about grinders and how to use one. Grinders can be purchased at almost any smoke store or head shop, or you can order one online from a variety of retail outlets. They can be as simple as a grinding card (like a cheese grater for cannabis) or a more complex multi-chamber device. In this tutorial, we’re going to teach you how to use the most common type of cannabis grinder: a 4-piece grinder with a kief catcher.

But first, let’s go over the basics.

What Is a Grinder and Why Do I Need One for Cannabis?

As you might have guessed, a grinder is the tool you use to break your cannabis up into small bits for smoother-hitting bowls or for wrapping in rolling papers and blunt wraps. There are a number of ways to grind cannabis if you don’t have a grinder, but grinders speed up the process and offer perks like kief catchers.

A kief catcher refers to the bottom chamber below the screen that gathers all the potent crystal kief knocked off the buds in the grinding process. You can scoop the kief out and add it to the top of your bowl, or use it later to press your own hash or cook edibles.

Above the screen, you’ll find the grinding chamber with “teeth,” or the blades that do all the work. The lid of the grinder attaches to this part, and metal grinders typically have a magnet to help keep things secure as you grind.

How to Use a Marijuana Grinder

Step 1: Take off the top lid. Use your fingers to break bigger buds up and place them in between the grinder’s teeth. Don’t bother putting any bud in the direct center–this is where the magnet pivots, so nothing in the center will get shredded.

Step 2: Replace the top of the grinder and give it about 10 rotations, until all the bud has fallen through the holes. You can remove the top and tap it against the grinder’s side to help loosen up any sticky pieces stuck in the teeth.

Step 3: Unscrew the chamber with the teeth to find the basket layer holding all your freshly ground cannabis. Load it into your pipe, joint, or blunt and enjoy!

Step 4: Once you’ve collected some kief in the bottom chamber, scrape some out with a piece of paper or the scraping tool provided (not all grinder purchases will include one, but they’re definitely handy). Again, you can sprinkle kief onto a bowl to make it more potent, or save it for something else. Be careful with metal scrapers, as they can scrape aluminum particulates along with your kief!

Some people like to put a weight in the kief chamber to help knock resin from the screen into the bottom dish. A cleaned penny or nickel works perfectly for this.

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How to Clean a Sticky Grinder

One day, you’ll have used your grinder so often that it will become sticky with kiefy resin. The threading on the sides where pieces screw together will become gummy, making it difficult (or impossible) to twist open. Avoid having your grinder lock up on you by keeping it clean; here are a few tips for keeping things running smoothly.

  • Rub the sticky grinder parts with isopropyl alcohol and salt. This is a go-to cleaning method for pipes and bongs, but it works just as well for getting rid of the stickiness on grinder pieces.
  • Use a small brush (e.g. a stiff-bristled paintbrush, or a clean beard brush or toothbrush) to knock kief loose from the screen.
  • Freezing your grinder makes it harder for kief to stick to surfaces. Consider putting your grinder in the freezer before cleaning up the kiefy mess if it’s being particularly stubborn.
  • For really irredeemably sticky grinders, sometimes it’s best to just replace the thing altogether, especially if it’s a cheap grinder.

What other grinder tips and hacks do you have to offer those new to cannabis? Leave any questions or advice in the comments section below!

Learn about all the basics of a cannabis grinder, how to use it to grind your buds, and how to clean it when it gets too sticky from kief. ]]>