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grinding wheels

Grinding Wheels for Metal

Empire Abrasives carries a range of high quality grinding wheels & discs, in stock daily, with fast shipping in 4.5", 5", 6", 7", and 9" sizes with flat and depressed center options.

What are Grinding Wheels?

A grinding wheel, also known as a grinding disc, is a consumable abrasive product formed into a circular/wheel shape that is made up of a sharp grains of abrasive material.  They are built for varying tasks using different abrasive materials and come in a variety of sizes.  There are different style wheels for different grinding tools.  All of Empire Abrasives grinding wheels are designed to be attached and used with a compatibly sized angle grinder.

Grinding wheels are formed with tightly packed resinoid bonded abrasive grains. Additionally, our reinforced grinding wheels contain multiple layers of high tensile strength fiberglass mesh throughout the resinoid bonds. Reinforcing with fiberglass mesh extends the overall wheel life and increases the structural integrity within the wheel bond for the most demanding applications.

What are Grinding Wheels Used For?

As the name suggests, the primary use of this tool is for grinding.  A few common grinding applications are deburring, auto body work, general metal grinding, removing rust, surface preparation, removing weld spatter, metal fabrication, and rapid stock removal. 

Additionally, we carry hybrid grinding wheels. These specialty abrasive discs are thinner (1/8") than the typical grinding wheel (1/4") and slightly thicker than cut off wheels (1/32" to 3/32"). This makes the hybrid grinder cutting wheel thin enough for fast cutting through rebar, metal tubing, iron piping, and structural steel, but also thick and strong enough to lightly grind those same metals. This can help you improve productivity by working continuously without constantly having to stop working to swap out a cutting disc for a grinding wheel.

Main Grinding Wheel Types - T1 vs T27 Grinding Wheel

Type 27 (T27) grinding wheels have a depressed center (or sometimes hubbed) and flat shape to the face of the grinder attachment.  This is similar to flat Type 27 flap discs, which are also designed with a curved/convex shaped T29 option, The Type 29 flap discs are best when working from steeper angles.

Type 1 (T1) straight wheels are completely flat across the front and back of the abrasive. The straight wheel profile is used more with cutting discs or larger and small grinding wheels for pedestal or bench grinders. 

Grinding Wheel Abrasive Grains

Depending on the job at hand, you may need to look for different abrasive types for your project.  Different abrasive materials for grinding discs offer the ability to work with different metal surfaces better than others.   Commonly used abrasives for most grinding wheels include coarse aluminum oxide and silicon carbide grains for optimal grinding performance.  Aluminum oxide is capable of grinding steel, stainless steel, iron, and all ferrous metals.

Grinding Aluminum/Soft Metals

Modern grinding wheels can also come with blends of materials to grind metals of different hardness levels  Some discs are specifically designed for grinding soft metals like aluminum, brass, copper, bronze, and other soft non ferrous metals. Grinding soft metals can be tricky with standard abrasives. These metals have lower melting points, making them easier to damage with heat caused by the high wheel speed

We use a proprietary blend of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide abrasive grains to create our soft metal/aluminum grinding wheels that prevent loading and avoid damaging your workpiece by allowing you to grind with less pressure leading to lower temperatures.

Grinding Wheels vs Cutting Wheels

At first glance they may look like a similar tool, but these are definitely built for different uses.  Grinding discs have a thicker construction, increasing the surface area and strength of the wheel for grinding metals.  Cutting discs are an abrasive cutting tool often made of the same materials, but are much thinner to allow them to easily cut through metal.  Standard cutting wheels should not be used for grinding purposes to avoid risks of damaging the wheel or causing harm to the operator.

Choosing The Right Grinding Wheel

If you’re feeling a little lost determining the best grinding wheels for your particular job, we’re here to help you. Feel free to call us at 1-800-816-3824 or use the “Chat with us” feature on the bottom right of this page to speak with an abrasives specialist. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

General Grinding Wheel Safety

These high speed abrasive discs can be extremely dangerous if used incorrectly. Below are some basic tips for grinder wheel safety that should always be observed, even if you’re just doing quick touch-up work.

  • Always wear proper PPE

  • Always inspect your grinding wheels before use for any damages, such as defects, cracks, or chipping

  • Always match the diameter of the grinding wheels with the appropriate angle grinder

  • Never remove or modify the angle grinder guard

  • Never use an angle grinder with a higher RPM rating than the wheel

  • Always allow the grinder to warm up, coming up to full speed before each use

  • Always allow the grinder to come to a complete stop after use

  • Always use two hands on your angle grinder

  • Do not wear baggy clothing while operating an angle grinder