Cut-Off Wheels and Die Grinders – A Dangerous Combination


What is the difference between a cut-off tool and a die grinder? Simple – cut-off tools come equipped with a guard and proper mounting flanges designed for cut-off wheels, and the speed is compatible with the cut-off wheel. On the other hand, die grinders use spindle- and chuck-mounted accessories such as carbide deburring tools, mounted points, small polishing tools, and small coated abrasives with back-up pads. While die grinders may look similar to cut-off tools, they are not. They are unguarded tools without flanges and should NEVER be used with cut-off wheels. It is simple to remember: if the tool does not have a guard, do not use a cut-off wheel.

The photographs below show a properly mounted and guarded cut-off wheel compared to a die grinder.

cutoffwheel-cutoffgrinder-figure1Figure 1. Correctly guarded and mounted cut-off wheel on a cut-off grinder diegrinder-mountedpoints-backuppad-figure2Figure 2. Die Grinder with mounted points and coated back-up pad  



The cut-off wheel pictured to the left is mounted on a die grinder with a screw, two regular washers, lock washer and a nut. This die grinder does not have a wheel guard, proper mounting equipment, and may have a speed that exceeds the safe operating speed marked on the wheel. NEVER USE A CUT-OFF WHEEL ON A MACHINE LIKE THIS.

Remember, your safety is YOUR responsibility. Only you can make it happen. Always play it safe at the wheel.

Figure 3 (at left). Misuse of a cut-off wheel on a die grinder

For additional information on this topic or if you need any other abrasive safety information, please review ANSI, OSHA and all literature provided by the coated abrasive and machine manufacturer. You may contact the Saint-Gobain Product Safety Department at (508) 795-2317, Fax (508) 795-5120 or contact your Saint-Gobain Abrasives representative with any safety related questions.