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angle grinder guard types & sizes

jml74

Plastic
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
I just bought a Milwaukee 4 1/2"-5" angle grinder to upgrade from my old Ryobi. I don't do a whole lot of grinding (probably obvious, since I'm talking about a 5" battery powered grinder), and either guard and disc types have multiplied since I bought the Ryobi, or I was never aware of them in the first place. Either way, I am now thoroughly confused after trying to understand it all. I have tried Googling this, but haven't found a concise summary and I hope someone can help me sort this out. My questions are:

- The Milwaukee came with a 5" Type 27 guard (metal, attaches directly to the grinder with a positive lock), with a plastic Type 1 guard that just snaps on over it. My understanding is that the T1 is used for cutoff wheels, not grinding. Is that right?
- I usually use flap discs. I bought some online before the grinder arrived and I went down this rathole, and it turns out they're Type 29. Are there any concerns with using a T29 flap disc with a T27 guard?
- Similar to the above, the flap discs are 4 1/2", not 5". Are there concerns with using a 4 1/2" disc with a 5" guard? Milwaukee does make a 4 1/2" T27 guard for this grinder, but it's sold separately.

Hopefully I'm just overthinking all of this, but I would like to at least understand what I'm getting myself into. The Ryobi was a factory refurb and came with what I now assume is a T27 guard and I've never had any problems; I know that a lot of people don't even use a guard, but that's not me.
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
Use the guard.. safety first.
If the wheel fits inside the guard housing you are fine. You shouldn’t use 9” wheels in that grinder- they can shatter because grinder spins to fast.
Type 27/29 is depressed or flat center- you might get a preference for on or other- ranch/blue cheese. Sometimes one is superior (ranch with fries- cheese with wings).

Do not skimp on which abrasives (brands and levels in brands), it really makes a difference in comfort and control.

Wear safety glasses- gloves are for winter not work and have fun with your new toy.
 

metalmagpie

Titanium
Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
Seattle
Might as well take it off and throw it in a drawer now, because you will later anyway.

If your Ryobi is still running, keep it. Having multiple grinders for different wheels is very convenient. I bet I have 10 by now, use 'em all.

metalmagpie
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
I have 6) 4 1/2 - 5" angle grinders, one is battery powered, (Makita) and use them all regularly. I keep guards on two of them, the dedicated cutoff unit, and since slicing into the fleshy pad below the thumb with a 36 grit sanding disk about 5/16" deep two years ago, the dedicated sanding unit.

that was the worst injury with one in 30 years, and was a wakeup call for sure! it was a Cubitron II disk, and I knew how dangerous it was, having used one to cut clean through a 2 X 4 in seconds ( was on site, and no woodworking tools). since then, I not only put the guard on, I also dress the new disks by knocking off the projecting grit with the old disk when changing them.

as far as which guard, use basic logic, not numbers!

if the guard keeps your soft bits from touching the edge at least some of the time, that's good. if it doesn't, its not.

the other factor is worksite safety regulations and practices, which can be under government, management, or other actors such as unions, other trades, or authorities having jurisdiction. I have a guard in my travel kit for such occasions.

upshot, don't discard the guard!
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
You've got to be careful with the cutoffs. If you've got some experience you get a feel for keeping them nice and straight/square but it's very easy to get badly hurt if you jam one up and especially with no gloves on. Always wear gloves! Guards if you can fit them. Here's an example of a kid that I know that wasn't being careful and wearing gloves... He got very lucky that none of the tendons or ligaments were hit. I first aided him and sent him for stitches.
 

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dana gear

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 27, 2013
Location
Northern califorina, usa
I was not going to reply to this post as I am a firm believer in safety first and respect the fact that safety guards are there for a reason, that said I cannot tell you for sure how many 4-1/2 angle grinders with flapper wheels are in our shops and not a one of them have a guard. I could never understand a guard with a flapper wheel, profiling is next to impossible with a guard. So far not a problem with the happy people at OSHA.
 

jml74

Plastic
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Thanks for the feedback, everybody. I didn't specify that this is home use, so I don't have to worry about OSHA or unions, just trying to be reasonably safe. At this point in the discussion I'm not going to lose sleep over having a 5" guard with 4 1/2" flap disc, but I'm not going to remove it, either (unless there's no other choice for a specific job--the guard on this one is easy enough to remove and replace).

Regarding gloves, I don't want to open a can of worms, but there's been one "never wear them" and one "always wear them" in the replies. I was taught that gloves shouldn't be worn around anything spinning (lathe, mill), and I would include grinders in that, although obviously there is a compelling argument for them made by eKretz. I guess a reasonable compromise might be snugly fitting gloves when using a cutoff wheel, given the chance of high-speed shrapnel.
 

eKretz

Diamond; Mod Squad
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana, USA
Regarding gloves, I don't want to open a can of worms, but there's been one "never wear them" and one "always wear them" in the replies. I was taught that gloves shouldn't be worn around anything spinning (lathe, mill), and I would include grinders in that, although obviously there is a compelling argument for them made by eKretz. I guess a reasonable compromise might be snugly fitting gloves when using a cutoff wheel, given the chance of high-speed shrapnel.

Speaking for myself, that rule mostly applies to stationary machinery that weighs more than the guy running it, not handheld tools where hands are always well away from the spinning tooling. If hands/fingers are anywhere actually near anything spinning: no gloves. Otherwise, gloves - especially when using tooling like cutoff wheels that can shatter without a guard...
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
Speaking for myself, that rule mostly applies to stationary machinery that weighs more than the guy running it, not handheld tools where hands are always well away from the spinning tooling. If hands/fingers are anywhere actually near anything spinning: no gloves. Otherwise, gloves - especially when using tooling like cutoff wheels that can shatter without a guard...
good general guidelines, and I'll add especially no gloves for things that are "pinch" or "grabby" I.E. the 12" disk sander with a table, or the lathe in general, but particularly with chucks, dogs etc.

as to fit, tighter, closer fitting CAN be worse, as the gruesome vids online of folks wearing nitrile/latex or rubber gloves having accidents on the lathe show.
 








 
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