Generally speaking... Can you use an angle grinder instead of a
bench grinder for some stationary grinding tasks? Any other
smaller and lighter tool to do lesser tasks than what a bench
grinder is normally used for? A rotary tool?
Sure. Or a plain ole drill, with a variety of grinding wheels, sanding
wheels, flap discs, you name it..
There is also a low rpm "wet wheel", for knives and such, at Sears for
$30-40, comes in handy.
Scotch brite even makes polishing pads for angle grinders, of all
In a number of cases, these alternative grinding scenarios are actually
preferable to a typical bench/pedestal grinder.
And even in a small shitty shop like mine (with some cnc), you cain't have
too many grinders, sanders. Between surface grinders, belt sanders,
pedestals, I have almost 10. And even those aren't enough, and I'll have
occasion to mount a porter-cable 4x24 belt sander in a vise.... :)
Speaking of which, overall, a vertical belt sander -- or even a hand-held
belt sander, mounted in a vise -- might be the overall most versatile
grinding bang for the buck. Altho, the cost of belts will quickly exceed
the cost of one coase grinding wheel, which in my shop has lasted for years.
I will second that opinion about belt sanders especially if you work with
aluminum. Grinding aluminum can ruin a grinding wheel. I have even heard it
that the embedded chunks of aluminum can heat up and split the grinding
wheel, but maybe that was just a story meant to scare people into not doing
A belt sander works great for beveling corners and general hand finishing.
Your question is too broad and vague to answer well.
An angle grinder, belt sander or Dremel (or a file) can handle some of a
bench grinder's tasks but not all and not necessarily as well. If you don't
have permant space for one there are small portable bench-type grinders for
smaller work. I prefer the Delta original of this 1x30 belt sander for light
smooths steel, aluminum, wood and plastic nicely but is too slow to
remove much steel, like grinding the mushroom off a cold chisel.
Angle grinders take some skill and practice to use precisely. I use a 4-1/2"
one to rough-grind lathe bits and reshape damaged woodworking tools, which
is pushing its limits. I couldn't sharpen a plane blade with one. That's a
job for a properly dressed bench grinder. The belt sander doesn't do too
well on them because the paper belt seems to compress and rebound too much
to grind a flat razor edge.
I am with Chris. You can use a file instead of a bench or angle
grinder, but the right tool for the job makes it a lot easier. You
can find used bench grinders and for some jobs they are much better
than trying to use an angle grinder.
There are several accessories available for adapting angle grinders to other
One gizmo is attached to "turn an angle grinder "into a chop saw-kinda"
Another one mounts to an aggle grinder to allow it to be used like a
circular saw when fitted with the appropriate cutting disk.
So, there are already commercially-made products which permit an ordinary
angle grinder to be more versatile.
Sine these other products are fairly inexpensive, they may provide a basic
mounting method for mounting an angle grinder to a bench, for example.
One sigificant difference between using an AC induction motor bench grinder,
compared to an angle grinder is the RPM, so the velocity and range of the
dust/debris from an angle grinder are generally greater than those of a
typical bench grinder.
I purchased one of the circular saw-type accessories a while ago, and that
one only attaches to specific angle grinders with a smooth, round, shoulder
adjacent to the spindle (not that it can't be modified).
The shoeplate area is large enough to allow attachment of other parts, such
as a mounting base.
Using a cutoff disk in the mentioned setup, the shoeplate and integral blade
cover (like that of a circular saw) provide some protection from a shattered
disk, should that situation arise, although it shouldn't when using
Like a circular saw, the depth of the blade exposure can be adjusted.
Many folks tend to use angle grinders as if they were sanders.. using the
face of the wheel.
The fastest cutting action takes place as the wheel is shedding dull
abrasive, at the edge of the wheel. When using the edge, the edge is
constantly being renewed with fresh, sharp abrasive.
When using the face/side of the wheel, the abrasive is free to dull and load
up with paint, rust or grinding dust particles, which are all
counterproductive to removing metal, while generating a lot of heat.
When smoothing-type cuttig is desired, the user should switch to a flap disk
or other abrasive product intended for smoothig a surface.
In additionn to angle grinders being mounted as stationary machines, many
other rotating machines/tools can be mouted to a base.. it's usually just a
matter of fabricating a suitable base and a guard for the cutting apparatus.