A bench grinder is a very useful tool to have in your workshop. The motor revolves the wheel which grinds down the item held against it, thus angling in into the shape you need for cutting purposes. However, there are many different kinds of grinding wheels you can use with a bench grinder,and each has a different function. Most of these won’t apply to the type of bench grinder you’d use in your workshop, but are actually designed for special tasks.
The most common type of wheel with a bench grinder is the straight wheel. This produces a concave surface on the item being ground, and is good for sharpening chisels. There are many different sizes of straight wheels. Although they’re generally used for surface grinding, they can also do centerless and cylindrical grinding.
A cylinder wheel is hollow, and you can only use them with horizontal or vertical bench grinders. By using the wheel’s end face, you can make flat surfaces. These wheels can become quite large in size, going up to 12 inches in diameter.
If you want to grind threads or gear teeth, then you’ll want to use a tapered wheel on your bench grinder. As it says, it tapers toward the edge of the wheel, which makes it ideal for this more focused, delicate work.
Dish Cup Wheel
There are cup style grinding wheels you can use on your bench grinder. However, the cup tends to be very shallow, and has very limited use, only for jig grinding or cutter grinding, such as with crevices and slots. For most work you’d do at home you’d never need a dish cup wheel.
Straight Cup Wheel
Straight cup wheels offer greater grinding surface, a radial grinding surface, and gain have very limited use, mostly in cutter grinders, which are industrial. They’re very similar to dish cup grinders.
The most common use of the saucer wheel on a bench grinder is for maintaining saw blades and keeping them sharp. They’re quite specialized, and also used for grinding items like twist drills. Again, it’s not a type of wheel you’d normally use on your home bench grinder.
If you’re cutting very hard materials, then you’ll need a diamond grinding wheel. These, as they sound, have diamonds on the edge of the wheel, and can even grind carbide. You can also use them on concrete, and on gems, although the last should only be done by very experienced people.
Cut Off Wheels
Cut off wheels for the bench grinder are unusual in that they’re self-sharpening and reinforced. They’re more common on angle grinders, and used in construction for jobs such as cutting rebar or bolts, since they slice quickly and cleanly.
Diamond Mandrel Wheels
You’ll really only use a diamond mandrel with a jog grinder, and even then, you’d only use it rarely for things such as profile work. To all intents and purposes they’re like small files with diamonds bonded on.