Tag Archives: United Abrasives grinding wheels

Finding the Right Grinding Wheel

A24R Pipeline Industry

Grinding wheels are much like sandpaper. Depending on the task, there are many different types of grinding wheels, and each is suited for a particular task or tool. Grinding and cut off wheels from manufacturers like United Abrasives grinding wheels are designed for use in construction and metal trades. Surface grinding wheels are made from different materials and are more likely to be found on a stationary bench grinder or blade-sharpening tool than on a portable cut off tool. Below is a non-comprehensive list that describes the major categories of abrasive and surface grinding wheels.

Woven, Silicon Carbide Disposable Production Grinding Wheels.

Seen most often on 4 or 5-inch handheld grinding tools, these tough and durable abrasive wheels are the workhorse of the steelworkers and metal fabricators industry. Their woven silicon carbide materials is harder than ferrous steel, and will quickly and efficiently cut through steel, or grind off welding slag to leave a clean joint. Metalworking contractors use these 4 ½, 5 and 6-inch handheld grinding tools in the same way carpenters use their power saws and painters their paintbrushes.

The silicon carbide wheels are inexpensive and are designed as a disposable abrasive. As the wheel cuts or grinds steel, it loses some of its surfaces and abrasive characteristics. When the wheel is too small to be used effectively, the contractor replaces it with a new disk.

Fast Grinding Disks

Fast grinding abrasive disks, including aluminum oxide grinding wheels and zirconium grinding wheels, have a higher abrasive rating than other disks. These tools are designed for quick removal of surface imperfections on steel fabrications. Because of their highly abrasive rating, they are unsuited for applications where a smooth cut edge is desired.

Hard Edge Disks

Hard-edge grinding wheels by United Abrasives are impregnated with ceramic to create an even harder cutting edge. The hard edge disks are less abrasive than the fast grinding disks, but they last much longer. Hard-edge disks are suited for high carbon steels and stainless steel.

Soft Bond Disks

United Abrasive Soft Bond abrasive disks are designed to clear material from a work surface without becoming loaded with metal dust or ferrous debris. Soft bond disks will deteriorate faster than the disks listed above, but they are perfect for softer materials such as copper, brass, bronze, or other soft metals.



Surface Grinding Wheels

Surface grinding wheels are manufactured from composite stone abrasives rather than the fast cutting silicon carbide used in cutting and grinding wheels listed above. These wheels feature a different grain structure than the silicon carbide disk. These disks are manufactured for final preparation of a surface, or sharpening the edge of digging and cutting tools rather than removing metal from welded fabricated steel. Surface grinding wheels are more likely to be found on a stationary bench grinder than on a portable cut off tool.

Surface grinding wheels are also available in different abrasive strengths. Like sandpaper, disks that are more abrasive will remove material quickly, while the finer disks are more suited for finish work, such as putting a finely honed edge on a knife.


To learn more about grinding wheels, check out these other posts:

The DNA of a Grinding Wheel

How to Read a Grinding Wheel Label

Grinding Wheels for the Right Application

Saitech™ Pipeline Industry

United Abrasives is one of the industry-leading  manufacturers of grinding wheels and cut-off disks in North America. With a plant on the eastern seaboard, and warehouses in Ontario, Canada and Utah, USA, United Abrasives grinding wheels set the standard for reliability and durability for the steel and metal working industry. In the same way that a carpenter relies on their circular saw as an essential part of their tool box, metal workers rely in grinding tools and metal cutting saws which cut, grind and shape metals used in construction and commercial building fabrication.

United Abrasives main manufacturing plant is located in North Windham, Conn. This state of the art manufacturing facility is over 400,000 square ft, and has the capacity to supply products to the entire North American market.

Silicon carbide grinding wheels are used throughout the metal working and commercial construction industry. Metal fabrication is both a science and art, and the iron and steel workers together with the plumbers and pipe fitters rely on metal grinding wheels to complete their tasks. While steel used in building construction is manufactured to specific guidelines, the individual pieces of steel often have to be custom ground on the job site, before they fit together perfectly. Additionally, even when the steel members are perfectly shaped, after they are welded together, the metal welds are cleaned up by grinding off any access, so that the joint is ready for the next steps in the construction process.

C24N Concrete

Silicon carbide grinding wheels are also manufactured to different degrees of hardness. Each wheel has a specific purpose, and depending on the application, one grinding wheel works better than another.

  • Soft bond grinding wheels are designed for softer metals. The wheel is designed so that it doesn’t load up with metal as it’s used. Soft materials, like low carbon ferrous metals, will clog a standard grinding wheel and reduce its effectiveness. The Soft Bond wheel prevents the metal from building up on the grinding wheel’s cutting surface.
  • General purpose cutting wheels are the work horse of the industry. Perfect for harder, high-carbon  steels and pipes, general-purpose  wheels balance their cutting ability with material hardness. These wheels are often used for the pipeline industry.
  • Hard edge wheels wear more slowly, and are designed for even harder alloys and ferrous steel. Hard edge wheels are often used for cutting notches in existing metals, or final fitting structural steel on-site for custom welding applications. Metal workers replace hard edge grinding wheels much less frequently because of their improved durability.

Additionally, other specialty wheels are designed for concrete, and stainless steel work.  Concrete is soft, and cuts quickly, so depending on the tool, concrete cutting blades are often made of stainless steel with diamond cutting edges. Concrete grinding wheels are designed to quickly clear the material without loading up with debris.

Stainless steel cutting wheels are some of the most expensive grinding wheels. Stainless steel’s extreme hardness demands that the grinding wheels be even harder. These grinding wheels are often used as a final surface preparation, or to remove burrs from cut lengths so the stainless steel can be fabricated smoothly.


More about grinding wheels:

How to Read a Grinding Wheel Label

The DNA of a Grinding Wheel