Cut Off Wheel
Cut off wheels, or cut-off wheels, are a type of cutting tools used for either cutting or grinding. A cut off wheel is often mounted to a power hand tool or a power machine to perform the cutting works. The diameter, hole size, and the wheel thickness are important in choosing a cut off wheel for a particular work. The hole size determines the way the wheel mounts to the power tool and the type of power tool it can work with. The diameter determines how deep the wheel can cut into a part. The wheel thickness determines the notch size it can make.
The cut off wheels are versatile and applicable for multiple applications not only because of the diversity that is brought about by the specification, but also by the material it is made of. The cut off wheels are typically made from abrasive materials so that they can best fit the requirements of the cutting works they are involved in. The common abrasive materials to make the cut off wheels include aluminum-based materials, ceramic-based materials, silicon, and zirconia alumina. There are abrasive grains on the surface of the wheels. Based on the abrasives that are used to make the wheels, they can be cut with a number of materials such as wood, plastic, or metal.
Aluminum oxide is the abrasive that is most frequently used to make the cut off wheels because this material is ideal for general purpose cutting and grinding applications such as deburring. The aluminum oxide has a rigid and fracture resistant characteristic; also, it is less expensive than other abrasives. Having these features, it is used mostly on ferrous alloys, high-tensile materials, and wood.
Silicon carbide is the type of abrasive that allows fast cutting because it has an excellent hardness and strength. Unlike the aluminum oxide abrasives, the silicon carbide is used mostly on nonferrous metals and low pressure applications. The aluminum oxide and silicon carbide are sometimes blended together in order to better process steel-based materials with scale and iron castings.
Zirconia Alumina abrasive has an extra fine grain microstructure. The new sharp edges are generated by the constant fracture of the material. As a result, Zirconia Alumina abrasive is best for medium to heavy material removal. It is used primarily on steel-based materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel, etc. It can also be blended with aluminum oxide to improve the cut rate and prolong the tool life. This type of abrasive blend is ideal for processing stainless steel and exotic metals.
The cut off wheels with ceramic abrasive are best suitable for cooler cutting with the high purity grains on them. The ceramic abrasive is used on steel-based alloys, hard materials, and exotic materials for precision grinding. The ceramic abrasive is considered more durable than the aluminum-based abrasives. Another ceramic-based abrasive is the ceramic alumina. It is also ideal for general purpose grinding applications which are usually performed on ferrous alloys and high tensile materials just like aluminum oxide abrasives.
The cut off wheels can work with a number of power tools according to the end application and the tool specification; the power tool can be a fixed cutting machine such as a bench top cutting saw, or it can be a portable power hand tool such as a disc cutter. The stationary cutting machine and the portable cutting machine are used on different purposes. As a result, the selection of a proper cut off wheel is rather essential.
A circular saw works with the cut off wheels that range from 6 to 8 inches in diameter. The circular saw can either work with a general purpose wheel made of aluminum oxide or with the silicon carbide disc to process materials like concrete, brick, and asphalt.
The wheels with diameters measuring from around 10 to 15 inches can work with a cut-off saw just fine. The cut-off saws are the high-speed saws that are made for processing metal materials. Almost most of the abrasive types can work with a cut-off saw, whether it is a basic aluminum oxide wheel or a silicon carbide wheel.
One thing to notice when using the cut off wheels with a high-speed cutting machine is that the wheels should always be reinforced. By reinforced, it means that the cut-off wheels are made with fiberglass on the sides of the wheel or within the wheel for extra support to the product.
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