Tungsten is a hard metal that is known to have the highest melting point among the elements. These properties make it useful for specialized applications such as Tungsten-Inert Gas Welding.
TIG welding is used extensively in the aerospace industry and in joining together nonferrous metals. TIG welding allows greater control over the process than other types of welding.
The most important element of the TIG welding process is the tungsten electrode. Pointed tungsten electrodes are especially useful in aluminum an other thin metals, though it can be used for most other welding processes. To keep this point sharp, a grinding wheel is used. One cannot use just any grinding wheel, however.
Specialized tungsten grinders are needed. Ordinary grinders have materials that can contaminate the tungsten, therefore compromising the weld quality. Due to the relative hardness of tungsten, grinders are often made of diamond or borazon.
The CK Turbo-Sharp X
One of the higher-quality tungsten grinders in the market is the Turbo-Sharp X produced by CK Worldwide. This is an enclosed grinder, which is useful in preventing the welder’s exposure to tungsten dust.
Thoriated tungsten is commonly used as a material for electrodes, and the thorium content poses a health hazard. There is a slight radioactivity present in the substance, and an enclosed grinder helps reduce the exposure to its harmful effects.
The CK tungsten grinder allows for the sharpening of standard diameters:
- 1.00 mm.
- 1.6 mm.
- 2.4 mm.
- 3.2 mm.
There is a second grinder head (the red one) that allows the grinding of the following diameters:
- 3.2 mm.
- 4.0 mm.
- 4.8 mm.
- 6.4 mm.
The “red head” accessory of the CK tungsten grinder allows the grinder to be unique among its peers. It is the only one able to grind electrodes of that diameter. The grind product is also adjustable anywhere from 20 to 60 degrees. This provides a variety of options for the tungsten electrode. There is also a short tungsten kit, allowing the grinder to work to as short as 19 mm.
The simple degree scale right next to the electrode ports of the CK tungsten grinder allows for easy alignment. This is an advantage since the enclosed structure prevents you from seeing how the wheel makes contact with the electrode.
Another advantage of the CK tungsten grinder is the consistency of its results. The rugged motor is very strong and gives the equipment a long lifespan. This motor is the biggest improvement from its predecessor, the Turbo-Sharp V. It provides stepless grinding angles and the exact repetition of grinding along the longitude. The equipment allows the user to prevent grinding wheel contamination.
The grinding disc of the Turbo-Sharp X is coated with a 220-grit diamond powder, significantly increasing the wheel life. This coating allows the wheel to resist wearing out against the hard tungsten surface. The CK tungsten grinder is also ergonomic, making handling very easy. It is especially designed to be lightweight, compared to other products of the same power.
There are other lighter alternatives, though they are not as suitable for handling different electrodes. The added heft is addressed by a vice mounting bracket which is included as a standard accessory. The adjustable head allows the user to weld according to his preferred position. It is also easy to change between different sizes using the included wrench.
While the CK tungsten grinder does not cut due to its enclosed structure, it is powerful enough to be used in demanding environments. It can be used both for small shops and job sites. The safety feature of the enclosed CK tungsten grinder collects the dust completely, making it safe to be around all the time.
There is an included “shop-vac” accessory that allows the user to clean any dust from the chamber. There is only one other brand that offers this level of safety in the market.
Granted, there’s more than one way to grind tungsten electrodes. There are different builds of tungsten grinders, and there are even chemical sharpeners. Sometimes, you can use a sharpener instead of a grinder. They are both important, though they basically do the same job.
However, grinders are much more versatile than ordinary sharpeners. And if you are looking for a good quality, safe, and easy-to-use grinder, the CK tungsten grinder is a good catch. So long as you aren’t doing any production-line level tungsten work, it should suffice for your needs.