Everything you need to know about TIG tungsten grinders

To guarantee your own safety, as well as your welders and artisans’ security, it is essential to consider the safety feature of the TIG tungsten grinder before anything else. This is especially important when you’re creating an arc with an electrode. All other grinder features must be considered secondary or tertiary.

Safety feature first

Sometimes referred to as a TIG electrode sharpener, the grinder has the ability to collect harmful or hazardous grinding dust from these electrodes. This makes it the safest welding equipment you can ever get for the household or for the business. Remember that a ground electrode produces radioactivity. This radioactive component has been proven to cause chronic health conditions, especially when inhaled. It also contributes to environmental damage.

tig tungsten grinder

There are countless TIG grinder or welders that feature enclosed bodies with compartments. These compartments store unhealthy dustings found in electrodes and prevent them from getting airborne. Sometimes, the unit comes with a vacuum system. The suction attaches to the grinder’s body to support the containment in collecting the electrode dust, which is an efficient complementary safety feature.

Secondary and complementary features

Dual Purpose Carrier

Other features, although secondary, must complement with the safety feature of the TIG tungsten grinder. For example, a grinder usually comes with a carrying case, but this carrier must have another purpose apart from allowing you to bring the unit anywhere. The case could have a slotted cover where you can place and flatten an electrode to produce a truncated cone. In this case, the wheel holder of the tungsten sharpener TIG must be angular or adjustable from twenty to sixty degrees to create the cone.

Diamond-Coated Disc

Tungsten grinders TIG welding units must have a durable grinding disc to prolong their lifespan. A TIG tungsten grinder coated with diamond powder on each side can promise twice the life of an ordinary grinder coated with other metal compound powders.

Repeatability, consistency, and ergonomics

If you want the tungsten sharpener to grind an electrode lengthwise, choose one, which is capable of replicating the original output. Otherwise, the quality of the welded material will be compromised with the inconsistency. This feature is usually discussed in the user manual, which should come with the grinder kit.

In most cases, the ergonomics of the TIG tungsten grinder also tells you whether longitudinal grinding could be consistently repeated on a material. Therefore, a hands-on trial or experience with the unit is also recommended before purchase. Typically, any grinder weighing less than four pounds will be comfortable to handle and can contribute to the consistency of your output, whether you run the unit crosswise or lengthwise on the material.

Flexible electrode holder

A good TIG tungsten grinder also comes with a standard head that can hold electrodes with different diameters. The most common electrode diameters are one millimeter, 1.6, 2.4 and 3.2 millimeters. As long as the grinder head can fit these sizes, you are good to go.

A mount for stationary use

When you want the unit to be stationary while working on any material, you want to place it on a suitable mount and not just a makeshift accessory. A custom mount does not only keep the unit in place while it is loaded. It also prevents it from flying off unexpectedly. Furthermore, grinders usually come with pen-like electrode holders for easy and safe use.

Detachable grinding wheel

Like most welding equipment, TIG grinder parts must be disassembled or replaced with new ones, especially the grinding wheel. With constant use, the wheel becomes vulnerable to wear and tear, therefore, checking the entire grinder kit if it comes with the necessary assembly tools is important, too. The tools are usually an Allen or open-end wrench, and a Phillips screwdriver. Sometimes, a cleaning solution and rags are included in the kit.

tig electrode sharpener welding

Grinding Wheel Properties

Probably the most important part of the grinder is its wheel. This is why it is extremely helpful to know the different properties of the wheel. Understanding these properties can help you choose the correct TIG tungsten sharpener.

Size of grain

A grinder wheel’s grain size determines the type of material it could cut. The sizes range from 8 to 1200. The lower the range, the coarser the wheel’s grain is. The higher the range, the finer the grain becomes. Make sure to get a unit with a large grain size if you want to polish a larger part of the material you are welding at a quicker rate.

Grain spacing

This determines the quality of engineering applied on the TIG tungsten grinder wheel while it is being constructed. Measured in density, grain spacing ranges from one to sixteen (with one being the densest and sixteen as the least dense).

Abrasive material

The type of material used to construct the grinder wheel determines how much it can polish a hard surface. The most common abrasives are diamond, ceramic, cubic boron nitride, silicon carbide and aluminum oxide.

Type of bond

This is the coolant or finish, which holds the wheel and the abrasive material together. Oxychloride, metal, rubber, shellac, silicate, resinoid and vitrified bonds are the most commonly used bonds.

Wheel Grade

Classified by the letters A to Z, the wheel grade defines the strength of the bond as it grips the abrasive material. Grade A is the softest grip while grade Z is the strongest. This influences the coolant flow, the depth of grinding and the wheel’s speed.

Tertiary Features

Putting all these features together, it should not be difficult to get a safe and durable TIG tungsten grinder. When you combine these solid features, they usually determine the other technical specifications of the grinder, so a quick view of these specifications can give away the kind or quality of job the grinder can deliver. For example, a wheel speed of 30,000 rotations per minute (RPM) means that the grinder wheel has a strong grade.

Other technical specifications you would want to review before purchasing a tungsten grinder are:

A Reminder

After considering the safety, functions and technical features of the grinder, take note of the warranty and guarantee, which comes with the product. If there is a 30-day money back guarantee or a replacement warranty coverage of at least one year, then you’ve just found yourself a grinder worthy of your purchase.


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