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Choosing The Right Abrasive For Metalworking: A Practical Guide For Metalworking

Choosing the Right Abrasive for Metalworking

Choosing the appropriate abrasives can help you increase output, save expenses, and produce higher-quality results. However, with so many different abrasive products on the market, how can you be sure you're selecting the ones that are right for you? This article was created to assist you in selecting the proper abrasives.



The following are the top four types of abrasive wheels:

  • ALUMINIUM OXIDE - Aluminum oxide is a frequently used abrasive. Because of its longevity, it is favored and works well for polishing metal and eliminating thin rust deposits.
  • CERAMIC - One of the toughest abrasives for heavy metal removal applications is ceramic.
  • SILICON CARBIDE - For non-ferrous metals (copper, bronze, titanium, aluminum, zinc, gold, etc.) and low-tensile-strength materials (cast or ductile iron), silicon carbide is recommended.
  • ZIRCONIA ALUMINA - For medium metal removal and smoothing, zirconia alumina works well, particularly when utilizing a high-torque grinder on ferrous metals or alloys with high tensile strength.

Other wheel kinds you may encounter are garnet (the preferred material for light-duty smoothing and hand-sanding tasks) and emery (ideal for polishing).


Among the most well-liked shapes are:

  • STRAIGHT WHEEL - The most widely accessible kind of grinding wheel is this one. The abrasive area, or grinding face, is positioned at the edge of the design.
  • RECESSED WHEEL - A recessed wheel is similar to a straight wheel, but it has a sunken center that fits on a flange assembly or machine spindle.
  • CYLINDER, DISH, OR CUP WHEELS - Wheels that are shaped like cylinders, cups, or dishes are called by their respective names, but they all typically have cutting faces on the side.
  • MOUNTED WHEELS - These wheels are usually smaller and available in plug or cone designs.


The quantity of distinct abrasive grains on the wheel is known as grit size. The grain is coarser the lower the number (10, 16, 24, etc.). Grains with increased coarseness are better suited to harder jobs like heavy removal or quick cuts. Higher counts of finer grains (70, 100, 180, etc.) are better suited to smaller, more detailed work involving precise regions and delicate finishing.


The abrasive grains are held together by a bond or coating, which increases their cutting efficiency and wears down over time to reveal fresher, sharper grains. Stronger, more resilient, and better able to withstand harsher use circumstances and environmental elements are vitrified bonds. More exact results can be obtained and faster operations (6,500–9,500 surface feet per minute) are possible with organic bonds like rubber, glue, or shellac.


The grade, which ranges from A for soft to Z for hard, indicates how firmly the abrasives are bonded and has an impact on feed rates, wheel speed, grinding depth, and other factors. As a general rule, harder grades work better with soft materials, and softer grades work best with harder materials.


The type of material you'll be working with, how hard or soft it is, how much stock you need to remove, how quickly you need to work, the horsepower of the machine you're using, and other factors all need to be taken into account when choosing the right wheel for your needs. When in doubt, get advice from professionals (your supplier or the manufacturer).

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