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Flap Disc vs Grinding Wheel: Why and When to Use

Flap Disc vs Grinding Wheel

Flap discs and grinding wheels are similar in a way that they both are utilized to shape metals with the help of an angle grinder. Apart from this similarity, the noticeable differences are why and when should you use a flap disc and grinding wheel?

Flap discs & grinding wheels are utilized for bulk stock removal of material and also have the ability to grind and finish without reducing workpiece quality. But when it comes to grinding metal effectively, you'll need a grinding wheel. However, you can use the flap disc after grinding it for better finishing and smoothing of the metal.

Choosing the right angle grinder attachments is important to get the expected result. Although both, flap discs and grinding wheels are effective abrasive tools, there are differences in their functioning. And, what are that differences lets know,

Next, we will know what are flap discs and grinding wheels and also know the answer to the most important question of why and when they need to use?

What is a Flap Disc?

Flap discs are a disc with dense overlapped abrasive flaps. This abrasive tool is used to shape and contour metal. Flap discs are mainly used for material removal, grinding, and metal finishing. 

Why and when should you use a flap disc?

Why Use Flap Discs?

Flap discs are designed with coated abrasive flaps that are attached to fiberglass backing plates. These abrasive coated flaps are quite flexible to contour metals. Flap discs are the most useful tool for different metalworking applications, especially to make right-angle cuts and fine finishing. Aluminum oxide flap discs are a great tool for woodworking.

Following are the important reasons that determine why you should choose a flap disc.

  • Bulk stock removal
  • Fine finishing
  • Molding
  • Rust removal 
  • Edge grinding
  • Blending weld seams
  • Deburring
  • Less vibration
  • Reduce burn/heat marks
  • Less gouging
  • Safe to use

When Should You Use a Flap Disc?

If you are working with metals and planning to make a perfect right-angle cut you can use flap discs. Flap discs have flexible nature, so they are an ideal abrasive tool to blend metals and fine cuts. Flap discs can grind and finish at the same time by changing the pressure. For effective grinding, you need hard pressure, whereas fine and smooth finishing need mild pressure.

Read More: Flap Disc vs Sanding Disc

What is a Grinding Wheel?

Grinding wheels are also known as bonded abrasive wheels (designed with abrasive grains) are one of the best metal cutting tools. Abrasive wheels are widely used for removing material, shaping metals, and finishing jobs. Grinding wheels are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its function. Few varieties of grinding wheels are utilized for polishing and smoothening, while others work as best sharpeners and cutters.

Now, let's know why and when should you use a grinding wheel?

Why Use Grinding Wheels?

Grinding wheels are used for high-quality finishing (by reducing surface roughness) shaping, and dimensional accuracy. These abrasive wheels are used to grind, bulk stock removal, clean up unwanted cuts, and prepare metal workpieces for welding. Grinding wheels are also used to sharpen knives, gardening tools and grind away metal welds.

When Should You Use a Grinding Wheel?

Use grinding wheel for common material sharpening applications such as improving edges of worn-down shovels and sharpening kitchen knives, garden equipment, axes, shears, lawn mover blades, and other hand cutting tools for metal. You can also a grinding wheel for cleaning, and removing unwanted surface material, but not fully ideal for finishing work.

Difference Between Flap Disc and Grinding Wheel

While working with metals you need a special cutting tool that can achieve results on each stage, flap discs can be the best and most efficient option. Grinding wheels also play an important role in any metalworking application, especially when it comes to effective grinding, removing surface material, and finishing. Although you can not be fully dependent on grinding wheels for perfect grinding as well as perfect finishing, you will need to use a flap disc for further grinding work. 

Following are the important aspects you should know-

  • Flap discs are the perfect tool for fine finishing and mild grinding, that is used to remove rust or weld. Whereas, grinding wheels are perfect for hard grinding and precise finishing.
  • Grinding wheel and flap disc both are angle grinder attachments, but for large-scale metal fabrication grinding wheels are bench grinder attachments.
  • Grinding wheels are good to grind hard materials (polishing stone, steel, and other cutting tools), whereas flap discs are suitable for ferrous & nonferrous materials.
  • Material removal rate (MRR) of grinding wheels is high as compared to flap discs.
  • When it comes to finishing the work on time, grinding wheels take more time, and flap discs take less time to do the job.
  • While working grinding wheel makes more noise and vibration and the flap disc makes less noise.
  • Flap discs feature cooler cutting with less gouging than grinding wheels.
  • Grinding wheels are slightly more expensive than flap discs.
  • Grinding wheels last longer than flap discs.

    Read More: How to Grind Aluminum With Flap Disc

    Why Should You Use Flap Disc for Stainless steel?

    For stainless steel (as well as other gloss material that will be going to paint after finishing) you need to use a flap disc because they provide a better surface finish without a gouge. The grinding wheel can gouge the steel and these gouged surface will reflect after paint or color.

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