Is a grinding aid worth the cost?
When you weld something like a coated product, some people choose a grinding aid, which essentially is a layer that you apply to the grain surface of that product in order to reduce heat while you’re grinding.
When you deal with coated abrasives, keep in mind that too much heat can cause problems, especially when working with metals such as stainless steel.
With stainless steel, the metal can be a little gummier than usual if you’re not working with a grinding aid, but is it really worth it to purchase one of these aids? Let’s take a look and find the answer.
What is a grinding aid?
While a grinding aid might sound like something complicated, it’s really very simple. Grinding aids are layers that welders apply to the grain surface of any coated product.
Once the layer is applied, the amount of heat generated while grinding is reduced. For some metals, this is not an issue because they do not become tacky or sticky while you grind.
These include the metals that are easy to grind, such as carbon steel. But for stainless steel, aluminum and other metals, a grinding aid is a huge help.
While overheating is rare, it does still happen, but if you decide to use a grinding aid, this won’t be a problem. Grinding aids, however, can be expensive and add to the manufacturing costs, so you’ll have to decide if they are worth it for your particular projects.
This will also mean a higher cost to the consumer, which should be factored into your decision to purchase a grinding aid.
Nevertheless, these grinding aids can be miracle-workers because they will not contaminate weld beads and require no special cleaning.
How much extra will it cost you?
If you regularly weld with metals such as carbon steels, the cost of the grinding aid may not be worth it, but for metals that are hard to work with, you might think otherwise.
Grinding aids can result in removing more than 50% more material than welding without them, but the consumer price is still roughly $500 less in abrasive costs and about $4,000 in labor and overhead. This is due to the higher cut rate that results for every 1,000 discs used.
If you go through a lot of discs before they cease to work or you find your grind times to be quite long, it’s worth it to at least look at purchasing a grinding aid, especially if you work a lot with stainless steel. This along with other personal protective equipment such as welding helmets and welding gloves, increases your overall safety.