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Porter-Cable PCB575BG Bench Grinder: a good value

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Review by Mark Colan posted 01-05-2011 02:56 AM 15623 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Porter-Cable PCB575BG Bench Grinder: a good value No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been using a washing machine motor with a grinding wheel attached to its one axle – without any kind of guards or grinding stands. Power wires attached by screw terminals that are exposed. The whole thing mounted to a board. It worked well enough, but I decided that as safety features go, this one was a dinosaur.

I decided to find a bench grinder that I won’t have to replace later. Variable speed, 8” wheels, 3/4 HP or better were key features.

My usual shopping method is to read Amazon reviews. The problem is, none of the affordable grinders there have good reviews. The Delta VS 8” grinder is reported to vibrate so much that it walks around the shop by itself. Vibration seems to be the #1 problem people complain about. So: better to buy local, so I can return it if necessary.

Lowes.com lists the PC grinder, and that grinder is not on Amazon. It was available at a nearby store. The price was about 70% of the Delta grinder on Amazon (I think I paid $113), so I bought one.

[The picture shows my grinder mounted to a shop-built bench top, which is bolted to a grinder stand from Harbor Freight. There is a Veritas grinding stand in front of the right wheel. I’ll review the grinder stand, Veritas stand, and the project as a whole in separate postings.]

PROS:
  • 3/4 HP – adequate power for my purposes
  • Variable speed from 2000-3400 RPM – decent range
  • included 36/60 grit wheels are reasonably well balanced out of the box, so not very much vibration.
  • die-cast aluminum tool stands, reasonably strong, easily removed/replaced, with step-wise angle adjustments
  • attached light turns on when the motor is switched on
  • includes diamond wheel dresser
  • reasonably quiet operation (when not grinding)
CONS:
  • No means of locking the shaft for changing wheels. A notch to hold it into position with a screwdriver would have been useful. I guess I can add them myself using an angle grinder.
  • They tell you to use the grinder itself as a template for mounting bolts. That’s impossible, since the motor is over the holes, so you can’t get a pencil in there. They could have at least given exact distance between hole centers.

When I first turned it on, there was some vibration, but not a lot. It stayed put, thanks to the rubber feet. Even with the feet removed, it stays put. Since vibration is caused by wheels imperfectly balanced, it speaks well of the manufacturing process.

It is much easier (and safer) to grind using the tool stand. I will probably remove and possibly throw away the eye guards, because I believe that a grinder should be used with better eye protection. I bought a full face shield. Since that is adequate protection, the eye guards, which get dusty and make it harder to see your work, are a liability.

I’ll be glad when we can buy bright LED “bulb” assemblies that screw into standard incandescent sockets. Meanwhile, a small spot light is the best option. Too much vibration could shorten the life of an incandescent light, though.

I also bought a bench grinder stand from Harbor Freight, and along with some wooden parts and hardware built a complete Bench Grinder Workstation ... have a look!

BOTTOM LINE: FOUR STARS

This grinder had all the features I wanted at an attractive price. The build quality seems good, better than usual for products manufactured in China. The lack of a slot to lock the shaft to change wheels is the main reason for four instead of five stars.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA




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Mark Colan

209 posts in 1541 days



13 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2343 days


#1 posted 01-05-2011 05:02 AM

After your original post I went ahead and bought the 6” version which I also find very decent and at a bargain price for it’s quality. it’s stable, vibration free, and does a good job.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1114 posts in 1755 days


#2 posted 01-05-2011 06:58 AM

Thanks for the review.
Looks like a pretty good grinder

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4346 posts in 1743 days


#3 posted 01-05-2011 07:12 PM

Mark, I shop Amazon for a grinder also and I read very good things about a DeWalt. I am normally not crazy about this brand but i use one at work which has been working very well for many years.

-- Bert

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1927 days


#4 posted 01-05-2011 07:32 PM

Typically grinder vibration isn’t due to the grinder motor or shaft, but instead a slightly out of round, and out of balance wheel. My Ryobi didn’t exhibit any vibration until I swapped in new Norton white oxide wheels. And then it learned to dance. I trained it to stay put using a Geigers Dressing and Truing solution tool. Very effective, but far from inexpensive… Then again it works wonders on cleaning the wheel up… No more vibration though. Oh FWIW, the Norton wheels have a lousy bushing set that also tends to cause bad vibrations… Replace those with steel bushings.

The lack of a shaft lock is pretty common as well. Typically you hold the opposing wheel while tightening / loosening the wheel nuts…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 1541 days


#5 posted 01-05-2011 07:56 PM

@b2rtch, I didn’t notice the DeWalt when I was shopping, but looking now I see it is a one-speed grinder, and I decided I wanted variable.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 1541 days


#6 posted 01-05-2011 07:59 PM

@dbhost: everything I have read agrees with your assessment. I have also heard that taking the wheels off, and putting them back on, may result in vibrations, if the factory was careful to balance the wheels in installing them.

I did notice that my Norton white wheel came with plastic bushings. Where would I find metal replacements?

Is it possible to rebalance a wheel simply by placing the diamond dressing tool on the tool stand in one place, moving it in now and then until the wear is even?

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 1541 days


#7 posted 01-05-2011 08:03 PM

@PurpLev: the 6” grinder also looks like a very good buy. I think you made a good choice.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2221 days


#8 posted 01-06-2011 06:22 AM

I have the 8” grinder and have liked it for the past several months,BUT, It is now making noise like the brushes are falling apart and the wrenchless wheel change is so tight from grinding I can’t get the finger nut off without distroying the nut, (it starts to bend when I really try to twist it). I do like the grinder but the features are poor. The tool rests are small, unstable and roughly ground and affixed the sheet metal. They were the first items to be removed and replaced.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 1541 days


#9 posted 01-06-2011 12:37 PM

@Kindling: I wonder if you have the same model? My grinder does not appear to have any sheet metal – there is cast iron for the body, and cast aluminum for the guides. I admit, I have not tried to change wheels yet, and your comments make me think I should.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5386 posts in 1927 days


#10 posted 01-06-2011 11:33 PM

Replacement bushings can be found at McMaster Carr. What size is the shaft on your grinder? I may have the part #s somewhat handy if I knew the size…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2221 days


#11 posted 01-07-2011 06:55 PM

Opps! I am so brain dead! Different model and make. I should learn not the write when I am not at the shop.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View plantek's profile

plantek

301 posts in 1494 days


#12 posted 04-30-2011 03:20 PM

I just bought the same model grinder and I am very pleased with it.
I will say I find the tool rest a bit flimsy but I keep a light touch when sharpening anyway.
I covered the left side “sharpening notch” with a piece of aluminum plate I glued on. I learned to sharpen drill bits years ago with such a feature and found it annoying when it came to sharping chisels. All in all I am very happy with it.
I did check out your first post before making the decision to buy.
Thanks for that…

-- If you want it and it's within reason... It's on it's way!

View DesignMake's profile

DesignMake

5 posts in 641 days


#13 posted 01-27-2013 12:23 AM

Just bought the PC grinder and I notice more vibration at the lowest speed than higher. It actually hums nicely at the higher speed. Is this a concern or am I being overly picky? There’s no dancing or movement.

Second question: I followed the fine woodworking fix for reducing the wheel runout. They described rotating the flanges relative to each other (I’m assuming this would balance out any discrepancies between the flanges). The hole in the flanges was larger than the arbor and seemed to affect the runout. i still have not found the best way to gain alignment. Any suggestions?

-- “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

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