|Review by Mark Colan||posted 01-05-2011 02:56 AM||16119 views||0 times favorited||13 comments|
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)
- 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