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Old 02-14-2010, 09:43 AM   #1
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Default Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Everytime I see these "pros" on TV (and I really do mean everytime) working on something, the guard is always removed from their angle grinder. I assume they do this to get better access to or view of the work piece.

Are these guys on a deathwish? Or am I just overly cautious in keeping my guards on my grinders?
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Usually it's so the camera can follow what they're doing easier. Like when they don't wear their helmets to tack weld, it's usually so they can tack then talk to the audience.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Better visibility and angles.

(guilty)
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

If you can control your sparks I don't see a problem taking a guard off. It's an entirely different animal but I ran a surface grinder like this one for years and never had the guard on the wheel. To me most of the time a guard would get in the way of seeing either the wheel or your work. As a matter of fact on a machine like this it was a daily practice to touch the grinding wheel with my fingertip while it was running to check the dress of the wheel. You just have to know your equipment and what can go wrong.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I pull the guards off every one of my grinders, it seems they are always in the way. I realize they are there for a reason, but like they say....you have to be smarter than what you're messin' with. There are a few times it would be nice to have a guard, but not enough for me to put up with having them on all the time. At work, none of the shops grinders have guards either. The worst part about no guards is when some mindless dummy is walking by while you're grinding and kicks the extension cord or air hose, yanking the grinder out of your hand. That'll piss you off no matter if you have a guard or not!

Flame me if you want, but I also pull the trigger locks off my die grinders....what a PITA!

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Old 02-14-2010, 10:31 AM   #6
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

My Dad use to use his angle grinder without the shield untill one day the abraisive blade broke away hit the floor bounced and climbed up his face leaving a nice cut.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Guards are just that, there to guard, taking them off is exposing yourself and others to a potential risk that can hurt/kill. As to the guys on TV, they and their producers are helping to ignorantly train the masses who watch their shows. How many times do you see them make an effort to put on safety glasses? Watch New Yankee Workshop and Abe will tell you first thing you need to put your safety glasses on.

I've been around when a guy is grinding in a corner of two pieces to remove a weld and pinch the wheel sending pieces flying all over the shop. As to the surface grinder and no guard, do so at your own risk. I have two experiences with them, one is on a Boyer-Shultz 6x18, the guy before me had somehow hit the wheel when he was taking his setup off of the magnet and dropped it on the rotary switch for turning on wheel. The maintenance department came in and replaced the switch. Well obviously the maintenance tech was not worth a shit and wired two of the three phases backwards.

So I walk up dust off the magnet, place my wheel dressing block/diamond on the magnet and I am standing on the right of the grinder facing it as I turn the switch to the right to turn the grinding wheel on. As I am standing there reaching for the Z axis handle to start lowering the wheel towards the diamond "Booom" the grinding wheel explodes, next thing I know I am being thrown backwards without using any of my own energy.

What happened is the wheel got up to speed and grenaded, 1/2 of the wheel flew out and hit me square in the chest, point first, luckily it hit me in the micrometer pocket which deadened the blow to keep the wheel from sinking into my chest/heart, but it was enough to send me backwards into a 8' x 2' deep steel bench with surface plates and height gages. I hit with enough force that I knocked that completely over, ending up laying on the bench. I now have a $125 Etelon paper weight instead of 0-1" micrometer, since that chunk of grinding wheel bent the barrel/thimble of the mic.

The wheel guard on the grinder was destroyed and now knowing how much force a wheel of that size could generate I have a big dose of respect for what a grinding wheel can do. One night (I was on 2nd shift) I walked into the mold shop I was working at in the back corner where the two large surface grinders were sunbeams coming down from through the steel roof (25' high roof), it turns out that one of the moldmakers were given the job of making a small slider frame for trying out smaller molds in a larger press.

This was comprised of a piece of steel 4" thick by 48" x 30" with 4 - 4" diameter steel posts (solid) which were mounted using 1.5" allen head bolts in counterbored recesses in the plate. He had this setup on the grinder so that he could grind the top of all four columns/posts so that all four would be exactly even - to maintain squareness of this assembly he was building.

Well sure enough since he only bolted the posts on using one large screw when the grinding wheel came in contact with them they started to loosen over time, since he had the machine set in automatic to transverse in X and Y. When finally one post came loose enough that it jammed into the wheel causing it to grenade. This wheel was 24" in diameter and 6" wide. Pieces of this wheel tore the 1/4" thick steel wheel guard off the grinder like it was butter and threw chunks of wheel through the roof. The moldmaker who was standing about 5' from the machine literaly filled his underwear, no joke the guy had a bowel movement right then and there.

So to me guards are there for a reason, so if someone takes it off and gets hurt, don't blame OSHA (if it happens at work) for giving your (if you are the owner) or company's wallet a proctological exam.

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Old 02-14-2010, 10:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I had an employee out working with a grinder cutting off bolts. He had the grinder crawl up his arm, it took 25 stitches to fix.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

i am always surprised at them doing it on tv and wonder if OSHA gets after them?
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

if you are using a bonded wheel OSHA says you have to use the guard, if it is not a bonded wheel then it is ok to remove.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I used to remove the guards temporarily to get to a certain spot but after that I would put the guard back on as soon as I was done.

I ended up buying a second grinder one with the shield that I use most of the time and then I had one without that I only use when it needs to be used.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I end up removing the gaurds on most of my grinder to .I also have takin the gaurd off and cut it down so it just potects you from putting your hand to close and hitting the wheel. the new metabo grinder that we just got have a push lock pin to rotate the gaurd to any position you want. very nice feature.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I leave it on when I'm using it.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

buy grinder. take it out of box. remove guard. use.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Its a nasty habit, Most of my grinders have the guard removed and i paid the price a couple months ago when one of my wheels came apart and slammed into my inner thigh. It left a nice multi colored bruise that put a little hicup in my step for a couple days. I Dont recomend it, but there are times when its nearly impossible to get the job done with it there. My 2 cents..
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I was working in a shop about 25 years ago. A guy was using an air grinder without a guard when I heard a loud pop. Looked over & saw him holding his leg & within 5-10 seconds, he was standing in a large puddle of blood-a piece of the wheel hit his femural(?) artery. Paramedics were called, taken to the hospital, barely made it. I'm still guilty of removing the guard sometimes, I try to stay out of the rotation of the disc/wheel & "always" wear my welding hood with the lens flipped up. I know I'm taking a chance, but...........
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I keep them on. I'll take the inconvenience over shrapnel. I've had them blow up, had one take out my face shield, one lodged itself in sheetrock.

The dewalt doesn't have a swiveling one, which is annoying. The milwaukee is adjustable, so it's not a problem at all.
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:14 PM   #18
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by Hiball View Post
Its a nasty habit, Most of my grinders have the guard removed and i paid the price a couple months ago when one of my wheels came apart and slammed into my inner thigh. It left a nice multi colored bruise that put a little hicup in my step for a couple days. I Dont recomend it, but there are times when its nearly impossible to get the job done with it there. My 2 cents..
Ditto. I at least wear my safety glasses.......usually. Along with the grinding wheels and disks throwing chunks or coming apart completely, I've also had Roloc disks and the holders come apart. One Roloc holder left a green/blue/black bruise on the inside of my felt arm. Hurt like hell! I guess that's what I get for using a holder 10+ years old.

Again, I pull the guards off, but don't recommend it.

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:54 PM   #19
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I love the guards, rarely have to remove one. After 30 yrs I can leave myself in a position where I dont need to take it off. They are on all my tools.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I used one with the gaurd off. Ended up running one of my knuckles into the wheel. Took all the skin off before I could react. I could see where the bone was ground. I LEAVE THE GAURDS ON.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:11 PM   #21
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Never have taken a guard off of an angle grinder. Never saw the need. Figure if I get to the point that I consider taking safety equipment off of a tool, maybe I'm not using the right tool for the job.

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Old 02-14-2010, 03:13 PM   #22
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

You have convinced me.......... I'm replacing my grinder with some files...
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:27 PM   #23
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

i dont have the guards on any of my grinders, i have lots of scars for this reason, but i hate having the guard on, so i say,you keep your gaurds and ill keep my scars
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:31 PM   #24
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Maybe you guys should wear one of these while operating a power tool, just to be on the safe side.
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:38 PM   #25
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I may remove the guard for a special job but then it goes back on.
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Old 02-14-2010, 04:20 PM   #26
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by Scout Driver View Post
Never have taken a guard off of an angle grinder. Never saw the need. Figure if I get to the point that I consider taking safety equipment off of a tool, maybe I'm not using the right tool for the job.

Scott
I agree. All of my Milwaukee grinders have an easily adjustable guard on them. Even the older screw type can be adjusted rather easily (leave the screw a little loose and just move it by hand). If you're using the tool properly than the guard will not be in the way.
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Old 02-14-2010, 05:33 PM   #27
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Operating with a guard removed is sorta like playing hockey in the nude. Best to start studying Braille and get your seeing eye dog now, while learning is easier.
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Old 02-14-2010, 05:35 PM   #28
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Maybe you guys should wear one of these while operating a power tool, just to be on the safe side.
No, that is for having sex with ugly women, it keeps them from kissing you and falling in love.

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Old 02-14-2010, 06:33 PM   #29
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Those who like to remove grinder gaurds sometimes look like this:

http://www.head-face-med.com/content/4/1/1

I hate to see people get hurt over stupidity.
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Old 02-14-2010, 06:35 PM   #30
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I had the guard off of mine forever but recently put it back on when someone I know had a wheel explode and cut his hand really bad. The doctors managed to put his hand back together, but he has movement issues in some fingers and cant feel some parts of his hand at all. I figure a little inconvenience is worth some piece of mind, besides, I'm not young enough to think I'm immortal anymore.

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Old 02-14-2010, 06:39 PM   #31
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Those who like to remove grinder gaurds sometimes look like this:

http://www.head-face-med.com/content/4/1/1

I hate to see people get hurt over stupidity.
Those are some good examples, but nothing compared to what a large diameter cutoff wheel can do! I actually made a guard for a TC air grinder I bought on ebay. I run 6" cutoff wheels on it, and TC wouldn't sell me a 6" guard. Its downright frightening to spin one of those things naked.

Nobody cares, but whenever I'm using a cutoff wheel or a grinding wheel (i.e. bonded wheel of any sort), or a wire wheel, the guard stays on. Flap discs, sanding discs, and clean n strip discs run without a guard most of the time.

If you can't get at what you need to grind using an angle grinder with a grinding wheel with the guard on, ditch it and grab a die grinder with a bur or mounted stone.

If you can't get at what you need to cut using an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel, ditch it and grab a sawzall, body saw, plasma, cutting torch...

There are options that don't include tempting fate. It will catch up to you eventually.
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:06 PM   #32
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I tried to leave mine on so it would be there for whatever it was good for, but the thing just kept getting in my way. If a wheel is going to let go, there's no way the guard will contain the shrapnel. It will most likely deflect it. So would the guard deflect the shrapnel away from me, or right into me? There's no way to know.

I cut my guard way down so that it's not in my way and reinstalled it, mostly just so I could set the tool down without it resting on the wheel. They're not good for much else simply because there is no way they can contain any shrapnel. As much as possible, it's best to not put yourself inline with the wheel, guard or no guard.
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:12 PM   #33
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I am guilty of removing the guards from my 4" and 5" grinders and leaving them off, but sometimes go through worry phase and put them back on. Then there comes a job where they get in the way and I take them back off and leave them off again. I have never needed, and would not take the guards off my 9" grinders though.
If my 17 year old son needs to use one, I put the guard back on as I won’t let him use them without it. If I get hurt that’s my own fault but wouldn't forgive myself if he did.
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:17 PM   #34
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Never needed to remove a guard for grinding yet. I have removed the guard for cutoff disks. Thinking about putting it back on though.
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Old 02-14-2010, 07:48 PM   #35
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by mikevango View Post
buy grinder. take it out of box. remove guard. use.
I think all of you are missing a very important point. Do not ever use cheap (China) grinding wheels. I may run a cheap (HF) grinder but it sure as hell has a US made wheel on it.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:40 PM   #36
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Those who like to remove grinder gaurds sometimes look like this:

http://www.head-face-med.com/content/4/1/1

I hate to see people get hurt over stupidity.
I am a retired EMT, and those picture make me queasy to say the least. The one thing that they don't mention is the mental trauma and physical pain that accompanies those type of injuries. I was bite in the face by a dog, and my injuries were very similar to those described in figure 5 case 3. It took the plastic surgeon over 3 hours to clean, remove debris, excise, and re-sect the wound edges. Mine was not done under general anesthesia, but by localized injection because of the nature of the wounds. I can say first hand that this is an experience that no one wants to ever go through. The pain was horrific for a few weeks while healing, and I couldn't go outside because it looked like I was involved in a fight with a chain saw. You don't ever want to be injured like this. The injuries pictured on that site, make my dog bite look like a scratch..
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:50 PM   #37
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

i have multiple angle grinders some with shields some without so iif i need to get into tight spaces i can go with the one w/o the shield.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:25 PM   #38
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Old 02-14-2010, 09:47 PM   #39
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by X1 Mike View Post
Maybe you guys should wear one of these while operating a power tool, just to be on the safe side.

I do wear a face shield when grinding. Another tip I picked up somewhere is to not put your face in the plane of rotation incase the wheel comes apart.

Chris
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:32 AM   #40
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Well, about half the time I use my angle grinder, I'm squatting at whatever it is I'm working on... giving whatever is directly in front of me a nice unobstructed shot at my nuts. I always figured that if one of those wheels comes apart for any reason at all, I'd like to have that guard between the exploding wheel pieces and my nuts. Oddly enough, I've had this opinion since I bought the thing when I was 17, and I'm 39 now.
And one time about 8 years ago, it paid off nicely. The wheel exploded, pieces went everywhere, including hitting me on the inside of the leg up toward my knee... but nothing came back and hit me in the nuts.

I was talking to my Lawson dealer about just this subject last week, and he said he always told on of his customers to buy quality USA-made grinding discs (Lawson, of course), and to keep the guard on his grinder. The customer didn't think either was that big a deal.

The Lawson guy saw his customer at the races one day, and he was kinda hobblin funny. He was grinding on his race car, squatting there, and the stone exploded and...anybody? YES, it hit him in the nuts. Actually, it hit him in the pecker, slicing through a pair of blue jeans. Several stitches on his pecker and a week later, he actually whipped it out to show the Lawson guy, and the Lawson guy said "It was yellow and green and black, had stitches on it, and was about the size of a football!" He made a comment about the guy's wife probably liking it, and the guy said he didn't even want to think about sex for a long time.

So ask yourself... what do you like better? Running without the guard on the grinder for some perceived benefit of increased field of view, or a normal-sized pecker without stitches that's always ready to go?

I find that many of my decisions are guided by a long-term view on the relative health of my pecker. So far, I'm batting 1.000.

-Brad
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Last edited by Brad54; 02-15-2010 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:51 AM   #41
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by Shadowdog500 View Post
I do wear a face shield when grinding. Another tip I picked up somewhere is to not put your face in the plane of rotation incase the wheel comes apart.

Chris
learned this the hard way, it happened about 7 years ago now and i still have the scar on my chin
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:15 AM   #42
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by Davo J View Post
If my 17 year old son needs to use one, I put the guard back on as I wonít let him use them without it. If I get hurt thatís my own fault but wouldn't forgive myself if he did.
Davo
That's typical crazy talk. It goes along with the people who say "I've been doing it like this for years and nothing has ever happened." If something were to happen to you, don't you think it's going to hurt your son? When things go bad, all of your loved ones will suffer. Would you forgive yourself for putting them through the anquish of watching you heal? How would it effect them if you couldn't get back to work for six months (or worse)?

I always try to work safe so that I can keep on working, both for myself and those that depend on me.

My 2cents, I'm done ranting now.........
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:17 AM   #43
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

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Originally Posted by Shadowdog500 View Post
I had the guard off of mine forever but recently put it back on when someone I know had a wheel explode and cut his hand really bad. The doctors managed to put his hand back together, but he has movement issues in some fingers and cant feel some parts of his hand at all. I figure a little inconvenience is worth some piece of mind, besides, I'm not young enough to think I'm immortal anymore.

Chris

Been there done that.
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Old 02-15-2010, 06:31 AM   #44
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

You just made me upgrade my signature. Congrats!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad54 View Post
Well, about half the time I use my angle grinder, I'm squatting at whatever it is I'm working on... giving whatever is directly in front of me a nice unobstructed shot at my nuts. I always figured that if one of those wheels comes apart for any reason at all, I'd like to have that guard between the exploding wheel pieces and my nuts. Oddly enough, I've had this opinion since I bought the thing when I was 17, and I'm 39 now.
And one time about 8 years ago, it paid off nicely. The wheel exploded, pieces went everywhere, including hitting me on the inside of the leg up toward my knee... but nothing came back and hit me in the nuts.

I was talking to my Lawson dealer about just this subject last week, and he said he always told on of his customers to buy quality USA-made grinding discs (Lawson, of course), and to keep the guard on his grinder. The customer didn't think either was that big a deal.

The Lawson guy saw his customer at the races one day, and he was kinda hobblin funny. He was grinding on his race car, squatting there, and the stone exploded and...anybody? YES, it hit him in the nuts. Actually, it hit him in the pecker, slicing through a pair of blue jeans. Several stitches on his pecker and a week later, he actually whipped it out to show the Lawson guy, and the Lawson guy said "It was yellow and green and black, had stitches on it, and was about the size of a football!" He made a comment about the guy's wife probably liking it, and the guy said he didn't even want to think about sex for a long time.

So ask yourself... what do you like better? Running without the guard on the grinder for some perceived benefit of increased field of view, or a normal-sized pecker without stitches that's always ready to go?

I find that many of my decisions are guided by a long-term view on the relative health of my pecker. So far, I'm batting 1.000.

-Brad
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:03 AM   #45
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

Of the 3 grinder scars I have, not one would have been prevented or minimized if a guard was present. Gloves, yes; guard, no. I do make a point of always wearing safety glasses and welding gloves, (I guess third time was a charm for that one)leathers, or some type of long sleeves. And I make a point of keeping as much of my body parts out of the rotational path of the grinding wheel, and position the grinder so if/when it does kick out, it goes away from me. For those tight spots, where I can't seem to keep my face out of the spark shower, I have a welding sheild with a large fixed window with double clear lenses in it( just in case) and safety glasses underneath. Not saying this is the right way of doing it, but it is how I do it.
And,as an old timer once told me, (one eye, three teeth, five complete fingers between both hands, and more scars than Frankenstein's monster. Went by the name of "Lucky") "Guards are for amateurs!"

FLAME ON!
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:13 AM   #46
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

As an added note, I will not use wheels that have gotten wet, or that are visibly damaged. As expensive as they are, it is not worth it.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:00 AM   #47
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I do not remove the guard for cutting disks or general grinding disks But i take it off for flap disks sometimes.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:05 AM   #48
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Default Re: Removing the guard from your angle grinder

I remove my guards. I just make sure to always wear glasses AND a full face shield.
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