The versatility of die grinders means this is the tool that you’ll be reaching for when there’s the need to grind, cut, carve, polish, shape or smooth just about any material you’re working on. This assumes that you have the right attachments.
When working with exceptionally hard materials like metals, stone, tiles or ceramics, carbide burrs are what get the job done faster, neater and with a professional finish. Their unmatched hardness paired with the high RPMs of the grinder means these tool attachments find dozens of uses in just as many fields, from welding, wood and metal working, automotive repair, general construction, dentistry, jewellery making and in any industry where quick stock removal is called for.
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What Are Die Grinder Bits?
Carbide burrs, more commonly called die grinder bits, are the attachments used in rotary tools. They’re ideally used for smoothing, grinding, shaping, carving and deburring excess materials in a variety of workpieces. They come in different cutting profiles and shapes to produce different types of cuts. And you can find them in varying sizes.
What Are They Made of?
These aren’t the ordinary bits that you’d use in drills and impact drivers. They’re made of tungsten carbide, an alloy of tungsten and carbon and exhibit exceptional properties. The alloy is up to three times as hard as steel and has the highest compressive strength of any known metal.
It is additionally highly resistant to deformation, holds its own against high heat, has exceptional impact and abrasion resistance and is second only to diamonds as the hardest material there is. Tooling them also requires some serious CNC machining considering how hard they are.
Materials on Which They’re Used
Hardness and durability are where your typical die grinder bits run circles around everything else on offer. These things are meant to last and produce consistent results no matter what they’re used on. This will range from commonly-used metals such as stainless steel, iron, aluminium and copper, precious metals like gold and silver, and a wide range of plastics, to harder materials like ceramics, tiles, gemstones and masonry.
They also make easy work of both hard and softwoods. Surpassed in outright hardness only by natural and synthetic diamonds, the bits exhibit substantially longer run times than comparable burrs optioned in HSS steel, won’t show signs of wear or metal fatigue due to high working temperatures, and can be used without issue at real high RPMs.
Who Are They for?
Bits attached to the end of die grinders and other rotary tools are used across a range of varying professions and fields. Most often this means anyone working with metal and wood. They are basic necessities for metalworkers, welders, smash repairers, tool makers, plumbers, and mechanics, as well as woodworkers, carpenters, joiners and construction workers.
Moreover, the bits can easily drill into plasterboard, brick and concrete. The list can also be populated with less obvious professions. Smaller bits are used by artists, sculptors, jewellers and dentists. Lastly, the attachments are useful in any household or commercial work that requires general material removal, smoothing and cleaning.
There are more than a few benefits when comparing die-grinding bits and ordinary burrs or traditional grinding wheels and files. First, they are much more efficient in quick material removal, making them the choice for heavy-duty and industrial applications, as they save both time and money.
The burrs can remove more material in a single go, won’t break, crack or deform and with low wear will last much longer. They are also easier to use without the typical vibrations, waste scrap and noise, as well as adaptable and versatile across a range of different uses and materials.
What to Look for When Buying
Different uses mean the bits come with either a single or double-cutting profile. Single-cut burrs have a single cutting profile or ‘flute’ that runs from the top to the end in a spiral. This is ideal for:
- Quick heavy stock material removal
- General smoothing and cleaning
Materials that single-cut options work best in can range from ferrous metals like stainless and tool steel or cast iron, as well as aluminium and copper.
Double-cut options have two intersecting sets of flutes. This allows for much smoother surfaces and cleaner finishes in both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, but is particularly good in softer metals like aluminium and mild steel, in addition to wood and plastics. Use double-cut bits in:
- Light to medium stock removal
- Light milling and deburring
- Fine finishing and smoothing
- Surface cleaning
Besides the differences in use and the materials, they work best in single and double-cut options and also are distinguished by how they operate. The first produces larger chips, so getting the finish you want may take longer. Additionally, double-cut types are easier to control with the finer cutting profiles and are the ideal type for beginners.
Shapes and Sizes
Bits are available in a range of shapes. Choosing the right shape determines where and how the bits can be used. Go for ball burrs if you need concave or hollowed-out cuts, tree-pointed burrs when working with sharper acute angles and for rounding off edges and cylindrical burrs for smoothing and deburring flat surfaces, or when working at right angles.
Flame and oval carbide burrs are ideal for rounded contouring and end milling, and countersink burrs in either 60 or 90 degrees in bevelling, countersinking and chamfering. To extend the versatility and the jobs that the bits will come in handy, buy a set of die grinder burrs in different shapes.
Sizes refer to the diameters in the cutting head, as well as the shank. This can be stated both in imperial and metric units. Burr diameters range between 1/8 to 1 inch or 3 to 25mm in the cutting head with the most common size being 1/4 inch or 6mm. Shank diameters also differ and range from 1,6 to 16mm, meaning besides die grinders, carbide burrs are also suitable for smaller rotary tools like Dremels and pendant drills. The shanks can also be in standard or extra-long lengths, helpful when working in tight spots.
Summing It Up
Often it’s the attachments and not the tools themselves that will have the last say on how your project turns out. Anyone that needs versatile, dependable and long-last bits for shaping, smoothing, carving, deburring and general grinding applications should have a long look at what die grinder burrs are capable of, and the benefits they bring to your line of work.