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The Garage Motorcycle Related Discussion (Yamaha XS650, other makes and models, and anything else motorcycle related including tools and gear)

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Old 09-17-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
David M
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Default Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

I'm going to get started cutting off the excess brackets as part of my street tracker project. I was going to buy an 5 inch angle grinder along with a cut off wheel and a variety of grinding wheels. Then I starting looking at die grinders. They run at much higher RPM's and seem to be generally suited for smaller and more finely tuned work. There seems to be a lot of accessory cut off and grinding accessories for the die grinders - probably more than for angle grinders. The die grinders are generally pneumatic whereas the angle grinders are usually electric. I'm ok with either. And, I like to buy good quality tools; I hate junk.

For those that have hacked your frames and used either an angle or a die grinder ( or preferably both ), I'd be interested in your comments and recommendations.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

I have alot of diff. air tools and grinders. The one I use the most is a 4 1/2" craftsman grinder with a 1/8th" cut off wheel installed. Actually have 2 of these the other one had a grinding wheel installed on it.
That way I don't have to keep changing from cut off wheel to grinding wheel. I do alot of cutting and grinding though. What I like about the electric grinder with a cutoff wheel is I can cut off brackets then also use it to cut 1/4" plate steel then swap out the cutoff blade for a grinding wheel and grind welds down. Can't do all that with a die grinder. Hope this helps ya out.


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Old 09-17-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
David M
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

Yes, that does help. Once I cut off the brackets, I want to be able to grind down the welds but not have so rough of a tool that it grinds half way through the frame. Ideally, I want the frame to look like the brackets were never there.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

It's nice to have both, but for that job, get an angle grinder. Die grinders run at higher RPMs, but angle grinders have more torque, and are a better all-purpose tool to begin with. Buy cut-offs, grinding wheel and an 80 or 120 grit flap disc. Once you have the brackets cut off, grind down so you're close to the surface, then switch to the flap disc. You'll have lots of control and the flap disc does a killer job at final cleanup.

DON'T try to finish with a grinding wheel. It's way too easy to gouge the frame.


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Old 09-18-2010, 12:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

Yep! ^ what he said. 4 1/2" angle grinders rock. So do flap discs! I have a cheap black and decker that I bought for like $28 that seriously has hours and hours and hours of use. I've probably gone through over $100 of abrasives with it and I just can't kill it!

Experiment with different brands of cutoff wheels to see which you like. I find every brand feels and cuts a little bit different. Don't buy cheap abrasives from harbor freight. That's one of the many things I stay away from there!

I also have a pneumatic die grinder that I like for the little stuff... like grinding with the miscellaneous cones and stuff you can buy for them. It also was really damn cheap but works great.


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Old 09-18-2010, 02:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

Travis is right! A 10pack of Harbor Freight disks will last the same as two good quality cut off disks. You do have to learn how to use them though.

A flapper wheel is the best for clean up.

Harbor Freight is only good for ideas, not investments.

Someone once said, "If you don't buy the right tool the first time, you will soon find that you paid for the tool, and don't have it"

Tools are the best investment in life.


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Old 09-18-2010, 04:32 AM   #7
remmy1101
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

I have a dewalt angle grinder that I used to take all my brackets and extra crap I didn't need off the frame it worked flawless and very quickly. I used a cut off wheel or sometimes the grinding wheel to cut the brackets close to the frame then grinded them a little closer switched over to a flap disk and cleaned it up.
Another great tool I use with the angle grinder is a wire brush wheel I use it to remove paint and crud build up. Works great for cleaning up the engine side covers before sanding them smooth too
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

late to the party
After taking bulk metal off the tubing by various mehtods,I use an angle die grinder with a 1/16th green 3M wheel,plumber's roll abrasive(open or closed to suit).This system,I've found,is controllable.I only use a new 3M wheel to shape tubing.A new wheel flexes.Safety gear also.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

Flap disks rule! Just make sure you buy some good quality one...they last much longer.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

can't go wrong with a flap disk!....well you could, but you would have to try really hard.....


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Old 02-13-2011, 12:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

4.5 angle grinder for the big stuff and a Dremel with the reinforced cut-off discs for the smaller stuff or stuff that is hard to access.
I can't believe how much I've used the Dremel.

and like someone mentioned, flapdisc on angle grinder is a very powerful combo. It just EATS metal away before your eyes.

Wear gloves! and eye protection. Also, the grinder can kick back like a mule if you go at it from the wrong angle.


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Old 02-13-2011, 02:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

Depends what you are cutting off. I used a variety of cutting tools on mine...4.5 inch grinder, dremmel grinder, sawsall. For the neck gussets you can cut with sawsall then take a channel lock and rip/wiggle them off. For that triangle under the seat I just cut then rip/wiggle. Use a grinder to do the cleanup.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

There is nothing wrong with HF angle grinders after my makita died. I bought three on sale for 17 bucks a pop and have one for cutting/grinding/flap disks. they even come with a spare set of brushes. I have put these things through hell and they are going strong
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

I often use 1/16 discs on my angle grinder. They cut a lot faster than 1/8 and 1/4 discs. But never use 1/16 discs for grinding as they'll break and attack you instead of the steel.


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Old 03-24-2012, 06:05 AM   #15
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

I have both from HF. The 4.5 angle grinder I really abuse, both cutting and polishing. It was less than $20 and lasted a few years, when the motor finally burned out I bought another one. The air die grinder is still going strong and is good for finer smoothing and shaping. Lots of guys will say HF tools are crap, but if your the weekend wrenched, I think they are fine.,

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Old 03-24-2012, 08:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

I've been very happy with the flap wheels from HF. The cutoff disc aren't great but the flap wheels last forever. Only needed one HF flap wheel to do my entire frame. Maybe 5 cutoff discs and one grinding disc. All stuff from HF and they still have a lot of life left in them.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:50 AM   #17
emzdogz
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Default Re: Die grinder or angle grinder for cutting off frame brackets

i love flap wheels. Even when they get really small.


1980 XS650SG project chopper. Stock charging system and ignition. Retains starter. Otherwise, minimal as possible.
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