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Tungsten Grinders...

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  • Tungsten Grinders...

    I have a question about tungsten grinders, I have a friend who told me to get one as they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. I have been using a regular bench grinder with a dedicated (not diamond) wheel for preping my tungstens, I know this is not a smart idea for many reasons, everything ranging from weld contamination, to splintering, to thoria dust in the shop. Now my question is does anyone have any experience with these machines, It seems the going price for an entry level dedicated unit is about $600-700. I see someone selling something for $225 which is nothing more than a $25 dremel tool with a 1" Diamond wheel on it and a pretty housing. I was looking at two units that looked promising in my price range. The first seems to be very popular, I see like 7 different company's selling this same unit under different names, Diamond Ground calls it the Pirahna 2 , Arc Zone sells the same unit , the other unit is Called the turbo sharp III, it seems to be a nicely built handheld unit, Has anyone had experience they can share with either of these units, or anything else on the market worth considering, as opposed to buying a diamond wheel for my grinder, which will still throw dust everywhere.

  • #2
    Tungsten grinders can be cool. I have a customer that has 20 or more of them. Some are Pirrannas, some are large bench units. I dont want to grind my tungsten on a wheel less than 8" in diameter for several reasons.

    a) tungten shape.
    b) surface speed of abrasive material.
    c) life of abrasive.

    The most important is A. If you sharpen on a small wheel, you will either get a tungsten with a convex point, if you use the round face. Or a tungsten point with spiral-like grind marks if you use the flat side of the wheel.

    The only small dia tungsten grinder that i like is made by Jetline. I dont know if it is still made.


    • #3

      Do a search on Chemsharp. Hawk uses it instead of an electric sharpener.

      Regency 200 w/30A
      Dynasty 200 dx
      Esab 875 plasma
      MM350-P w/30A


      • #4
        Hi, I would also recomend Chem-Sharp. It is fairly inexpensive and leaves no grind marks. The smooth finish gives great arc control at very low amperage. Hawk spoke highly of it on previous posts and he was dead on....JEFF P.S. I also have a hand held and a wheel!
        200DX 350P 625 Plasma & other stuff I forgot


        • #5
          I use both the chem sharp and the small dremel type when I'm on the road. In my shop we have dedicated grinders with fine grit wheels for only tungsten and this works fine and is not very expensive. I have to ask, why would you need one of those expensive models? Are you planning on sharpening that much tungsten or do you need it because production requirements needing speed?

          I guess if I had to pick from your list. The turbo sharpIII looks about the most reasonable.

          Good luck, let us know how you choose.



          • #6
            That one you speak of for $225 that

            Looks like a Dremel tool is Awesome. It's really cool for field work. Best of all it's cheap and it works. It plugs into any 115v outlet and you can take it anywhere. If you just have to have an expensive one, take a look at jetline.
            Mike. R

            Dynasty 300dx tig runner w/ 3 torch Versa-Tig torch changer {wt-20f, wt-24f, mt-125}
            MM 251/30a/4015 roughneck
            Miller portable spot welder
            Inferno >>> Big Window Elite


            • #7
              dont waste your time or money on the pirranha,(i believe thats whats its called) we have one at school what a p.i.t.a. you have to tear it apart once a week to clean it out !!!

              the one from arczone is nice i used it this past weekend very easy to use !!! and is small and 110v

              i have always prefered the bench grinder with a detacated wheel
              maybe im just old school !!



              • #8
                I am a big fan of Chem Sharp especially at sub ranges like 1-5 amps. It really cuts down on arc wander. I also use an 8" bench grinder with a dedicated fine grit wheel. The wheels run about $5 and do a good job. I do have to move around some to keep from eating a groove in the abrasive wheel. I grind outdoors so shop dust is not a problem. If I have to use thoriated tungsten, I use the Chem Sharp. I am not big on radioactive dust.

                I TIG mostly with an inverter (Dynasty 200DX) and use the 1.5% or 2% lanthanated tungsten. On AC I can run a 3/32" lanthanated electrode with a 75%helium/25%argon mix and maintain a good welding point for about 60-70" of weld. I don't know how much TIG you do, but at that rate 4 good tips per day do great for me-that's about 20 feet of weld. I do keep the balance up around 75% and the arc frequency at 215HZ to narrow the bead because the high helium content will really widen the bead profile.

                I am running a water cooled Diamond Back #20 with the Coolmate 4. If you figure the added heat input from the helium and the Dynasty cranked wide open at 200 amps, the heat input is roughly equivalent to welding at 300 amps with 100% argon. I simply clip a 7" stick of lanthanted tungsen in half, grind a good point on both ends of each half and can weld most of the day.

                Well, no matter what the sharpening method, I must brag on the lanthanated tungsten. I can do with a 3/32" electrode what most folks do with 1/8" or even 5/32" thoriated.

                The lanthanated tungsten works really well on DC too! I like the 2% (quality control and manufacturing processes actually yield a range of 1.7-2.2%).

                If you are welding with a plain square wave or sine wave machine, consider zirconiated tungsten over pure. It balls well and will take some extra heat over pure tungsten. It also produces no weld contamination. You can produce a very high quality uncontaminated weld this way. It will not take the heat of the lanthanated, but is the best thing going for machines other than inverters. Use DCRP and a piece of copper to ball the end and your ready to weld.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the replies. I really haven't tried chemsharp yet, but I dont like the idea of having to preheat the tungsten on a copper block, or stike an arc, just to sharpen the tungstens. As for Andy, you are correct in that I do not need a ultra commerical heavy duty unit, I do not do that much volume to warrant it, I am looking for something that is convienent, dedicated, and doesn't throw thoria dust everywhere. The reason I am shying away from cheap dremel type units is the small wheel cannot produce a perfectly straight longitudinal grind pattern, consumable life. I am looking for something that can make a nice grind, and built to halfway decent quality. I think it goes without saying that most of the people on this board are here because they value the quality of their tools and equipment, and don't mind spending an extra few $ for a superior product. Arcdawg, which ArcZone using are you referring to, if it is the medium duty Tungsten Grinder, it seems to be the same unit as the Pirahna II, the handheld seems to be just a dremel tool. The Turbo Sharp III, looks nice a really heavy duty handheld compared to the dremel retrofits that others are selling. I just can't seem to decide between the bench unit and the handheld. I want the better unit, and they don't say the size of the wheel in the Turbo Sharp, the wheel in the bench unit is 3.5", and runs at high RPM for high surface speeds, really both units seem to be quite portable, and there is only a $75 difference in price between the two. Andy, what made you choose the Turbo Sharp over the small bench unit???


                  • #10

                    Ditch the thoriated and don't worry about the radioactive dust. Your Dynasty will love the lanthanated or even ceriated. I promise. I use it all the time. It is heads above thoriated on this machine! If you do find a good grinder, let me know. I have considered one, but like the price of the 8" wheels and the chem sharp.


                    • #11
                      The only reason I choose the turbo sharp is that it looks of fine quality and even though the wheel looks small, it definitly apears to be a better unit than the dremel knock off I have now. Also cost I'm in the same boat al of you are in....trying to get the most out of my dollar before the wife gets it

                      Also. If you are concerned about the Thoria dust, upgrade to the Ceriated or Lanthanated tungsten. If you are serious about spending a little more money for a much better item, then I would really consider getting rid of the Thoriated tungsten. You will like it and it's not radioactive.

                      Good luck



                      • #12
                        I just got off the phone with the manufacturer of the Turbo Sharp III unit, they are sending me out a unit for review. I will post details pictures on it as soon as I get it.


                        • #13
                          You da MAN!

                          Did they say the cost??



                          • #14
                            They pretty much retail at about 625, if you want wholesale pricing (Andy only), email me privately. This thing looks pretty nice, I grilled them for specs. It seems to be a 400W Milwaukee motor (similar to what would be found on a 4" angle grinder) they are using, as opposed to a dremel. The thing makes about 30,000RPM to compensate for the smaller wheel size. It does grind flats, and preset included angles, it does not notch, score, or cut off. The wheel is a 2" Diamond double sided wheel, and although they do not publish an offical spec, because it varies so widely with usage (how aggresively you grind), they say average is about 2000-3000 3/32" grinds per side on the wheel. Includes a bench mount bracket, hard case, tools ,etc. It also includes a vacuum attachment to extract all dust. It also does contain 100% of the grindings until you empty it. I will post more info when I receive the unit.

                            PS - Been playing with the new Hornell Speedglas 9000xi, excellent helmet, ultra sensitive for low amp tig, I was welding at 5A on an inverter the other day, no flash, Yet it does not falsely darken with sunlight/ambient light. This is a fairly new model they just released specially for inverter welders with a smooth arc, it is an upgraded version of their 9000x.


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the additional info! I'll await your eval on the unit, however it does sound quite a bit better than the Dremel type.
                              I know I didn't get that many sharpens from mine.

                              Thanks again,