Re-thinking the grinder

For those unfamiliar with the attachment, it comprises a conveyor belt-style pulley system that fits onto a conventional bench grinder in place of one of the grinding wheels. This Australian-designed and made accessory turns traditional grinders into sophisticated workstations, greatly enhancing the range of potential applications by offering users an entirely new mid-range grinding and sharpening tool.

Whereas normal bench grinders have just two grinding wheels, the Multitool changeable rubber belts offer users an extensive choice of grit grades – from coarse 24-grit right up to 3,000 grit super-fine coarseness for metal and glass polishing. The attachment has obvious applications in the production of plastic wares, ceramics, boat building, jewellery, delicate woodwork and automotive parts.

It can also be used for tool sharpening, and the best part is that belts can be changed in five seconds if the user wants to move rapidly from rough to fine grinding. It really is a hybrid sander and a grinder with none of the drawbacks of traditional, heavy, one-dimensional tools.

The front contact wheel can be used to graind, sand, shape and polish flat and curved surfaces with smoother, faster cutting. Its versatility ectends to grinding, sanding, or polishing in four positions on a rubber contact wheel, platen, disc or free strapping.

The unit can be swiveled vertically or in any postition in between. An added bonus is to have the left hand end of the grinder available for other uses. The running position of he belt is simple to adjust and it stays there, allowing for finishing into sharp corners.

According to Allan Cunynghame from PA Products, recent ventures into the US market have been amazingly successful, fuelled in particular by moves to sell the product as a complete grinder/attachment package rather than as an attachment only. Recently, US sales topped $1.7 million in six months thanks to the sales expertise of the Snap-On tool group, and Cunynghame says packages will be marketed in Australia in the near future.

“It makes sense to sell the complete package because we can supply a base grinder mechanism that suits the attachment perfectly,” he explains. “That means you get a full ‘plug in and play’ tool with a 1/3 horsepower motor that will run all day and offer the precision you need for fine jobs. The rubber belt system provides four separate possible contact areas whereas a normal grinder has only one.”

The units will accept most brands of rubber belt and hold them under constant tension for reliable performance. Those people wishing to buy the attachment only can fit the Multitool Grinder Attachment to any 150mm or 200mm conventional bench grinder with a minimum 1/3 horsepower motor.

As the name implies, Multitool has numerous applications from fine polishing aluminium to roughing timber or metal. Other features include a unique rubber contact wheel that reduces noise during operation, allowing operators to use Multitool over prolonged periods without suffering the discomfort of excessive noise.

The high-speed belts also remain cooler than a conventional grinding wheel, which helps them last longer. An optional jig adds to the versatility of the unit allowing precise sharpening of electric planer blades, chisels and other tools. Multitool Grinder Attachments are distributed in Australia through Josco Industrial Agencies in WA, and JW Ross & Sons in the eastern States.

Story by John Power