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A bench grinder is a type of benchtop grinding machine used to drive abrasive wheels. A pedestal grinder is a larger version of a bench grinder that is mounted on a pedestal, which is bolted to the floor. These types of grinders are commonly used to hand grind cutting tools and perform other rough grinding.
Depending on the grade of the grinding wheel it may be used for sharpening cutting tools such as lathe tools or drill bits. Alternatively it may be used to roughly shape metal prior to welding or fitting.
A wire brush wheel or buffing wheels can be interchanged with the grinding wheels in order to clean or polish work-pieces.
Grinding wheels designed for steel should not be used for grinding softer metals, like aluminium. The soft metal gets lodged in the pores of the wheel and expand with the heat of grinding. This can dislodge pieces of the grinding wheel.