Initial Product Assessment

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1) Angle grinders are used to refinish materials like metal, wood, carbon fiber and even plaster by removing any excess material from its surface to achieve a more desirable finish.

a) The use of this product in both home and professional settings would be appropriate. Home owners who take charge of their own home, or even automobile, repairs would find this tool to be particularly useful. Contractors, as well as auto repair shops, all have a need for an angle grinder.

b) In addition to the angle grinder being used to grind away excess material, it can also be used to cut through sheets of metal or plywood with the correct cutting head attached. One more important function of an angle grinder is that, with a soft head attachment, it can be used to polish metal to a dull sheen or a bright shine.

2) We think the angle grinder works by using its motor to spin a gear which spins a second gear turned 90° to the first one, then spins the grinding wheel at a very high RPM.

a) The angle grinder uses just electrical and mechanical energy.

b) The electrical energy coming in through the cord powers the angle grinder’s motor, which converts it to mechanical energy which spins the gears and then the grinding wheel.

3) Our angle grinder will run so long as it remains plugged in to an electrical outlet with a grounding prong, and the user engages the power switch to the ‘on’ position.

a) When we just held it in mid-air it ran at a constant high speed. It felt rather powerful but it was also very loud too.

b) There seems to be no problems with our angle grinder.

4) If we follow the idea that what makes a product complex is its design and functionality compared to other products used to perform the same task, angle grinders should be considered a complex power tool. (Consider sandpaper, which is often used to accomplish a similar task to an angle grinder. Compared to simple sandpaper, an angle grinder is fairly complex.) This is contrary to our group’s opinion that an angle grinder is a rather “simple to put together” tool. Grinders may also be considered complex simply because there are not many products available that achieve the same task as an angle grinder but are more complex. For example, a power sander can mimic the grinder’s ability to refinish and remove excess material, but is not as efficient on metal surfaces. Also, a power sander cannot cut through material like an angle grinder can. Another example is a circular saw, which can cut through material but cannot polish or refinish material like an angle grinder can. So, by comparison, an angle grinder is one complex multi tool.

a) When going over the angle grinder we can point out approximately 30 components. We see screws, a push button, a power switch, the electrical cord, the finger guard, the body casings, and the grinding wheel mount. Some components on the inside include but are not limited to the motor, the gears, and possibly bearings, and probably more screws.

b) The components that make up the angle grinder in themselves are not very complex. Screws, washers, and gears are all, once again, fairly simple when compared to other products designed to achieve the same task.

5) The angle grinder houses a motor and gears inside of a fitted body casing that is maneuvered using a hand grip on the side of the body.

a) What you see on the outside of the angle grinder is the body casing, the top is made out of aluminum and the rest of the housing is made out of plastic. Screws, most likely made of steel, are used to hold the casings in place. The grinding wheel mount is made out of cast steel because it needs to be very durable. Also, the handle on the side is made of plastic with a rubber grip coating on its surface.

b) Materials that are not visible but present in the angle grinder are the motors which are probably made of copper wire wound around an iron core. There are also gears on the inside that might also be made from cast iron. We believe that there are steel ball bearings on the inside to help the grinder wheel spin so smoothly.

6) If we had to use this product we do believe that we would be happy with it. It is a very easy to handle power tool that accomplishes multiple tasks. It seems very powerful and it will make many home improvement projects a lot easier.

a) This angle grinder is very comfortable to use because the rubber coated grip keeps you hand firmly positioned and not sliding around. Also, the handle can be screwed into either the left or right side of the grinder to enable both left and right handed people to use it comfortably.

b) The angle grinder is very easy to use, the user just plugs it in turns it on and gets to work. It is important for the person to have a steady hand while using the grinder so they do not lose control of it.

c) It is likely the only clean-up you have to do when you are done using the angle grinder is to sweep away excess shavings off the head of the tool. However, it is recommended that the guard of the angle grinder be replaced with regular use to ensure it sufficiently projects the user from flying debris.

7) There are other makers of angle grinders like Black and Decker, DeWalt, or Hitachi. They all are very similar in style, expect that some are powered by a cord, others are battery powered, and still some others are air powered.

a) Angle grinders range in price from a possible sale at around $30-$50, up to a much higher $135 or more.

b) An angle grinder could easily be compared to sandpaper, as the goal with both is to get rid of excess material off a part, or to achieve a different finish. You could even compare an angle grinder to a bench grinder. They both accomplish the same job but a handheld one is always going to be more mobile and you get better leverage on it.

c) Some angle grinders are larger than others, which would allow for larger accessory wheels to be mounted and may decrease the amount of time necessary to complete a project. However, larger in size also means an increase in weight, which is not very ideal if the person is unable to lift and/or use the angle grinder. Battery powered angle grinders are also available and in some ways are much more practical, due to the increased mobility. One would not be restricted by a cord or an outlet when they go use the tool. On the other hand, relying on a battery might mean that the angle grinder would run out of power in the middle of a project, which can be a hassle.