Wet sander or grinder?
I've been fusing glass for about 5 years, but it has always been small pieces, as my kiln shelves are only 7"x7" (mainly jewelry and small dishes). During this time, I have gotten by using my husband's Glastar grinder that he uses for his stained glass work. I just upgraded my kiln to do some larger pieces and now have the need for a tool to grind edges of these pieces. My husband found this wet grnder at Grizzly Tools and thinks it would be perfect. I have serious doubts about it but not sure what I actually need. Only have $200 left to purchase a sander or grinder. Will the Grizzly wet grinder work or does anyone have a suggestion within my small budget.
The Grizzly tool is a 10" wet grinder and a link to it:
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Wild Dove Designs - Duvall WA
* I didn't see anything to tell what material the wheel is made of, but I wonder if something designed for grinding metal would be suitable for glass.
You might consider a small wet belt sander, or take a look at His Glassworks (board sponsor above)...they have some small electric or air grinders which would suit your budget and might be more versatile than the Grizzly machine (they can be used for both edges and flat surfaces).
I'm still plugging along with my Glastar Super Star for the most part. I find a steady hand and consistent pressure, combined with regular and extra-fine bits allow me to achieve good shapes to my edges, and I just fire-polish gently to get them shiny again.
* You will want to find out what grits the wheels are available in, but I see no problem if you can get fine grits for the wheels. You may even be able to get felt polishing wheels. I have ground glass with tools meant for grinding metal and others for sanding wood. If they can be used with water there is no real problem. the grits are most often carburundum or aluminum oxide for all three of these materials. Diamond tends to be used only for metal and glass. If this is within your budget and fills your perceived need for the next couple of years, go for it.
* This is not a good glass tool. This is a knock-off of the Tormek grinder which is used mostly in the woodworking industry for sharpening tools, knifes, chisels, blades, etc. It is water-fed but turns very slow. It will take forever to do any glass grinding and may do damage to the wheel, which are fairly expensive. I'd look to one of the small Covington wet-belt sanders instead. If you really are on a budget and are handy with tools, motors, etc., you can build your own expanding drum grinder. Almost all the parts are available via HIS and Grainger (or junk drawers in my case).
* The speed/grit level of the wheel is a big deal, and the only time I tried a wheel like this it was way too coarse, slow and soft to do more than scratch the glass up and chip it. If you can afford a wet belt sander or find one used, great. If not, look for a wet bench grinder intended for lapidary work, ideally something with at least an 8x3 inch expanding drum. They're usually cheaper than the belt sanders--frequently you can find them on craigslist, ebay and in local rock/lapidary shops, especially after Christmas when would-be hobbyists decide that the new grinder they got is too much messy work.
I saw a setup on eBay, about $400 not too long ago, that was a dual arbor expanding drum with a trim saw and a couple other attachments plus stand, in pretty good shape. Something like that would give you a lot of capability for not much money.