An angle grinder is a useful and universal tool which can be used to cut lots of different materials – wood, metal, concrete etc. In this blog post you will find how to use it for cutting concrete walls using a 3D printed DIY addon for a vacuum cleaner.
Although the one of the most useful tools can be used in lots of different situations, its not perfect or convenient in those cases. One of the examples is a situation, when you need hide electrical wiring inside a concrete wall in an apartment or a house. Of course, the tool can cut the wall easily – that is not a problem. The main problem is dust that the angle grinder creates while cutting the concrete and it gets irritating quite fast.
To cope with this dusty problem, one could use a vacuum cleaner. Just hold the vacuum cleaner’s hose next to the cutting blade and it will suck all the dust. It kind of works, but this workaround requires two persons – one holding the hose and the other making those cuts in the wall.
So, my try in solving this problem was by designing a dust cap which could be placed on the angle grinder’s blade, so it would suck dust just after it leaves the blade. Of course, it was 3D printed as its construction is quite difficult to reproduce by other means.
I would call it a Dust Cover V1. The reason being just a V1 is that the construction is a little bit flimsy, so you can’t use lots of force while cutting the wall. Nonetheless it gets the job done and the cuts can be done only by one person. Also, there are some ideas for improvements, but let’s leave them for the end of this post. Now, we need from the parts required to build a Dust Cover.
- Three 3D printed parts, which can be downloaded from Thingiverse.
- An angle grinder with 40mm diameter mounting place for safety cover (read below about that)
- 5 pcs M4 bolts with hex button head, 35mm length (Affiliate Aliexpress)
- 5 pcs M4 nuts (Affiliate Aliexpress)
- 1 pcs socket cap M5 bolt, 20mm length (Affiliate Aliexpress)
- 1 pcs M5 washer (Affiliate Aliexpress)
- 1 pcs M5 nut (Affiliate Aliexpress)
- Some glue (I have used epoxy) to glue together two plastic parts (Affiliate Aliexpress)
- A vacuum cleaner with a hose of 35mm outer diameter
About the angle grinder. As I understand, not all are the same. The main difference might be in an angle grinders safety cover’s holders hole diameter. In my case it was around 40mm (maybe 39), but if yours has different size – you will have to make a modification to the 3D model for dust cover to fit your angle grinder.
As of a vacuum cleaner – most of them will do fine, just it needs to have a hose with an end outer diameter of 35mm. Again, if you have different size – you will have to make a mod to the 3D model before printing.
3D printing the parts
So, there are only 3 parts to print. The main housing connects directly to the angle grinder. The vacuum dust adapter needs to be glued into the main part. Finally, there is a cover peace, which covers the angle grinder’s blade.
I used white ABS plastic to print these parts. FDM printer with 0.6mm nozzle and 0.4mm layer height was enough to print those parts relatively fast. Still, the raft and supports needs to be used, especially with the main part.
Now, the fun part – assembling the dust cover together and putting it on the angle grinder.
First, you need to insert M4 nuts into their holes as shown above. The holes might be a little smaller than the nuts itself, so you will have to push them inside. The best way to that is to use a hot soldering iron – put the nut above the hole, heat the nut by pushing it with the soldering iron into the hole and when it heats up, it will slide into the hole by melting the hole walls a little.
Do the same with M5 nut as shown in the picture above. Again, the best way to put it into its place by heating it with a soldering iron.
Next step will be to glue dust hose adapter into the main dust cover part. Picture above shows those two parts already glued together. I personally used epoxy to glue them together, but any glue for plastics can be used. Note, that dust adapter has an angled cut out on the inner side. The cutout needs to be aligned with the main parts inner wall, so it wont stick out from the inside. Just try putting them into one another and it should be quite obvious how those parts need to be put together.
So, the picture above shows all the needed parts assembled and the next steps will describe how you need to mount the dust cover on your angle grinder.
Mounting the dust cover on the angle grinder
When you have the dust cover already assembled, nest thing to do is to mount it on the angle grinder and test it.
Firstly, you will have to remove already mounted safety cover from the angle grinder.
Then mount the main dust cover’s part on the angle grinder and tighten M5 bolt so the cover won’t rotate around its center axis (see picture above).
After that, install the cutting disk with its original washer and tighten the nut as it can be seen above.
Finally, put the covering plate on the dust cover and tighten five M4 bolts. The end result should be similar to that shown in the picture below:
Now, what is left is to connect it to a vacuum cleaner and start cutting some concrete.
Add-on ruler board
As the dust cover does not have any way of setting up the cutting depth, I have additionally made a ruler-board for cutting around 7mm deep straight grooves int the concrete walls and floors. With it, it is easier to cut straight groves with needed depth.
Ideas for improvements
Of course, I can’t make anything ideal with only one try. So, the angle grinder’s add-on also has some drawbacks.
As I have already mentioned earlier, the plastic housing is a little bit flimsy. The possible solution to it could be thicker mounting fastener which is partly improved in the shared 3D model files.
Another drawback – there is no possibility to adjust a cutting height. As I also have mentioned, as a workaround I have used a wooden board which acts as both – a ruler and a height adjustment device. If I decide to redesign the dust cover, in V2 I would try to add some kind of a height adjustment mechanism.
The last drawback is that although with an add-on board all dust is sucked in by a vacuum cleaner, when used without it, some dust still escapes from the dust cover. Especially a lot of dust flies out of dust cover when you try to cut fast and deep groves. Doing it slowly the problem somehow diminishes. The reason why it might happen is that the cover has a quite wide opening where the cutting disk sticks out – so mine vacuum cleaner might be too weak for such big opening area. The solution could be designing the opening area narrower.
In the end, although with some drawback, the dust cover did its job and helped quite a lot where I needed to cut some concrete walls and floors without making a lot of dust (and letting it fly in the air).
3D files links: Thingiverse