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I’m a total sucker for the ideas that never seem to make the pages of print publications. You know — tool releases that aren’t made of new unobtainum or attached to the latest chemistry battery. And here’s my newest favorite: DeWalt’s wearable-backing flap discs.

Here’s the skinny: Know how when you’re grinding with a flap disc it wears down (pretty quickly) to the point where you can only use the middle bottom of it since the edges are too worn to grind and stick out too much to fit in anything? DeWalt solved the problem. By forming the backing out of a material not dissimilar from a really thin grinding wheel, they created a wheel where the backing wears down along with the flaps. The result? You can grind with one of their new wheels — even with only a sliver of flap left.

And it works. I got to play with one last week at DeWalt’s product release get together, and the unworn disc acts pretty much like a normal disc, except that you can actually jam it into the side of a piece of metal and cut a notch with it. (Not that you’ll generally want to do this, but you can.) More importantly, you can still grind at all angles with an almost completely worn-down wheel. Really.

So besides the fact that it’s more functional, it also makes the disc last — according to the folks at DeWalt, anyway — about twice as long as a normal disc because you can continue using it far past where you’d toss a normal disc into the bin.

You should get the opportunity to try out these discs in person in a few months when they hit shelves, and look for a full-fledged hands-on from us sometime between now and then. We’ll happily give you the full run-down then with all of DeWalt’s data to back up their claims and lots more info. But in the meantime, you’ll just have to trust me: It’s cool.

 

3 Responses to Preview: DeWalt’s New Wearable-Backing Flap Discs

  1. PutnamEco says:

    I’ll be checking these out, I use flap wheels on a fairly regular basis, My 4 1/2″ grinder is one of my favorite secret weapons.

  2. Cameron Watt says:

    I use Walter flap wheels with the plastic backing. You just run the back-side of the wheel against something like the edge of a vise jaw and it trims things back nicely.

    Flap wheels are expensive….especially when you consider how little material they remove over their relatively short life. My approach is to do the bulk of the work with a grinding wheel and just finish it with the flapper.

  3. Shannon says:

    cameron, those wheels gunk quik, i do alot of parts a day at work. I swear by those walters. looking for a cheaper one that doesn’t suck though. anyone tried 36 grit dewalts?

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