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I Forge Iron

Grinder sparks and windows

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The more expensive the window glass the more likely it is to become pitted.

Put a piece of drywall behind the grinder. Build a guard to catch and contain as much of the sparks as possible. It is not just the glass, but the sparks can travel some remarkable distances and find combustible materials. The sparks WILL hit and burn holes in plastic pop bottles, and plastic quart oil containers. They can also pit the windshield of the wife's car. Don't ask how I know these things, just be careful.

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I've been in several shops that use plywood, sometimes with a piece of galvanized sheet metal tacked to it, to contain sparks and chips from machines. At school we had a set hinged together with painted sheet metal that could be stood up that we used when chips would REALLY fly. Wasn't very often, but very necessary.

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Before you get excited and splash paint all over that new drywall, take a few minutes and some of the left over dry wall joint compound and seal the walls to the floor. That is to fill the void between the wall and the floor with plaster. You can then smooth it out and complete the seal with a wet sponge. A cosmetic trim board can now be applied.

Without the seal, there is still an opening behind the trim board that can collect combustible materials, bugs, or etc. A spark COULD get behind, or under, the trim board and not be noticed as the smoke could be drawn into the wall. Yes, there are a lot of IF's but do you want to take the chance, or take a few minutes and seal the wall to the floor?

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Shielding sparks from your bench or pedistal grinder is relatively easy by fitting appropriate gaurds. It's the stray sparks from angle grinders that seem to be attracted to glass from anywhere within your workshop. Some glasiers, Auto stores and security shops offer a protective film that can either be tinted or clear that can be applied directly to the glass. It won't prevent the glass breakage but it stops the zillions of small fragments from hitting the floor (kept intact). It is fairly resilient to sparks depending on how much heat is left in them after travelling across the workshop. It is easilly applied by wetting the window with water and a very small amount of dish washing detergent to allow the film to slip into position. All that is required is to squeegee the bubbles of air from between the film and glass by starting at the centre and working towards the edges. It may appear a bit blurry at first but as it dries it will become clear. It is exactly the same as window tinting that is applied to car windows. The tinted stuff is also helpful in insulating heat from outside. Not sure that it helps much in keeping the cold out. It can easily be removed / replaced by getting under a corner and working it off with a razor blade scraper. It is dirt cheap compared to replacing glass.

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If you are concerned about shrinkage, use fire stop material. Like 3 m F-22. Comes in a tube like caulk. Its flexible, reasonably cheap, and keeps fire out of places you would rather it wasnt. Local building code required it on an addition I was putting on for someone. Any where the wires or pipes penetrated into the existing structure had to be sealed with the stuff.
just my .02

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In Chicago I used one to cover half of the garage threshold. This way I could have the garage door up and all the kids and strangers walking by (either far away or up close) wouldn't stop and say "ooo lets watch the pretty arch". It also was dark translucent blue and gave me a little privacy. It also prevented my incessent use of the angle grinder from spraying sparks onto my car and my girlfriend's car that was in the shared car port, which would have been very bad! lol

Some of them aren't cheap if you buy a good brand. I think you can get cheapies though. Maybe even from Harbor Freight. They do work very well though and they do not pit. :)

You probably don't need that big of a section i'm guessing. So maybe one or two is all you need.


Airgas may have them too, I think Miller might as well.

Some of them don't even hang but are rather stretched around a frame.. this is also an option you have
Welding Screens | Steel Guard Safety Products
You could literally fit them directly over the windows like shields.


Edited by Avadon
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