Review By Dean Bielanowski  Demain Website - http://www.demain.com.au


Demain Series 115 / 125mm Angle Grinder

 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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When we first saw this particular angle grinder and read about its innovative features, we were naturally intrigued. The company that designed and retails the tool has won several design excellence awards from several authorities for this particular item. So, it was almost a no-brainer that we review the tool on OnlineToolReviews.com. Let's see why this tool has won several awards and what sets it apart from the competition.

Angle grinders are primarily a metal worker's tool, being used for all types of metal cutting or metal grinding tasks. They can also be used for masonry work using discs designed for this purpose. They are used occasionally for woodworking, more specifically for serious wood carving tasks using special attachments and blades, but for the purpose of this review, we will focus on metal cutting tasks for our tests. They are a handy tool to have if you work with metal, are involved in metal fabrication or masonry work, or for just around the home for the occasional metal/masonry cutting or grinding task.

Demain Series 115/125 Angle Grinder
When you first lay eyes upon this tool, you can tell it is a little different from your everyday grinder. In fact, it looks somewhat like a design artist has taken your standard angle grinder and added a little flair and color to make a piece of art, however, those new shapes and styles also perform valid functions which we will discuss shortly, but first, lets take a quick look at the awards this tool has already won:

  • Industrial Design Excellence Award 2004 (USA)
  • Powerhouse Museum Award 2003 (Australia)
  • Design Institute Award of Australia 2003
  • Australian Design Award (Industrial Design) 2003

Earning just one award is testament to a power tool's design, but earning four separate awards (and in two countries) is an achievement worthy of note.

Technical Specs and Discussion
There are a few models of this tool produced by Demain. There is a 115mm model and a 125mm model. Both grinders are identical specification-wise except that the 115mm version can only take 115mm max diameter discs whereas the 125mm model can take up to 125mm discs. We have the 125mm model.

Let's look at the individual specs of the tool now, starting with the motor. Onboard is an 800W motor (230-240VAC 50Hz for the particular model we tested), and for a 125mm grinder, this power rating is middle of the range. Many 125mm grinders have 500-650 watt motors, while a select few can have more powerful motors over 1000 watts. 800 watts is a reasonable size and certainly enough power for most cutting/grinding tasks using the 115mm or 125mm cutting/grinding discs. You would be hard pressed to stall this tool, and really, you could only stall it if you apply a fair amount of pressure to the material during a cut, but if you are doing this, you are not really using the tool properly or safely. Let the cutting/grinding disc do the work, do not force the cut by applying excessive pressure. The universal motor uses brushes that will need to be checked every 50-100 hours of use.

No load speed averages 11,000 RPM. This figure is important as your cutting/grinding discs must be rated for use at or above this rotational speed. Most cutting discs will be rated for 11,000 RPM and 125mm discs are readily available from most hardware stores or power tool retailers. Listed disc bore size is 22.2mm and spindle thread is sized M14.

The tool weighs in at 2.34kg. This is a little heavier than my other el-cheapo 500W angle grinder I have in my tool collection, however, it is not overburdening and the handle and body design allows a comfortable and balanced grip to be achieved.

Vibration level of the tool when in use is rated at less than 8.1 m/s2. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have no exact idea how much vibration my 500W grinder delivers, and besides, how many knew you could even quantify vibration levels into comparative figures? Regardless, I'll give you my qualitative findings. In terms of vibration, the Demain Angle Grinder does not seem to be any worse vibration wise than my smaller 500W grinder. There is certainly no excessive vibration in use over and above what you would expect from this type of tool. It is quite comfortable to use in fact.

Sound-wise, the Demain grinder produces around 102dB of acoustic sound power, 89dB of sound pressure. Both figures dictate the use of hearing protection by the user. I have yet to come across an angle grinder that is quiet enough not to make me think I can use it without hearing protection.

Ok, so what's so special about this angle grinder so far? Well, nothing really. The technical specifications are not a lot dissimilar from some other models on the market. It is only when we look at the features of the tool do we discover why it has earned several design awards...

Tool Features
Let's begin with the handle. The D-shaped handle offers much more versatility than your standard side screw-in type found on many grinders, and while these side handles can often be attached to either side of the grinder, they are still limited in how you can hold the grinder during particular tasks. With the D-handle on the Demain grinder, you have a wide variation of angles in which you can grip and hold the tool in use depending on the cutting or grinding angle required by the task. It is much more comfortable to use than a single side-mount handle. The handle can be moved forward to make adjustments to the tool but the operating position is with the handle locked back toward the body to keep your hands well away from the rotating disc.

One of the most interesting design features of this tool is the rotating head. You can actually rotate the head portion of the grinder in relation to the grinder body. Why? Sometimes the position of the power switches and controls is not ideal if working at awkward angles, or sometimes the grip position is not ideal either. Being able to rotate the head to the match the required cutting angle while keeping the controls and body grip position neutral offers maximum user comfort, and if you are involved in frequent or prolonged angle grinding/cutting tasks in difficult environments (tight spaces) or even in free environments, having the ability to set the grinder up to suits your needs rather than set your body up to suit the grinder's demands is a big plus. Between the adjustability of the rotating head and the handle's own D-shape design, you can use this grinder in total comfort in virtually any situation, or at any angle your task requires. These features alone are worth the asking price!

The metal safety guard on the tool can be rotated to provide the best protection to the user. Often with fixed metal guards, sometimes particular cutting/grinding tasks produce sparks or debris that fly off the grinder at angles not protected by the non-movable guard on the tool. This is more common with tools that have smaller guards. On the Demain grinder, the guard can be rotated by hand to provide protection at the angle in which the sparks or debris are coming off the grinding disc. Special tabs on the guard prevent it from being rotated to a position where the grinding disc could potentially expose the users fingers to injury. The guard requires a good grasp to rotate but this is necessary so it does not vibrate or move during use. Alternatively, the guard can be removed completely for special tasks, but other user protective devices should be employed if this is the case. Eye and ear protection should be mandatory in all situations. The guard itself has small slots milled around its circumference to aid air flow through the guard, another well thought out design feature.

Why do you want air flow through the guard? Well the idea behind it is that air flows through the tool itself starting from the intakes surrounding the motor at the rear of the grinder's body. This air then travels internally through the tool (cooling down the motor and drive components) and then is expelled just behind the guard and forced through the slots in the metal guard and out through the front of the tool. The idea is that this directional air flow away from the tool will help disperse dust and small airborne debris away from the user. It's akin to dust extraction, but in reverse, and of course there is no bag to collect it all, but the more dust and debris that can be directed away from the user, the better. But does it work? Well, in our tests we found in most noticeable when cutting into masonry which produced a lot of dust. You could actually see the dust and debris being blown away from the grinder. The airflow also helps cool the cutting/grinding discs, prolonging their life and improving their cutting/grinding ability. Demain call this "Air-Thru Technology" and it does seem to work quite well, but may not be immediately noticeable to the user if undertaking metal grinding tasks as opposed to masonry tasks where more visible dust is created. However, there is a noticeable difference in the direction of visible debris away from the user, and this is a welcome addition. My other angle grinder sends dust and debris in many directions, including back at the user, EEK!

Moving on to power controls, the Demain grinder, again, offers some innovative features. The power control features are developed with safety in mind. In fact, this angle grinder is almost impossible to accidentally start, and to overload too for that matter. As you can see from the photos included, there are three colored illuminated lights on the grinder body. There is a yellow "Overload Warning" lamp, a green "Start" lamp, and a red "Overloaded" lamp. Powering on the grinder is a two step process as opposed to a one step trigger process on many other models. Firstly, when the grinder is plugged into a live power source the green lamp is illuminated. This provides a visual warning to the user that the tool is plugged in and can be started. To power up the tool, you first depress the long trigger on the underside of the grinder. Demain call it a "paddle" and its certainly long enough to be named so, it's length providing more possibilities to achieve user comfort in use. Once the paddle is depressed, all three lamps light up for a moment before the red and yellow lamps extinguish and the green lamp begins flashing. Once this occurs, the tool can then be started by pushing on the green lamp itself, which is also a button. Once the green lamp button is pushed, the grinder powers up. So, it is a two step process, and admittedly, it does take that extra second longer than a single on/off switch on a standard grinder, however, what's an extra second if it means saving you from a nasty injury caused by accidental tool power up? I welcome the safety features with open arms, because I am more likely to have those arms well into the future as a result of these included safety designs.

Once the tool is powered up, it actually takes a few seconds to reach full operating speed. Yes, the Demain grinder offers a "soft-start" feature, eliminating that jolt you often get when powering up a normal grinder as it ramps to full speed almost instantly. The soft start still offers a rapid power up to operating speed but eliminates that jolt that could cause an accident, or at least cause a little user fatigue from repeated startup exposure.

The grinder features a power lock-on switch, so once power is applied and you are holding down the paddle/trigger, you flick the switch behind the paddle and it locks power on for extended use. This means you do not need to hold the paddle in to maintain power. To release the lock switch, you simply depress the paddle once more and the grinder powers down.

Additional protection features are built into the tool to help prevent overloading and damage to the grinder. A grinder can readily be overloaded by placing too much pressure on the cutting disc. This causes the motor to slow down and hence its fan too. This lower airflow through a grinder can lead to excessive heat buildup and melting or burning of wires or internal components leading to tool failure. The Demain grinder offers several levels of protection to ensure the tool cannot be damaged by overload. Firstly, the internal wiring and components are designed to withstand higher operating temperatures than those used in cheaper grinders. Secondly, a visual warning system is incorporated into the tool. If the tool suspects potential overload conditions, the yellow "Overload Warning" lamp will begin flashing. This warns the user to power down or reduce pressure on the grinding disc so the tool does not overheat. If the user ignores or doesn't notice the flashing yellow lamp, and the tool continues to be overloaded, the red "Overloaded" lamp will illuminate and power to the tool will automatically be cut off to prevent tool damage. These protective features should ensure long tool life and service. I actually tried to intentionally overload the grinder on a warm day, and managed to take it to a point where the yellow light did start flashing. I immediately powered down so as to not damage the tool, but it did show this feature seems to work fine. If you are careful and do not apply too much pressure to the disc and slow the motor, you shouldn't have any problems at all with this tool and will probably never near overload conditions at all.

Other features on the tool include a small lip at the rear of the tool designed to accommodate the cord when not in use. The cord is wrapped around the tool and around this lip to keep things neat and tidy for storage or transportation. The other is the onboard wrench storage which is a fixture attached to the power cord that holds the wrench in place. The wrench pivots out from its attachment to allow you to use it to add or remove cutting or grinding discs. The attachment is placed near the plug end of the power cord. This is done so intentionally to remind you to disconnect the plug from the power source before adding or removing discs, an important safety consideration.

In Use
Grinders in an operational sense are simple tools. They are basically a motor that spins an arbor to which a grinding or cutting disc is attached. All grinders essentially perform the same task in the same way, what sets them apart are the features of the tool itself. This particular Demain grinder is quite simply the best small grinder I have come across feature-wise. It is designed for comfort and usability. The D-handle is excellent and very comfortable to use, the inbuilt safety functions are just about second to none. I think the only thing that could be improved on this model, and it's probably just a personal thing is to have a tapered grip body like some of the larger grinders have so you aren't handling such a large diameter body, but this is the only bone I can dig up about the tool and its not really an issue anyway, just a wish list item. I did enquire with the manufacturers about this item and they mentioned that they had considered it, but to implement it would have caused difficulty with implementing the rotating head design of the tool, and in the end they chose the rotating head over the narrower grip, a very fair sacrifice I am sure you would agree. There is enough power to undertake all grinding tasks of the size the grinder is designed for and the availability of discs should present no problem at all.

Overall, it is easy to see why this grinder has one several design awards. Some of the features are innovations in grinder design, others are evolutions that address known issues with previous grinder models.

The Demain Angle Grinder is sold throughout the world, in some countries under its own label, in others as re-badged items under a different label. Below is the list of where you might be able to find the Demain Angle Grinder, and under what name:

Australia: Sold under "Wagner" label - available through Bunnings Warehouses.
Europe: Sold under "Demain" label - available at selected hardware retailers.
France: Sold under "MACAllister" label - available at www.castorama.fr

Russia: Sold under "Demain" label - available at selected hardware retailers.
South Africa: Sold under "Demain" label - a
vailable at selected hardware retailers.
United Kingdom: Sold under "PRO" label - available at B&Q - www.diy.com

USA: Sold under "Kobalt" label - available at Lowes - www.lowes.com

 

Priced at around AUD$169 in Australia and around USD$79 in the USA, the Demain Angle grinder is surprisingly inexpensive considering the build quality and extensive innovative features it offers. I was expecting the price to be much more. I am sure that if you were to purchase this tool, you would be find it one of the best small angle grinders on the market at present. Well done Demain. A great product.

For further information or to contact Demain direct, head to their website at www.demain.com.au

Demain Angle Grinder Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior written permission prohibited


The Demain Angle Grinder. Note the D-shaped handle.


Electronic interlock controls protect the grinder from damage and also from accidental starting.


The large paddle power control with power lock on switch to the rear.


The grinder body in standard configuration with D-Handle in operating position.


Note the position of the body now, which has been rotated 90 degrees to the left to provide more comfortable use access to the paddle for awkward operating angles.


A rotate-able metal guard requires no tools to move to protect the user at the right angle. Also notice the slots which aid in the air flow from the body to push dust and debris away from the user.


The onboard wrench storage attachment ensures the wrench can never be lost!


Note how the guard has been moved to suit the task, as well as the position of the operator's hands. On a standard grinder your hands would likely be sitting up top on a side mounted handle close to the cutting access and in the firing line!


Whether it's cutting or grinding, the Demain Angle Grinder does the job safely and effectively.

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