How to get the Most out of Your Benchtop Surface Grinder

Posted on Sep 4, 2020

Benchtop Surface Grinder

Surface grinders are the most common type of grinder found in shops around the world. You can compare it to a milling cutter with multiple teeth, but a surface grinder has a grinding wheel, which makes it an abrasive cutting tool. The grinding wheel is used to remove very small metal pieces. It works because the grinding wheel consists of thousands of cutting edges. A benchtop surface grinder is a sub-category of surface grinders.

You can tell from its name that it is a rather small machine that can be easily installed on top of a worktable or workbench. Benchtop surface grinders are not portable per se, however, with a few tricks, it is not a big deal to it from A to B without too much effort. They do work well on very hard materials (steel and diamond for example) to produce high-quality finished surfaces. In this article, we will talk about how to operate a benchtop surface grinder and give you some tips on how to get the most out of your machine.


Benchtop Surface Grinder Safety Tips

• When using your benchtop surface grinder, make sure to wear safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield.

• Turn the grinder on and stand aside until the wheels come to full speed.

• When sharpening a chisel or other tool, you can judge when the edge becomes sharp by observing the sparks. If they slide over the tool and slide down smoothly along the surface facing you, be careful, because this means the edges are already very thin and easily overheated.

• Check whether the grinding wheel of your benchtop surface grinder is cracked or damaged. Before installing a new wheel, use a screwdriver to hang it through the center hole. Tap the wheel with the plastic handle of another screwdriver. The wheels will ring.

• When installing the wheel, do not over-tighten the nut. Over-tightening may break the wheel.


Use Tool Sharpening Guides

Tool sharpening guides are a great way to securely hold the tool while grinding and they also make finding the right bevel angle much easier. Just use a 2×4 short film with slanted ends and 1-1/4 inches and clip the hole. You can make one for chisels and planer blades, and some woodturning tools for different angles. The big label with the tool name will tell you which blocks are suitable for which tools. For a Delta grinder with a 6-inch diameter grinding wheel, align a 51/2-inch long 2×4 size tool exactly on the grinding wheel. For other benchtop surface grinders, you may need to adjust this length. The angle you cut on the block is different from the bevel angle of the tool. To determine the blocking angle, turn off the grinder, and keep the bevel angle of the tool flush with the grinding wheel. The angle between the tool shaft and the worktable is the included angle to be cut on 2×4.


Sharpening at a lower RPM speed is better

Unless they have variable speed, most bench grinders run at about 3450 rpm. If you pay attention to and keep the grinding wheels clean, these high-speed grinders can work normally. But for sharpening, a low-speed grinder running at 1750 rpm is a better choice. A lower speed reduces the chance of overheating at the edge of the tool. Another advantage of low-speed grinders is that this type of grinding wheel usually includes a fragile white grinding wheel, which has better grinding performance than the gray grinding wheels usually contained in high-speed grinders.


How to make your Benchtop Surface Grinder Portable

Most home workshops do not have enough workbench space to dedicate part of it to bench grinders. A good solution is to install the benchtop surface grinder on a board or small shelf so that it can be fixed on the workbench when needed and stored on the shelf when not needed. The compartment on the holder of the benchtop surface grinder is a good place to store dressing tools and safety glasses for easy use when needed. For more advanced versions, construct a small drawer to fit the space under the grinder. The bracket is made of two pieces of plywood, which are separated by two uprights. You can use bolts with washers and nuts to fix the grinder, leaving enough space in front of the grinder to install an independent tool holder.


Know Your Grinding Wheels

You can use two types of aluminum grinding wheels to sharpen the chisel. You can use a darker color wheel, which is harder and can maintain a longer shape. But the disadvantage is that it grinds hotter than the soft white grinding wheel. Excessive heat will weaken the strength of steel. Soft grinding wheels require more frequent reshaping with dressing tools, but it is unlikely to burn the edges of the chisel during grinding. For best results, use a 100 grit grinding wheel to shape the chisel blade.


:: Read more : How to pick the best Surface Grinding Wheel

Dress Your Grinding Wheel Frequently

The dressing of the grinding wheel makes the surface of the grinding wheel smooth, but more importantly, it will expose new grit, thereby improving the cutting efficiency. When using a grinding wheel, the space between the cut gravel will be blocked and the gravel itself will become dull. The wheels in this situation will cause overheating and slow down the rate of material removal. The rod of the grinding wheel dresser contains diamond grit. Leaning the rod against the spinning wheel will cut off the surface, exposing new sand grains, straighten the surface of the grinding wheel, and round the grinding wheel. To use this dressing tool, start the benchtop surface grinder and wait for it to reach its maximum speed. Then press the diamond dresser on the spinning wheel so that it is perpendicular to the surface of the wheel. Make sure to wear a high-quality dust mask. Aluminum powder is very harmful to your lungs. Before you begin, draw a pencil line on the wheel to help you determine when you have removed enough material from the wheel. Trim the wheel until the pencil line disappears.


How to 'pimp' your Tool Rest

Inexpensive bench grinders have precise and difficult to adjust tool supports. If you do a lot of sharpening, or just need a stand for a bench grinder that is easier to adjust, consider adding a stand-alone tool rest. There are several varieties, some designed for specific tasks, such as sharpening turning tools. Some models have two adjustments for positioning and aligning the tool rest, and levers to aid tightening. You can also buy an attachment that holds chisels or irons.


More Information About Surface Grinder

1. Who needs surface grinders?

2. The Automatic Surface Grinder for You!

3. The Critical Chain Component in Metal Machining: CNC Surface Grinder


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