Show Me a Surface Grinder

Posted on Sep 26, 2020

Surface Grinder

A grinder is a heavy-duty machine used to remove material from the surface of a workpiece. Unlike most machining tools that cut a workpiece with a cutter, a grinder removes tiny chips from an object by a grinding wheel.

A grinder is a heavy-duty machine used to remove material from the surface of a workpiece. Unlike most machining tools that cut a workpiece with a cutter, a grinder removes tiny chips from an object by a grinding wheel. There are several types of grinders and each of them works differently. In this article, we will put our focus on surface grinders. The construction, form, working principle, characteristics, and applications of a surface grinder will be covered in the following sections.

What are Surface Grinders?

A surface grinder is a type of grinder that is designed for surface grinding operation specifically. It is mostly implemented in the finishing process to create the optimal surface finish. In some industries, the surface finish quality of parts is crucial for it affects the performance and function of a machine to a great extent. When the high-quality surface finish is a must, surface grinders are used to meet the manufacturing requirements.

Why is Surface Grinding Important?

Surface grinding is the most common type of grinding process. It is a piece of heavy industry equipment where different types of metal and non-metal objects need to be refined and smoothed for finishing. This process stands out because of a couple of reasons. When processing a part with other machining means such as milling or turning, part tolerances and surface quality deteriorate as the tool inserts wear. In contrast, the wheel can often be machined (or called dressed) to maintain the sharp cutting edges of the abrasive and the shape of the wheel, resulting in a consistent finish and high dimensional accuracy.

:: Read More: Who needs surface grinders?

Construction of a Surface Grinder

The construction of a surface grinder is simple. The main parts of it include a worktable, a grinding wheel, a power system, and a frame. The frame pulls all the necessary components and auxiliary equipment together. Based on the end application, there may be some auxiliary equipment to assist the process. In the modern manufacturing industry, the surface grinder usually works with a CNC system to further enhance the precision and efficiency of the process.


The worktable is the working surface of the grinder. It is where the workpiece is placed and the grinding process is performed. On the worktable, a fixture, or any sort of workholding system, is employed to hold the workpiece in place during operation. The common workholding systems include chucks and vises. The magnetic chucks are used to clamp metallic parts while the vacuum chucks clamp non-metallic components.

Grinding Wheel

The grinding wheel is the cutting tool of a grinder. It is an abrasive disc that contains grits (or called grains). The grains serve as the cutting edges that cut the workpiece. The size and material of the grits determine the application of the grinding wheel. The smaller the grits are, the finer and smoother the surface they can create. Besides the grit size, the feed rate and the rotating speed also affect the use of the machine.

Power System

In the past, a grinding machine is operated manually by the machinist. The machinist had to constantly turn the grinding wheel with a shank or a screw. The quality, efficiency, and precision of the operation were highly limited. Today, the high-precision surface grinders for heavy-duty processes are powered in order to offer a sustainable power output and speed. The electric rotary motor is used as the power source for most CNC grinders today.

Types of Surface Grinders

There are three basic types of surface grinders: horizontal, vertical, single disc, and double-disc grinders. Each machine is best suited for specific items. The main difference is how the grinding wheel makes contact with the workpiece.

Horizontal spindle grinders, also known as peripheral grinders, are best suited for high-precision work, such as angular or conical surfaces, grooves, or recesses. The flat edge of the circle - the rim - is in contact with the part. Pins, pistons, connecting rods, and bearing races are examples of elements ground on this type of machine.

Vertical spindle grinders or disc grinders are usually used to remove material quickly. The face of the grinding wheel is lowered onto the workpiece below. Vertical spindle grinders are best for stators, plates, rotors, gears, inner rings and inner plates, and stops and spacers.

Single disc grinders and double-disc grinders are available for both horizontal-spindle and vertical-spindle styles. Disc grinders have a larger contact area between the grinding surface and the workpiece and can grind both sides at once. Some rotors, plates, spacers, gears, and washers can be put into disc grinders.

Main Applications of Grinders

The aerospace industry is known for machining materials that are difficult to machine with conventional cutting tools and processes. These tough and high-temperature resistant materials allow the components to survive the harsh conditions of aircraft engines. However, the same features that make these materials difficult to machine are likely to make them suitable for grinding. Turbine rings, turbine shafts, and inner and outer rings are a few of the aerospace components which are commonly precision ground.

Machine Tool Manufacturers
Machine tool builders use main shafts, linear guides, ball screws, indexers, and Hirth couplings in turntables, roller bearings, cams, racks, valve cores and grounded parts for pistons.

Mold Industry
The mold industry uses grinding to produce thread dies, stamping dies, bending machines, wire drawing dies, rolling dies and inserts, and many other mold components.

The tool industry that supports the mold/mold and machine tool industries use precision grinding to produce three- and four-jaw chucks, shaped blades, step drills, drill taps, reamers, taps, ring gauges, and chucks. ISO and HSK adapters and tool holders for tool holders also require grinding.


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