An In-depth Look into the Surface Grinder

Posted on Sep 26, 2020

Surface Grinder

A surface grinder is a type of grinder mainly used for finishing processes. It utilizes an abrasive, rotating wheel to finish the surface of a workpiece which is held in place by a vise. Aside from finishing, surface grinders can also cut a variety of metal into smaller pieces.

In many cases, the quality of the surface finish can affect how well the part performs.  When a high-quality surface finish is a must, surface grinders are sure to meet the manufacturing requirements. Read on for a more in-depth introduction to this piece of amazing grinding equipment.

Why is Surface Grinding Important?

Surface grinding is the most common type of grinding process. It can grind different types of metals and non-metals that require a refined and smooth surface. So what makes surface grinding so popular? When processing a part with other machining operations such as milling or turning, part tolerances and surface quality deteriorate as the tool inserts wear. However, the abrasive wheel of a surface grinder can be dressed to maintain the sharp cutting edges, resulting in consistent finishing and high dimensional accuracy. Check out the blog entry below to find out who uses these surface grinders:

:: Read More: Who needs surface grinders?

Furthermore, surface grinding today is often coupled with a CNC system for more precision and efficiency. The following video is a demonstration of the high-end, CNC surface grinder by Equiptop:


Construction of the Surface Grinder

The structural design of a surface grinder is simple. The main parts include a worktable, a grinding wheel, a power system, and a frame. The frame pulls all the necessary components and auxiliary equipment together. Depending on the final application, there may be attachments to assist 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 a work-holding device, is installed to hold the workpiece in place during operation. The common work holding devices include chucks and vises. The table moves horizontally during the grinding process, as the grinding wheel grinds away fractions of the workpiece.

Grinding Wheel
The grinding wheel is the cutting tool of the grinder. It is an abrasive disc that contains grit also referred to as 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, the finer and smoother the surface. 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 was operated manually by the machinist. The machinist had to constantly turn the grinding wheel on and off with a shank or a screw. This limits the quality, efficiency, and precision of the grinding. Today, high-precision surface grinders for heavy-duty projects are used 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.

Figure 1. Surface Grinder Components

Operation of the Surface Grinder

When powered on, the grinding wheel spins at high speed. Once the workpiece is secured at the desired height, the spinning wheel is positioned just above the workpiece. The table will then begin to move from side to side, as the work bed elevates slightly for the grinding wheel to come in contact with the workpiece. The working bed also moves in and out, which allows a more even grinding of the workpiece.

It is worth noting that the grinding wheel doesn't have to be completely straight during the process. In certain applications where a specific pattern on the surface of the ground part is required, you may adopt a wheel with custom profiles to achieve that pattern. Alternatively, you can simply machine a pattern into a straight grinding wheel to attain the same effect.

Check out the video below as it illustrates the movement of the grinding wheel and worktable:

(Copyright@To Know Everything, YouTube)

Types of Surface Grinders

There are three basic types of surface grinders: horizontal, vertical, and disc grinders. The main difference lies in how the grinding wheel makes contact with the workpiece.

● Horizontal Spindle 
This type of surface grinder is the most common in the industry. It is best suited for high-precision work, such as angular or conical surfaces, grooves, or recesses. Pins, pistons, connecting rods, and bearing races are examples of parts ground with this type of machine.

● Vertical Spindle 
Vertical spindle grinders are usually used for rapid material removal. The most noticeable difference is that the face of the grinding wheel is used on the flat surface instead of the edge. Vertical spindle grinders are ideal for grinding stators, plates, rotors, gears, inner rings and plates, and stops and spacers.

● Single-Disc and Double-Disc
Single-disc and double-disc grinders can be incorporated in both horizontal-spindle and vertical-spindle models. Disc grinders have a larger contact area between the grinding surface and the workpiece and can grind both sides at once. Components such as rotors, plates, spacers, gears, and washers are all ideal candidates for disc grinders.

Applications of Surface Grinders

The main industries that make use of surface grinders are outlined as follows:

● Aircraft
The aerospace industry is known for machining materials that are difficult to machine using conventional tools. These tough, high-temperature resistant materials allow the components to perform under harsh conditions of aircraft engines. Turbine rings, turbine shafts, and inner and outer rings are all some of the more common aircraft components that are precisely ground.

● Machine Tool 
Surface grinders are often found in the machine tool industry as well. Machine tool builders use surface grinders to make main shafts, linear guides, ball screws, indexers, roller bearings, cams, racks, valve cores, and more.

● Mold & Die
The mold industry uses surface grinders to produce thread dies, stamping dies, bending machines, wire drawing dies, rolling dies and inserts, and many other mold components.

Other tools that are produced with high-precision surface grinders include three- and four-jaw chucks, shaped blades, step drills, drill taps, reamers, taps, and ring gauges. Tool holders are also another category that frequently utilizes surface grinding.

IMTS Exhibition

IMTS gathered worldwide Surface Grinder manufacturers into this online platform. Browse and search for your next supplier with us.

Should you run into any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Quick Link to Suppliers

0Inquiry Item Contact IMTS

International Manufacturing Teletrading Sources (IMTS) is your key to unlock the door to the industry from anywhere around the world, at any time.