The Critical Chain Component in Metal Machining: CNC Surface Grinders

Posted on Dec 7, 2018


In the sector of metal machining, surface grinding is one of the most critical key-links in the whole finishing process.

The Critical Key in Metal Machining: CNC Surface Grinder Introduced

In the sector of metal machining, surface grinding is one of the most critical key-links in the whole finishing process. After forming, cutting, and other complex processing, many workpieces would go to this step for further finishing.

The procedure of surface grinding is used to produce a smooth finished surface on either flat or other specific surfaces. It is a widely used abrasive machining process by which a spinning wheel is covered in rough particles (grinding wheel) that cuts chips of metallic or nonmetallic substances from a workpiece, rendering a flat or smooth face.

Surface Grinding

Among all the grinding processes such as cylindrical, internal, center-less, the surface grinding is one of the most general one that exists in the industry since the very early history and also, last to now among the various grinding operations. CNC grinding is a finishing process that utilizes a rotational abrasive wheel to smooth the surface of metallic or non-metallic materials in order to deliver a refined physical situation by removing the layer and impurities on the workpiece surfaces under the control of computer numerical control mechanism that is driven by programmed processes.

Engineering Programmed

These processes will attain the desired surface for functional purposes that are planned and programmed by engineers. Regarding the mechanical composition, the mechanical structure of surface grinders is composed of an abrasive wheel, a workpiece holding device, and a reciprocating table.

During machining, the holding device would hold the material in place while it is being machined. The clamping mechanism can be done via two methods: one is for the ferromagnetic pieces, which are held in place by a magnetic chuck, while for the non-ferromagnetic and nonmetallic pieces, they are held in place by either vacuum or mechanical means. The clamping mechanism is crucial to the whole processing since only with the rigid positioning and clamp, can the work be done accurately and precisely.

Factors Affecting Grinding

Critical factors that affect surface grinding are the material of the grinding wheels and the material of the workpieces. Typically, workpiece materials include aluminum, brass, steel, cast iron, and mild steel. Some of them are more stable and will not attach to the wheel during processing, while some are with different physical natures that would lead to corrosion that is not ideal for further application.

The Shape Determines a Lot

On the other hand, speaking of the shape of the grinding wheel, the shape is not confined to specific shapes but could be a variety of shapes. Onsite operators can dress the wheels for specific usages and purposes. There is one thing that is noteworthy that, during surface grinding, the wheel shape will be affected to the reverse shape of the workpiece, so that operators have to be aware of the change of the shapes in order to instant modifications onto the grinding wheels so that the desired grinding could be continued.

Since surface grinders are machine tools utilized to provide precision ground surfaces, and the purpose could be of a specific size or for the surface finishing. The typical accuracy of a surface grinding machine depends on the types and usages; however, certain accuracy values should be achievable on most surface grinders


Since a surface grinder is a machine tool used to provide precision ground surfaces, either to a critical size or for the surface finish. The typical precision of a surface grinder depends on the type and usage, however, ±0.002 mm should be achievable on most surface grinding machines.

The grinding machine consists of a table that travels both longitudinally and across the face of the wheel. The longitudinal feed is normally powered by hydraulics, as may the cross feed, however, any mixture of hand, electrical or hydraulic may be used depending on the ultimate usage of the grinding machines so that before purchase, functionality shall be clarified.

Spindle Head

While it’s grinding, the grinding wheel rotates in the spindle head and is also adjustable for height, by any of the methods described previously. Modern surface grinders are semi-automated, depth of cut and spark-out may be preset as to the number of passes and, once set up, the machining process requires very little operator intervention.

Depending on the workpiece material, the work is generally held by the use of a magnetic chuck. However, this may be either an electromagnetic chuck or a manually operated, permanent magnet type chuck. The machine has provision for the application of coolant as well as the extraction of metal dust so that the processing will not go mist-spreading for operators.

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