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What Is a Small Tool and Cutter Grinder?

Posted on Apr 17, 2021

Small Tool and Cutter Grinder

Small tool and cutter grinder is an extremely flexible grinding machine that performs a wide range of grinding operations like cylindrical grinding operation, which is used to shape the outside of the items and surface grinding operations or intricate shapes.

What Is a Small Tool and Cutter Grinder Used For?

Grinding is the abrasive cutting process used to remove the materials and create the customized contours under rotation. Among a wide variety of grinders, the small tool and cutter grinder is designed for sharpening and reconditioning the cutters and various tool bits which are used on modern machine tools. Small tool and cutter grinder is an extremely flexible grinding machine that performs a wide range of grinding operations like cylindrical grinding operation, which is used to shape the outside of the items and surface grinding operations or intricate shapes.

There are a small tool and cutter grinders that are manually operated with the setup. There are also more automated CNC grinders that are quickly becoming common in the metalworking environment. CNC stands for computer numerical control, modern small tool and cutter grinders utilized today typically employ CNC systems and multiple axes, mostly 5 axes. These CNC tools and cutter grinders are popular for manufacturing end mills, drill bits, step tools, saw blades, and more modern tools across metal cutting industries.

As for the manually manipulated type of small tool and cutter grinder, the operation of the machine tools often needs an experienced worker having a high level of skills and a solid understanding of the relationship between the grinding wheel and the cutters that are being ground as well as the geometry of the tools. 

Structure of Basic Small Tool and Cutter Grinder

Since there are unlimited categories of machining tools varying in shapes, types, and materials, the small tool and cutter grinding machine mostly features flexibility in usage, permitting a wide range of cylindrical grinding methods and unique cutting angles. Using a vise that has multiple planes to work with small tools and cutter grinder will be helpful. The worktable typically moves longitudinally and laterally with the head which is able to turn and adjust in the horizontal plane. This flexible head permits the critical clearance angles which are needed to achieve the grinding and sharpening operations for different types of cutters.

:: Read more: All Machine Shops Need Tool and Cutter Grinders

Advantages of CNC Small Tool and Cutter Grinder

Today, CNC tools and cutter grinding machines upgrade the productivity of the reconditioning process of various cutting tools by providing an automatic wheel pack exchanger system as well as a tool feeding and loading system. The wheel pack exchanger offers multiple grinding wheels to enhance flexibility in usage. Also, the CNC tool grinders usually offer high precision measurement in the machine tools which is also automatic. With these components and highly automated operations, the unmanned production of cutting tools is critical and efficient with a tight tolerance of less than 0.0002" that can be constantly achieved even on intricate grinding operations.

In addition to tool production, CNC tool grinders are also widely used to accurately recondition the milling cutters and other sorts of machining tool bits. After general use, the cutting edges of the milling cutters inevitably wear. With the high-performance measurement for the geometric features of the cutters in the tool grinding machine, the surface cutters can be ground to return to the greatest condition. For example, the circular saw blades can be ground under the rotation of the precision grinding wheels to eliminate the dull and old edges. The CNC tool grinders are ideal for removing corners of teeth, straight or taper grinding for the face of different cutting tools, grinding the relief and rake angles of spiral tools, teeth of hob cutters, end mills as well as center drills.

Another feature of the CNC cutter grinder is the software development that permits the grinding machine to be used for designing and producing geometrically intricate tools either parametrically or via the CAD/CAM software. Using a 3D simulation to customize the products and the grinding operations is available, the function can also be utilized to detect any potential mechanical collisions. With the software, the calculation and regulation of production time is also much easier. As a result, the small tool and cutter grinder can verify the tool production and design and optimize the quality of finished products.

With these advantages, nowadays CNC tool grinders are commonly used in aerospace, medical, automotive, and other industries. It is less challenging to grind the difficult and exotic materials with the 5-axis machine tool to manufacture complex geometries.

Radius Tool Grinder

Radius tool and cutter grinder, which is also simply called a radius grinder is a special type of small tool and cutter grinder to shape the most complex cutter forms. The radius grinding machine typically consists of 3 essential parts, which include the worktable, the clamping device, and the grinding head.

The grinding head moves vertically with 3 degrees of freedom, feeding the cutting tools being cut and tilted. The movement can be statically determined, maintaining fixed throughout the grinding production processes. As for the worktable of the radius grinding machine, it is the X-axis that is installed on top of the radial table. In general, the clamping system of the X-axis table can be anything that is placed on a T-slotted table. A collet or indexing chucks are more often used to provide Y-axis operations, permitting precise depth setting as well as end mill sharpening operations.

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