A cylindrical grinding wheel, also known as the cylinder grinding wheel, is a type of grinding machine used to shape the outer layer of an object. The cylindrical grinding wheels are able to work on a variety of shapes, but the object must have a central axis of rotation, for example, a cylinder, ellipse, cam, crankshaft and other shapes.
There are essentially four elements that constitutes a working cylindrical grinding wheels:
1. The object at work must be rotating constantly.
2. The cylindrical grinding wheel must be rotating constantly.
3. The grinding must be performed in a unique “toward and away” motion when the grinding wheel is fed.
4. The object is positioned perpendicular to the grinding wheel during the shaping process.
Most cylindrical grinding wheels you see these days will adopt all four for these elements, with some employing at least three of the four elements.
The idea of cylindrical grinding wheels was first introduced by John Wilkinson, then later experimented further by Henry Maudsaly who also built the horizontal boring machine. The development of cylindrical grinding wheels was the byproduct of the industrial revolution because steel production was inexpensive at the time.
The cylinder grinding wheels were first built by Jonathan Bridges and James Wheaton, who worked on the project independently in the 1830s. It was unclear who first completed the machine, but both were indispensable for the primary appearance and the later development of the machine tool.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the computer numerical control (CNC) system was incorporated into these grinding wheels, marking a significant leap in the innovation and revolution of cylindrical grinding wheels. And in the 1990s, with the booming of personal computers, both the CNC system and PC were integrated in the grinding wheels, enabling even more control of the manufacturing process with minimal human oversight.
Some of the different types of cylindrical grinding include:
● Outside Diameter Grinding: In this type of grinding, the external surface of an object between the centers is worked on. The centers basically serve as an end unit that enables the rotation of the object. The cylindrical grinding wheel also spins in the same direction as the object contacts the wheel. When the contact is made, the two surfaces move in opposite directions, allowing smoother workflow.
● Inside Diameter Grinding: As the name suggests, this type of grinding takes place inside of an object. The width of the grinding wheel is always smaller than that of the hole being ground. A collet, which holds the object in place, also rotates the object. Just like outside diameter grinding, surfaces move in reverse direction as the object comes into contact.
● Plunge Grinding: This is actually a form of outside diameter grinding, but with the key difference that the grinding wheel shapes an object by making contact continuously on a single point of the object rather than traversing the object.
● Creep Feed Grinding: Creep feed grinding is a type of grinding that removes a cut at a full depth in a single pass of the wheel. When performed properly, creep feed grinding is said to be capable of reducing manufacturing time by at least 50%. But this type of grinder typically needs to be designed for a specific purpose rather than a general-purpose grinder. This is used in both surface and cylindrical grinding.
● Centerless Grinding: This type of cylindrical grinding has no collect, nor does it have centers to hold the object in place. Instead, a regulating wheel is positioned on the opposite end of the object to the grinding wheel. The object is held at the required height by a work rest, but has no effect on its rotating speed. With the work piece centered above the centerlines of the regulating and grinding wheel, the work blade is slightly angled towards the regulating wheel, which ensures that roundness can be achieved.
Cylindrical grinding wheels are most commonly used for manufacturing precise shapes and finishing materials, keeping roughness at the minimum while retaining superb surface quality. As a matter of fact, many innovative products in industries are manufactured thanks to a cylindrical grinding wheel. Industries that require the manufacturing of precise metalwork all take advantage of the grinder, namely automotive, electrical military, and plumbing. They are also widely used for finishing metal products such as bearings, tubes, bushings and rods.
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