Saddle Surface Grinder

What is a saddle surface grinder?

The saddle surface grinder is a special surface grinding machine that can process a series of flat surface types. In metal processing, surface grinding is one of the most critical steps for the CNC machines. After forming, cutting, and other complex processes, this step makes the achievement of further CNC finishing.

The surface grinder is used to create a smooth effect through grinding on a workpiece surface. It is a widely used abrasive processing method in the conduction with machines. On the grinding wheel, there are rough particles that cover the surface of it. The rough particles can cut chips from metal or non-metal workpiece, thereby producing a flat and smooth surface.

A surface grinder is a machine that provides smooth grinding surfaces for the workpieces. Its purpose is to produce specific dimensions, or to give a fine surface to the work piece. The accuracy of a surface grinder depends on the machines’ type and applications. However, a certain accuracy level should be achieved on most surface grinders.

The materials and shapes matter

Among all precision grinding machines, surface grinding machine is the most versatile type. The workpiece material and the grinding wheel shape make two influential keys to the result of the precision surface grinding.

Workpiece materials can be aluminum, brass, steel, cast iron, and mild steel. Some of them, such as cast iron and mild steel, are stable and will not attach to the grinding wheel during precision processing. Others have different physical properties and may corrode when contacting the workpieces, and are thus not suitable for grinding or other processing series. 

In addition, the grinding wheel is not limited to a specific shape, but rather comes in various shapes. The machine operator can dress the wheels for special uses and purposes. As the shape of the grinding wheel changes, the reverse shape of the workpiece is then affected. Therefore, the grinder operator must be aware of the change in shape, in order to immediately dress the grinding wheel and maintain the accuracy.

How the surface grinder works

Among various metal grinding methods, cylindrical grinding and roll grinding are different from surface grinding. The grinding head of the surface grinder is lowered to the position of the workpiece, and then moves back and forth on the work table under the grinding wheel. The work table usually has a controllable permanent magnet for holding and fixing magnetic workpieces. A vacuum chuck or other mechanisms can also be used to fix the workpiece when the workpiece is made of non-magnetic material.

In fact, the most common surface grinder has a grinding wheel rotating along a horizontal axis, which uses its outer periphery to cut. A rotary surface grinder, commonly known as a "Blanchard" style grinder, has a grinding head that rotates the grinding wheel on an axis perpendicular to the end face of it. Also, the worktable rotates the workpiece in the opposite direction underneath. 

This type of machine can remove a large amount of material on a flat surface with obvious spiral grind marks. It can also be used to make and sharpen metal stamping die sets, flat shear blades, fixture bases, or any flat surface. The surface grinder can be manually operated or equipped with a numerical control (NC) system.

Choices between manual and NC grinding

The saddle surface grinders are controlled either manually or by a NC system, while the former takes the largest amount . In other words, most saddle surface grinders are not processed by programming.

Regarding CNC grinding, the NC system is equipped with a humanized operation panel to ensure accurate display of the grinding movement. The friendly operator interface provides not only precise operation, but great convenience for the operators in different circumstances.

In addition, with the advanced technology, to reach the repetitive machining process with efficiency is no longer a troublesome task. The operators only have to recall the stored memory, and the machine will start to grind following the corresponding programs.

To choose manual or NC grinding depends not only on the manufacturers’ preference, but also the total production volume. Actually, the latter is the main factor that determines which one to choose for the manufacturers. If the standardization of the products is not the necessity, then the manual grinding is enough for the experienced operators. In contrast, if precision and productivity are what may be concerned, then the manufacturers may prefer the NC grinding method.


In short, the success or failure of surface grinding depends on the material choice and the appropriate operation method. The material choice contains both the grinding wheel and the workpieces. Besides, based on the need of production, choosing manual or NC grinding should also be taken into consideration in realizing the optimal results.

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