A hand feed grinder, or hand feed grinding machine, is a grinding machine that involves manual feeding process during operation. That is, the hand feed grinder requires the operator to load and unload the workpieces before they are machined.
Nowadays, most applications regarding machine tools have gradually gone through the phase of automation, since the automatic operation helps a lot in reducing the cycle time while increasing the efficiency. However, before the advanced technology is applied, the construction of these machines is on the basis of conventional operation method. In the conventional operation method, the operator is in charge of most of the machining procedures, including feeding the workpieces, adjusting the positions, and regulating the operation speed, etc. When a machine tool operates following these procedures, we describe it as a hand feed machine tool.
When it comes to a hand feed machine tool, it covers a wide range of applications that are specialized in different purposes. Here we would focus more on the grinders, or grinding machines, which offers the workpieces with sharp new finishes as the abrasive grinding wheels contact the surfaces. Depending on the grinding parts on the workpieces, the grinders are divided into surface grinders, cylindrical grinders, centerless grinders, and tool and cutter grinders.
Considering common operation methods and difficulties in feeding the workpieces, the hand feed grinder usually refers to the surface grinder. As the name implies, a surface grinder grinds on the surfaces of the workpieces, and is often used in the final machining process. During the primary machining process such as drilling or milling, there would be burrs left on the contact surfaces. These particles are possible but not necessary to be seen on the workpieces, as they may influence the appearance of products. In order to handle this problem, manufacturers would apply a surface grinder to remove these unwanted parts.
● Manual loading and unloading
As mentioned above, the hand feed grinder relies on the operator to load and unload the workpieces during the process. In addition to the positioning of workpieces, the operator can also set the height of the wheel by turning the hand wheels equipped on the sides. In other words, except for the rotary function provided for the grinding wheel by the spindle, it is the manual force that controls the whole process.
● Precision slideways for smooth operation
When it is necessary to adjust the position of workpiece, the slideways would be the assistance that enables the adjustments. Since a grinder works as the grinding wheel rotates on the workpiece at a high speed, it is impossible for the operator to move the workpiece with bare hands.
While on the hand feed grinder, it allows the operator to turn the hand wheels to adjust the workpiece along x and y axes. Once the rotating grinding wheel and the sliding function coordinate with each other, they can together achieve the smooth operation.
● Rigid casted parts for stable support
As the grinding wheel rotates and cuts on the workpiece, it would product compressive force for not only the machined parts but also the entire machine. Hence, the supporting parts on the hand feed grinder are casted to ensure the stabilization of the workpiece and the tool. With the rigid casted parts of the hand feed grinder, they can prevent deviation and deformation from occurring, which facilitates smooth operation as well.
● Lubricating function for durability
When two objects contact with each other, the friction would be produced, and this may results in problems such as overheating. The overheated contact surface may not only lead to the failure of production, but also shorten the life of the machine tool. Some of the hand feed grinders are equipped with automatic lubricating function, which properly applied lubricants on the working site. By doing so, the operation temperature is under control, and the durability of the hand feed grinder is promised as long as it can.
The slideways can be regarded as the machine bed, which provides a surface for allowing the work table and workpiece to move depending on the requirements. Since this unit is designed for the manual operation, it is the operator that takes the responsibility to do the adjustment on these slideways.
● Work table
The hand feed grinders may serve for wood or metal workpieces. For the metal workpieces that are metallic, they are secured by simply resting on the magnetic worktable. As for the wood workpieces or others that doesn’t have magnetism, there would be a chuck that provides clamping force for stabilizing the workpieces during the process.
● Grinding wheel
The grinding wheel is made of abrasive materials, which sharpens the surface of workpiece as the abrasive is removed. This grinding tool is balanced with an arbor and secured with a flange. It is the spindle that drives the grinding wheel to rotate once the operator finishes the settings and initiate the machine.
● Hand wheels
In the general construction, there are three hand wheels equipped on the hand feed grinder. One is for adjusting the height of the grinding wheel, and the other two are in charge of the sliding and cross-sliding of the worktable. Since these hand wheels determine the results of the grinding process, they play vital roles regarding the manual feeding feature of this machine.
The switches are applied for turning on and off the hand feed grinder. After finishing the settings and adjustments, the operator only needs to press the switches then he can initiate or stop the rotary motion as well as the grinding wheel.
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