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Small manual surface grinder - worth it?

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  • Small manual surface grinder - worth it?

    There'ss an auction coming up this week with a Rockwell 24-150 manual surface grinder.
    I don't have the room in my garage for a large unit.
    I'd like the capability to surface hardened steel (good for flattening woodplane blades etc)but I wonder if a small manual grinder is worth the bother.
    I've never used a grinder so have zero experience/knowledge on the subject. Looking at the pic of this unit, it doesn't appear to have flood coolant and I wonder if heat while grinding would make a dry grinder all but useless. It also looks in "like new" condition which means to me that no one in the shop thought it worth using!
    Advice please!!

  • #2
    If it is something you really want, and the price is right, why not. I would suppose the only downside to a manual grinder is all of the hand cranking involved. For a small quick job, maybe not a big deal. Longer jobs could become tiring on the back, hands, wrists, etc. Look it over good, if it appears that you could set up a flood coolant system, without it becoming a mess, that can be done relatively inexpensively. If a flood system cannot be used, perhaps though a bit more costly, a cold air gun system for cooling. If your work does not have a large surface area, and you take very light passes, you should not get extreme heating.
    Paying Attention Is Not That Expensive.


    • #3

      You'll use it more than you ever thought. I did without one for years, now mine is used a few times each week.

      The 24-150 is the newer version of the machine I have, the ToolMaker. Got mine for the same reason - small footprint. They do a nice job, surface finish is very good. A 2,000# machine does better but takes up lots more space.

      There is a parts list (6.63MB) in pdf form on Delts's website:

      Many of the replaceable parts like bearings & belts are available at any bearing warehouse. Try to at least start the machine to make sure the motor runs O.K. & there aren't any strange noises. Good luck!

      Barry Milton
      Barry Milton


      • #4
        Make sure you have the magnetic chuck as these are almot usless without, and they ain't cheap to buy even off ebay, and they are heavy. Also, they are must if you do thin flat parts.
        Jack H.


        • #5
          Great first grinder. I had a Delta.. the same grinder only earlier.That one had solid bearings.It was shot when I got it. I redid the spindle taper and cone with abrasive on a lathe until the blueing was close to perfect. cleaned up the table ways on a mill and threw in Rulon. Made some new screws and nuts.Even made a new canvas dust cover for the screw. With the low friction liner that table glided real nice.The finish I could get from that machine suprised me for something that only weighs ~600lbs.
          If your crafty, you can fashion a swivel table and copy their univice design and do some fair T&C work. REAL handy having a surface grinder.
          PS don't pay too much, grinders sell cheap.


          • #6
            Ken,I wouldn't let the un-used conditon bother me,grinders are usually treated better than most machines in the shop.That combined with the fact that .001" is a heavy cut means they don't see much wear.

            There is nothing wrong with a manual unit so long as you don't use it as a mill.They are made for removing a few thou,not a few hundred thou.

            Coolant can be either flood or coolmist,it's more for cooling the part than the wheel.
            I just need one more tool,just one!


            • #7
              Righto, thanks all. I shall go and check it out first thing in the morning. God knows where I'll put it if it goes for a good price.
              Hey what is a good price? Under $500??


              • #8
                I was just perowsing the hsm site after a night of grinding. I should mention that the only time anyone takes off a .001 thou is on a finish cut or pass. I regularily gring .025 or so at a time off the workpiece. Sometimes more but then the wheel wears pretty fast and has to be redressed often, I place a big chunk of aluminumn on the part after grinding to suck the heat out of the part. Always use extreme caution turn off the machine when working on that mag chuck or plate, Be careful I have seen a grinder finger accident once and dont wish to see or ever hear of one again. Enjoy and be careful. I would like to buy one for my home shop and am hunting around.