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Homemade surface grinder

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  • Homemade surface grinder

    Does anyone recall an article in HSM or Machinists Workshop from around 1996 or later, regarding building a surface grinder from a belt sander? Maybe I saw it some place else but I pretty sure it was in one of these magazines. Thanks

  • #2
    I'll have to pull the hard copies out of the basement but I think it was further back, maybe around 92 or 93
    Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I specified 1996 only because I started subscribing to the magazines that year. I wasn't familiar with them before that time.


      • #4
        Doesn't ring a bell, which doesn't mean it's not in there.

        The only homemade surface grinder I remember seeing was in one of Guy Lautard's TMBR books. The guy had mounted a vertical post on a granite surface plate with a vertical adjustment for a normal grinder spindle. I don't remember if it was direct drive or belt drive like a toolpost grinder. Then he just moved the work under the wheel by hand, taking very light cuts and remembering not to feed it the hungry way.

        It would work real well for my needs, and I'm sure I'll get one built one of these days. I'm still stuck in the design phase, trying to figure out an easy way to eliminate all the backlash in the vertical adjustment screw so I can get accurate and positive down feed in tenths.


        • #5
          I believe the article you are refering to in HSM uses a radial arm saw as the basis of the surface grinder by replacing the blade with a wheel. If I remember correctly it looked like a disaster waiting to happen.


          • #6
            I remember a tool grinder in Projects in Metal that had that as an option.
            I just need one more tool,just one!


            • #7
              There was an artical in "Model Engineering Workshop" where a guy took a bench grinder and mounted it vertically. He turned it into a kind of swing grinder. I forget what he used for fine feed, but he didn't recomend grinding more than half a thou. at a time.

              Time passes.................................

              Found it. MEW No. 45 October november 1997


              • #8
                I once asked someone in the abrasives industry about building a surface grinder myself, and he asked me how rigid the setup would be. Since then, I have built the device, (using steel plate ) and found that it isn't rigid enough. The finish produced varies a lot, depending on the particular vibrations induced by the grinder, the workpiece, and other factors. No way would I expect a good result from a converted radial arm saw. I think you could get a more accurate surface by milling, unless you build very solidly.
                I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                • #9
                  A surface grinder fitting the traditional definition is a damn accurate and sophisticated piece of equipment.

                  Just because some home-made lash-up makes sparks and may make stuff sort of flat doesn't make it a surface grinder any more than a kid in a cape riding down the garage roof on a bicycle is going to "up! up! and awaaay!" DAMHIKT

                  The machinist trade is a discipline driven by the need for accurately made parts for today's manufactured products be they the gadget that makes beverage cans or the space shuttle. Among the precision items in current use in the trade are words. They have to have specific meanings in common usage throughout the country.

                  So when Gingery or somebody cooks up a gadget that falls in the category of a machine machine tool doesn't mean it deserves the generic name.

                  This has nothing to do with snobbish distinctions or elitism. It has to do distinguishing between good intentions and actual success. A surface grinder is a precision class of machine that among other things produces a precision ground surface flat within 0.00005 in any square foot and an non-acculative error of 0.0002" over its working envelope.

                  You won't get this class of accuracy by cannibalizing a radial arm saw frame or sliding stuff on a granite flat under a poised grinding wheel.

                  Someone with the skills and resources may very well produce a home made surface grinder meeting commercial specs.

                  Someone starting with cold rolled steel for ways or a belt sander for a grinding spindle will not end up with a surface grinder. He'll have a grinder of some sort or an abrasive belt finishing machine. See, you gotta create a new name for a new machine. "Surface grinder" is already taken and people depend in it meaning a certain thing.

                  I don't want to pour cold water on people building experimental machine tools or race cars or airplane or chili. I only want then to honestly identify the product of their hard work and genius, not borrow a name signifying performance orders of magnitude greater than that actually delivered.

                  Yeah, I'm a party pooper.

                  [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 02-06-2003).]


                  • #10
                    No Forrest, you are not a party pooper. But I thank you for throwing a pail of water on this to douse the overly ambitous amongst us. I've been kicking around a design idea for a small surface grinder but working with precision spindles and slides on a daily basis I know what I would be up against. The well meaning amatuer doesn't. For most people that are doing machining as a hobby the best solution would be find a used Harig 612 even if it's in rough shape.
                    Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.


                    • #11
                      I disagree. The point is certainly valid that commercially engineered and mfg'd surface grinders reflect orders of magnitude greater precision than anything we of the 'Home Shop' tinkerer class are likely to cobble together. But a 'generic' term is just that.. 'general'. i.e. surface grinder (lowercase s, lowercase g). If it grinds, and it grinds surfaces, it's a surface grinder. If it quacks like a duck, ...oops, different story.. If some ingenious person needs and creates a device with limited capability to remove material too hard for other cutters, and produce a reasonably flat surface, using a spinning grinding wheel, you can't seriously expect him to name it a "Device- With-Limited-Capability-To-Remove-Material Too-Hard-For-Other-Cutters-Using-A-Grinding- Wheel"
                      Granted, confusion should be avoided by adapting one's terms to the audience. But I doubt the original post, asking about "building a surface grinder from a belt sander" misled anyone to visualize some highly precise machine.
                      Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


                      • #12
                        Here we enter "gold watch" territory.

                        In the early part of the last century traveling salesmen sold "gold" watches on the street corner for $5 (a full day's pay for the working man back then). The sales pitch was furtive as though it was a shady deal and the seller was desparate. How's the buyer gonna know polished brass from gold? The dial looks like genuine porcelain. The on the dial it says "Hamilton - 21 jewels - shock proof" on the case. What a deal! A $50 watch for $5. The case is brass and the works are brass. The watch is a counterfeit worth maybe 50 cents.

                        My dad bought one when he was a kid in the late '20's when he was following the harvest. He kept it for a lesson. Whenever I brought home a bargain he'd get out the watch and tell me the story.

                        Then there's the crow in the Aesop fable who found a peacock feather...

                        Then there's the guy who runs in from nowhere at the finish of the Marathon just ahead of the real winner...

                        And there's the fish story, the golf shot, the splendid girl you went with back when, we all have our deceptions but the most tragic is when we deceive ourselves.

                        (He had to beat me. I was bad. I love him. He'll change.)

                        (This job is temporary. I'm going to Hollywood.)

                        (It's only indigestion. I don't need a doctor.)

                        Standards have to be protected. Call it a surface grinder if you insist but be sure to follow with a brief disclaimer addressing the machine's limitations. Otherwise you become in a small way like the guy on the street corner proffering brass as gold.

                        There's no shame in falling short of a high aspiration or building what suits you.

                        [This message has been edited by Forrest Addy (edited 02-07-2003).]


                        • #13

                          I typed in "surface grinder" in the search (HMS) Article Index feature on this web site. It located an article titled "A Make-do Surface Grinder" and is published in the 1984 Sept-Oct issue. It appears like it has two parts. Could that be the one your're looking for?


                          [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 02-07-2003).]


                          • #14
                            Got to say that a homemade surface grinder is a homemade surface grinder.
                            If a person wants to manufacture a machine to perform some function in his shop, he should not be discouraged by semantics.
                            If it does not perform to the standards of a commercial machine, so be it. The maker has learned by the process, and may actually end up with something better.
                            If he is a determined individual, he will continue to develop his ideas and methods until an acceptable piece of equipment results.
                            A good example is the infamous lawn edger made by Deene Johnson. The fact that it is homemade does not make it not a lawn edger, and it is built like a tank. Much better than any available commercial units.
                            Making counterfeit items with the express intent to defraud somebody is a totally different situation.
                            Jim H.


                            • #15
                              Can we put a lock on this before it starts to get ugly.
                              When I originally posted a reply to this I failed to read the whole post and had a couple of cool ones. If I had noticed the part about the belt sander I would of done my best to throw water on the idea too.
                              Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.