No announcement yet.

Surface Grinder

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Surface Grinder

    I have a couple of questions. This has been in storage for about 20 years and not used during that period. It's Sharp model SG 618, 3 phase, 2 HP. I have 3 phase at my home, so that isn't a problem. I know nothing about surface grinders, nor even what you use them for. Can you tell me what a homeshop machinist might use one for? What would be a fair price for it? I am first in line.

    Last edited by Smokedaddy; 03-21-2011, 11:18 PM.

  • #2
    I'm no expert and not too valuable on what you would pay for one like that but you can make all sorts of things with surface grinders. They put a very nice and accurate finish on what you are grinding. Parallels or things needing to be parallel, 1,2,3 blocks, imagination is the limit. With the right fixtures you can grind tooling. You would need to get a magnetic chuck that is the size of the grinder (6x18). Can be had from cheap import to expensive fine pole.


    • #3

      Well, you can use them to make really flat and accurate paperweights.

      Surface grinders are used to make things to really tight tolerances. When I reach for one, I'm generally looking for less than .0005" accuracies.

      They excel at machining hardened materials. With the right fixture you can grind accurate profiles for punches.

      Don't know much about Sharp grinders. Mostly I've used Cincinnati Milicron and Harigs. With a couple of old Nortons tossed in. Oh, and a Nicco 12x24 also.

      Things to look for in this style, bad motors and bad spindles. The motors aren't to bad to fix, but the rest of the spindle will get to be expensive. And mostly they end up in storage because the spindles go bad and the machine will no longer produce the accurate surfaces expected in a commercial shop. Will it be good enough for a home shop? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on what you expect out of it.

      For this one, it looks like it has had good care taken of it. But it lacks a magnetic chuck and no provision for coolant. I mostly have ground hardened tool steels. So flood coolant is a must in my book. And in my old age, I don't like cranking manual grinders. It takes awhile to take off .020" of say, 57Rc S7 at .0002"/pass. Gimme hydraulic feeds every time.

      The value of a machine to any type of shop depends on how much you figure you will use it. In my book a machine that that might get used once or twice a year for a few moments, isn't worth the floor space it takes up. But everyone's mileage varies.

      Generally speaking, small surface grinders aren't overly pricy. And it would be worth what ever you wanted to pay for it.

      If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


      • #4
        That's a really nice-looking grinder. I can't see how you'd go wrong with it, depending upon price being fair.

        As for what do you do with one...if you don't know, you don't need one. Sooner or later though, you'll want one.

        As dalee stated, they're not all that expensive. I got this one about 10 months ago for a 1/2 a day of CNC training. Just today I added coolant (and dust collection in the same unit) by getting the OE unit NEW for a nice price.

        The mag chuck that one needs with be a decent piece of money, learn about the two basic types before buying. Permanent or electromagnetic.

        dalee, if you have coolant why would you be taking off only .0002" per pass? Get yourself a Norton SG wheel and takes 5 to 10 times that per pass.
        Last edited by PixMan; 03-22-2011, 12:41 AM.


        • #5
          If that's original (not "restored") then it looks like it's great condition.

          Looks like it might have some control buttons for an electromagnetic chuck. If it doesn't come with one, then that would reduce the price considerably - at least until you have to buy one to use it unless you get lucky.

          Looks like manual feed table too, which would also reduce the purchase price.

          Considering those two things, you should pick it up for a song. Your needs and budget are probably different, but I'd pay maybe $500 but not more. Sure it looks nice and looks to have a decent work envelope, but not many features and no chuck means a whole lot less money in my opinion.

          You will definitely want a chuck. The power feeds are great when either doing a bunch of parts, working on a large surface or removing a lot of material. Your arm will get really tired. But if you don't use it much the lack of power feed might not bother you at all.


          • #6
            Mine is a manual machine. The ballways are so smooth and the table so well-balanced that I hardly notice any effort. Still, a hydraulic table reciprocation and cross feed sure would be nice. Considering I have $271 into the machine and about $1000 into the accessories and tooling, I'm happy.

            Manual machines are fine for a lot of home shop and some commercial shop work. That one probably also has ball ways. That does look like it might have mag chuck control, but more likely just a toggle switch for the light, and a DPST switch for a dust collector and/or coolant system that's gone. Most mag chuck controls would have a rheostat for adjustable power level.


            • #7
              Looks great shape. But as as been said you will need a mag chuck.
              The one I get to use at school is about the same size (a new Japanese one) and it will be good to have several grit wheels in dedicated
              arbor bushings, we don't. :-( Once you use it a few times it will be
              second nature to go to it for a nice surface on any ferrous pieces.
              We don't have coolant on ours so it is a bit of a slow process but
              worth the effort.


              • #8
                I don't use mine nearly as often as the mill or lathe.

                But it sure is nice when you need one.

                Also, you can use it for sharpening some tooling with the right fixtures.

                If you can get it for a good price, I say don't pass it up.

                I think I paid about $600 for a Browne & Sharpe without coolant but with a used magnetic chuck.
                VitŮŽria, Brazil


                • #9
                  I bought an automatic surface grinder a few months ago with coolant system. I had followed prices for some time and realised that a number of them were going really cheap and in a couple of cases working manual grinders went for $100 on ebay just to get them out of the way.

                  The machine you are reviewing is a manual machine with no coolant system. The first question to ask is if it is in their way and would they be happy if you just got it out of their way at your expense. You can go from there.
                  "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"


                  • #10
                    condition condition condition! It won't much matter what you the sense that it looks to be unused. If that's original paint, I would put it in the pristine category - look where the sparks would hit the plate; doesn't look like its seen a couple of hours of use. Paint of course doesn't matter to performance but its indicative of the life a machines had and that one doesn't look broken in. If bearing surfaces and roller bearings are as good shape as the rest of it appears, its not worth worrying about whether you pay 1500 or 500....I mean if it was 1500, would you be happier with it or a 500 beater or import or some sight unseen $100 ebay special? Great if you can get a deal, but sometimes the deal is finding a perfect one at used prices, even if in the high end of the range.


                    • #11
                      The surface grinder has been in a enclosed semi-tractor trailer since about 1984. I know this to be true. It hasn't been used durning that time period to date, nor repainted or reconditioned. I hope to pick it up for a couple of hundred but wasn't sure what I would use it for since I have never used one.

                      Last edited by Smokedaddy; 03-22-2011, 10:49 PM.


                      • #12
                        Surface Grinder

                        A surface grinder is the Bridgeport of grinders if you know what to do with it. You can make things flat, turn something to size, sharpen all kinds of tools and cutters, cut things to length, make steps and grooves, grind any shape,
                        make punches and broaches, etc. All this on hard or soft steel, all to a fraction of a thousandth. i would jump on that grinder in a flash for even $1000, much less $200.


                        • #13
                          It looks to be a great buy. As somebody new to the surface grinder world myself and then realising what can be done with one I'd say go for it!!

                          Just an observation, that may not be at all relevant, but the seller is saying it hasn't been used? Yet it appears to me to be plugged in to a power outlet with an anti-fatigue mat in the operating position.



                          • #14
                            No, I said it hasn't been used in approximately 25 years. It was used before that but not much. It is plugged into the wall outline in the trailer, but there is no power to the trailer itself. There is also a slightly used Millrite that I have an option to buy. It to hasn't been used in 25 years.

                            Last edited by Smokedaddy; 03-23-2011, 12:05 AM.


                            • #15
                              Yes that's what I meant. Obviously I don't know the circumstances of the sale and I'm sure it's all legit, but I just thought it curious that someone would have a machine that hasn't been used for that amount of time plugged in with an anti-fatigue mat in front of it. It's been my experience that in the scenario you described, the machine tends to be shoved back in the deepest, darkest corner of the shop to make room, where it gathers dust and otherwise provides habitat for long considered extinct species of arachnids!

                              I only make this point on the off chance that the machine is in fact damaged. If it's possible to fire it up, I definitely would. IF running the machine showed it has significant spindle damage that requires new bearings etc, given then number of these machines available at good prices, that would be a case where you may be better to let the sale go. It certainly looks from the pictures to be in good condition, but it's certainly been known for absolute POS machines to be "tarted up" and look great for sale, but paint doesn't make any difference to the machine's operation.


                              Edit: By the same token, I'd make similar observations about the mill. It supposedly hasn't been used in 25 years, yet there's a chip brush sitting on the table? Just a curious set of circumstances is all.
                              Last edited by PeteF; 03-23-2011, 12:29 AM.