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Tool and cutter grinders, who has one and is it worth having your own?

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  • Tool and cutter grinders, who has one and is it worth having your own?

    I'm interested in learning to regrind (or make from scratch) various tools and cutters and want to know more about T&C grinders. Are they that much better than working up some sort of fixtures for a surface or cylindrical grinder?

    If you do have a T&C grinder, what make/model is it? Are any models out there considered superior to others?

    Thanks,
    Jim

  • #2
    I have a Cinnci #2 that I just sort of fell into.

    The Grinder was free for the hauling minus any tooling and needed quite a bit of work to get back into useable condition. A different expedition through a barn full of machine tools and tooling netted me a pallet load of various Tool and Grinder tooling for $200 which outfitted my machine

    As far as I'm concerned the Cincinatti #2 T&C Grinder is the best out there but then again its the only T&C I've ever laid hands on. I resharpen endmills and drill bits on it and can grind a lathe tool to perfection with a great degree of accuracy. I have the Horizontal Cutter tooling but have yet to use it

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    • #3
      Might be worth getting yourself a copy of this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tool-and-C...item2576acee95

      It'll show you the various setups, and the tooling you'll need. A fair number of T&CG's come without the tooling (as Joe's apparently did), and without it, you're very limited to what you can do.

      I have a Union T&CG - nice little machine, it has a 10" stroke table. This *just* lets me regrind 10" wood planer blades. Figure out what tooling you want to grind, and then find a suitably sized machine.

      Ian
      All of the gear, no idea...

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      • #4
        yes it is well worth having. I maintain they should be in more shops and be a higher priority....sort of for the same reasons good woodworkers can put a proper edge on all their tools. You just do better work if there is always a sharp tool available.

        For years I had (still have) a bench top with air bearing and drill grinder capability. That does 90% of of common tools and is imo the basic set needed - being able to properly do end mills and drills. A few years ago I added and reconditioned a small floor model with centres and motorized head. This does horizontal mill cutters nicely (owning a T&CG goes hand and hand with a horizontal mill). More recently I've added flood coolant and a tenths indicator and am having some real success using it as a cylindrical grinder. Reliable results to 10ths and great finishes in difficult or hardened materials is a real luxury!

        These are great tools well worth having. Look for one fully tooled is my recommendation
        .

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        • #5
          Have one, it's the most used machine in my shop. I was shown one setup years ago, and something clicked... I use mine to sharpen EVERYTHING and to do some fancy one-off production parts every so often.

          Finding them with tools can be an issue... 99% of the ones I see go by are auction or salvage. Often the rack of or bench full of tooling gets scrapped out separately by someone who has NO idea.

          Looking for a second one myself. If I can find a twin of the one I have... I'd be able to share tooling between them.
          "The Administration does not support blowing up planets." --- Finally some SENSIBLE policy from the Gov!

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          • #6
            Thanks for the info guys. It kind of jumped out at me when I started working at my current employer, and noticed an old Brown and Sharpe #10 T&C grinder that has had the cords cut off because it was deemed unsafe without proper guards. I asked a few of the guys about it, and they all said "no shops regrind their own tools anymore, they all send them out". One guy said he used it and that was just for putting a nice point back on his transfer punches. So I'm starting to think about talking to the boss about taking that unsafe horrible machine out of there before someone gets hurts!

            Does anyone have any comments on the B&S grinder in particular?
            Last edited by Jimmer12; 10-31-2012, 09:53 AM.

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            • #7
              I don't own, would really like to, though getting air into the shop should likely happen first (air bearing).
              I certainly second McGyver's statement
              owning a T&CG goes hand and hand with a horizontal mill
              , the number of edges to be kept sharp on horizontal mill style cutters takes almost several exponential increases compared to say a two flute mill.
              The flip side is of course is most shops will send out, locally we have had one or two service places that have been grinding nearly anything for decades but I suspect one has seen a dramatic drop in business since another got in a full CNC grinding "cell" and heavily advertised the fact...its a matter of being able to keep very tight tolerances without a lot of the fiddling adjustments one has to do manually.
              I sort of lean towards the older style of Clarkson but to find all the bits and pieces, a bit of a chore. There are a few smaller grinders which were made by most companies, I am thinking for a more typical space challenged home shop, finding one close to complete as far as fixtures, another matter.

              Edit to add: frankly its not to hard to find tool and cutter grinders of the size a good job shop would have commonly had for decades, but again, home shop, a #2 Cinncinatti is not the smallest of machine and will often be higher voltage to start...Kijiji in Ontario has one ad with your choice of three for sale less than $1500 per, there is another for even less but NO tooling etc. There is an internal grinding attachment selling for only $120 less than the whole machine it goes to...
              Last edited by RussZHC; 10-31-2012, 10:08 AM.

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              • #8
                If you think you might want to build one there are 2-3 decent plans around (fairly involved) - one I can recall off hand is the "Tinker" plans, maybe one of the other guys can remember more shop builds.

                http://lautard.com/tinker.htm

                I have a 'Cuttermaster' and my friend Lane has the 'Darex E90' , both of these are pretty much limited to end mills, but have the advantage of being smaller sized, fitting on a benchtop. They both do a great job on EMs

                One thing to keep in mind - like on the B&S - you almost HAVE to have the air bearing fixture, and as already mentioned, these things are often missing components and IMHO the air bearing is a 'must have'
                If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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                • #9
                  Out of curiosity, what did they use before air bearings? Just a very precise bearing surface?

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                  • #10
                    I'm finishing up a Worden grinder; purchased the kit and had it shipped overseas to Canada.

                    Did get a diamond wheel as well, but I expect that I'll be moving back into using more and more HSS. And, I've got some drills that need some work...

                    Did get the "crank feed" kit, the 4-facet drill grinding kit, and the radius turning kit as well.

                    I've got lots of end mills to sharpen; only the ends of the flutes, but that's where the wear is, from what I understand.

                    Did have a Tinker, loaned it out, then was in an estate auction before I knew it, so I lost it. Not much of a loss, in my mind.

                    Looked at some of the chinese cutter grinders; one available from a place in Toronto (lost link, though, but sometimes on ontario.kijiji.ca) but decided to go with the Worden.

                    I've no experience with it yet, but the plans are *great*, and having all the materiel available without scrounging is the way for me to progress.

                    Another JohnS.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RussZHC View Post
                      Out of curiosity, what did they use before air bearings? Just a very precise bearing surface?
                      This is a subject of some tiny contention. I think most of us who use air bearings would maintain they are a necessity for sharpening endmills. The incredible sensitivity and low friction makes it so easy to drag the (comparatively) small cutters smoothly over the tooth rest. Large cutters, not so much an issue, but endmills need the airbearing. When you go in a commercial shop (if they're not cnc) you certainly see lots of air bearings. otoh there must have been lots of end mills sharpened before air bearings were common. Maybe with practice you could do good job without an airbearing, maybe the results weren't as good? i don't know, but as far as I'm concerned doing it as a weekend warrior you need an airbearing to easily get great results
                      .

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                      • #12
                        I agree with an air bearing is nearly essential for sharpening the flutes of small endmills. I have sharpened small end mills with a spin indexer like fixture but one had to be careful and you really lose the feel of whats going on with the endmill-stylus contact point. You have to rely on visually insuring the flute is riding on the stylus and is not riding above it which is tedious when sharpening the flutes.
                        Having said that, be careful when purchasing a used air bearing. They do wear out and are not cheap to replace. I've looked at several used T&C's over the years that were out of grinding shops and they were all shot and I'm sure that is why they were getting rid of them. If you are looking at a used one, make sure it spins freely about its length when under pressure or plan on spending a lot to replace it. It should be floating on a bed of air. I have seen where people have made air bearings in their home shops, so that is also an option but not a trivial one and would require some trial and error.

                        Beyond the air bearing, if it doesn't come with a lot of tooling, you can make most of it to do lathe bits, slab cutters, and hand reamers.

                        I had a Logan #1 T&C, but after acquiring too many other tools I downsized to a Chevelier bench top with an air bearing and I use it regularly. The only downside I see with the smaller T&C's is they generally don't have a universal table (one that swivels) and that makes some grinding setups a little more difficult to do such as hand and taper reamers. I can still do everything with it, its just not as easy as when you have a swivel table.

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                        • #13
                          I built a Bonelle and occasionally use it when I need to create something 'unusual' or 'precise' (IE: worm gear cutter), or to sharpen items such as a threading die. I can't seemingly freehand sharpen, so the Bonelle is an asset in that regard.

                          Most of my lathe tooling gets sharpened on the HF grinder and I don't sharpen end mills.

                          I never cease to be amazed at the clever jigs folks come up with to turn a standard bench grinder into an amazing sharpening machine. Look around, there are some wonderful ideas
                          Last edited by Pherdie; 10-31-2012, 12:39 PM. Reason: Redundant words

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                          • #14
                            I built my T & C grinder from a Gorton Pantograph. it's not very pretty but is pretty functional... A buddy gave me a very smooth running spindle motor that accepts 1.25 bore wheels and I've attached a Harig air spindle to the table. The Motor/Head can be rotated or turned to any angle. I jump at the opportunity to buy dull US end mills and sharpen ends and flutes when necessary. If You're the hobbiest like myself, they are great! If You get an air spindle that takes 5C collets, grinding of HSS lathe tools is a breeze. later on, upgrade to some diamond wheels for carbide tools and You'll be set. Some people like to have nominal sized endmills and the answer is to keep a rack of them on hand. Most of my work is just material removal so a .666 diameter end mill is no biggie.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jungle_geo View Post

                              ............................................

                              I had a Logan #1 T&C, but after acquiring too many other tools I downsized to a Chevelier bench top with an air bearing and I use it regularly. The only downside I see with the smaller T&C's is they generally don't have a universal table (one that swivels) and that makes some grinding setups a little more difficult to do such as hand and taper reamers. I can still do everything with it, its just not as easy as when you have a swivel table.


                              http://www.machineryhouse.com.au/G198

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