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Do I need a surface grinder?

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Janderso

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#1
I don’t have a surface plate so how would I know if the tool needs to be ground?
I have to tell you, these YouTube videos that show the rebuilding and inspection of old and import machinery is pretty cool.
To be able to scrape your own tools by knowing where the high spots are appeals to me.
Obviously the bigger the surface plate the more money is going to be spent.
Do you have one or both?
What do you do with your plate/grinder?
 

38super

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Apr 23, 2018
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#2
Have a used 12x18 granite, use it for layouts and for scraping angle plates and flats. Worst hole is 0.0004", looks like a height gage lived there. Access to a Rahn Repeat o Meter is handy, made my own for the smaller plate.
 

Cooter Brown

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#3
I have a Starrett Crystal Pink granite block about 2'x2' with a Indicator shaft in the middle paid $50 for it, accurate to around .0001. I also have a Boyar Schultz 6x12" surface grinder and I do just about everything on it just because I can..... You just have to look around on ebay or used machinery stores thats where I have the best luck.
 

chips&more

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#4
My surface grinder is 10 times more useful than my surface plate. My surface plate is just a table top to put crap onto...Dave
 

kd4gij

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#5
The way it works is, You buy the tools then decide what the need is.
 

machinejack

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#6
Where I worked in the late 60's we had a 6' X 6' X 16" thick black granite one with an over head crane for lifting. Would spend a very long time setting up for a bore using toolmakers buttons locating a very critical hole placement using a Cadillac height gauge for large 24" sq CNC pallet changing carriages for Cincinnati Milacron milling centers . Had no CMM in those days. Telling my age but out of 8 Bridgeport mills we only had 2 with DRO's. Another machine tool with a DRO was and old Giddings and Lewis 4" Horizontal boring mill. I ran this beast most of the time it used Pixie Tubes in it's window. Us apprentices got to use the one's with DRO's once in a while. Man miss those days 12 hr shifts 5 days a week and only 10 on Sat. making about $2.75 an hour. I can remember when my take home was a little over $200.00 a week. A little long winded for a "do I need a surface plate" question. And yes they do come in handy, mine is cast iron 12"X 16". I still do lay out work before making chips.
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
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#7
My inexpert take on it is the granite plate of known accuracy is the basis for checking everything else including a surface grinder. Everything wears out and you have to have some standard to check with.
 

stioc

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#8
There's a huge cost and room difference between the two. I have a small surface plate that cost about $50 or so from Grizzly. Works well for setting tool heights for CNC and layout work but both of those are very occasional needs for me, in hindsight I could've gotten by without one but for the price and space it takes it's not an issue at all. Now I'd love to have a surface grinder someday but don't have the room and I'd rather spend the funds on meelions of other tooling and such things first.
 

Cadillac

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#9
It's all on how far to you wanna get pulled in by the tool demon? Living in Chicago their are multiple places to acquire machining tools. I bought a grade A 18x24 from shars two years ago and picked it up because shipping is usually more than the plate! Then going to auctions I picked up a cast iron 15x20 plate for like 30 bucks. Same auction I also got a 30x46 1200lb hand scraped plate I intend to use as a layout table. I paid 125 bucks for it and could pass it up!
I also watch a lot of videos of rebuilding,scraping, and machining. Which got me interested in scraping and grinding and just chasing the highest amount of precision I can preform. Which lead me to buying a surface grinder. After only grinding acouple hours so far I can already see a problem. Now looking at a milled finish looks terrible to me. Flycut or not. A ground surface to me is flawless which just raised the bar for my mill. Might only see aluminum now and ruffling in sor steels:D If you got the room and money go with it sounds like you already have the bug!:cool:
 

C-Bag

Ned Ludd's bro
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#10
The precision bug is the real rabbit hole. Good enough does not exist in that hole and I've also been bitten by it. Scraping is a huge rabbit hole that will devour wallets in a heartbeat as it is a never ending journey into TAS (Tool Aqusision Syndrome). I've been trying to dodge the finish bullet by using my old Atlas shaper as the finish is about as close as you can get without a SG. But it's not as accurate as a good SG. Resistance is futile......but space and wallet depth are mitigating factors.
 
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#11
I've a very old cast iron surface plate , before granite became the rage. It's only as accurate as the user. My surface grinder is a substantial machine by size and construction. But I'd put it's abilities up to the best ones made now. Even my mag is built it's about 14"x 24" and it was fresh off the floor of accurate machine tool in Philadelphia Pa. I only found one tiny shield missing a screw . The owner told me the handle needs a shim but it's not even enough to show up in any grind operation . Now it's a landis 1 1/2 model and weighs about a 1,000 lbs . Another reason it grinds so well. Some machines just need to be heavy and these are the ones.
I'm just hoping I can get the shop set up and working or ill be selling a great surface grinder . Do you need one I'd say yes if you plan on making tools.
 
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