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[4]

Help with surface grinder wheel selection

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Technical Ted

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I still have some work to do on my new to me B&S #2A surface grinder, but am trying to identify some wheels and tools to pick up for it. The wheel size is 7" x 1/2" 1-1/4" hole. I've been doing research on line and found a tremendous amount! Too much actually... I have pretty basic needs so it seems like there should be a simple answer out there, so here goes:

I will basically have two types of grinding to do. Soft carbon steel and hardened tool steel. The carbon will most likely be a matter of making parts parallel and down to a certain size. The tool steel will be things like truing up parallels, 1-2-3 blocks, angle plates, HSS tool bits, etc.. I know a coarser wheel is better if you have a lot of material to remove, but I will most likely machine close to size and want to minimize the quantity of wheels I buy.

I'm trying to limit the different wheels I have to the basics. So, I'm looking for recommendations of hopefully no more than 2-3 different wheels unless there is good reason for more. Some might say you only need one wheel period but I have no problem with a couple/three different ones if that makes sense.

Right now I have a worn and a brand new Norton 38A46-I8VBE and one adapter (hub).

I also need to pick up adapters and a puller. Where do you guys get yours? I see them on MSC and McMaster Carr for close to $60 for adapters and $18 for a puller. I've also seen used ones on eBay, but think I would be better off buying new so I know what I'm getting.

I've done some grinding in the past when I worked in the tool room years ago, but I always just used whatever wheel was already on the machine and have no experience in wheel selection so I appreciate the help.

Ted
 

Grandpop

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I am certain you will get lots of different answers, some different than you asked for. I was a die maker for 25 years, and now have had an old 6x12 in my home shop garage for past year. Like you I dust/finish mostly soft steels and the occasional tool steel part.

I have/use Norton 32A46-H as my standard wheels for flat work. If I need to hold a sharp corner or dress a smaller radius I switch to a 32A60-I. If I want even sharper detail I have a few 38A80-K wheels. Those 3 were 90 percent of the wheels used for full time grinding we did, so I see no need to switch. Have used the red/pink 25A46H and 25A60-I for very hard tool steels, but not certain the extra cost is worth the marginal improvement in home shop.

I bought my wheels on ebay and at some local machine shop auctions, probably average ~$15 a wheel.

Like you I was going to buy the hubs @ MSC or Travers on sale. After watching for a year, turns out Travers never puts them on sale, but MSC does. I bought a set of 4 nice used Sopko ones on eBay about a month ago for $100 with free shipping. Watch the photos closely - a lot of off brands, rusty ones or ones that look like they were in a crack ups for even more money.

My grinder came with the hub puller and wrenches, so have not bought extras. Can get those anywhere.

Good luck with your grinder, I use mine more than I thought I would.
 

Technical Ted

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Grandpop, thanks for the reply. I just ordered a Norton 32A46-HVBE because it seems this would be better for dusting the magnet than the 38A I have. Looks like the 38A is more suited for hardened stock and light cuts.

I also made a puller this afternoon. I figured why spend $20 and buy one when I can make one in about an hour. Hey, $20 saved is $20 earned! :) In case anyone else is so inclined, here's the info I found on Sopko's website for the thread sizes:

00116 (116) STANDARD PULLER ASSEMBLY.
1" OD knurled bushing 00681, .984"-16RH OD thread. Pressure screw 00117 1-1/8" long,
1/2-13RH thread, 11/16" hex. Black oxide finish.

Fits like a charm! I also added a brass plug on the end of the 1/2" -13 jack screw so it wouldn't mar the end of the spindle and its' center.

Ted
 

Grandpop

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Good idea to make a puller.

I do not have one here, but the best I found for grinding the chuck / table is a 32A46-G (maybe even a 32A36-G). I just use the 46-H for the chuck here, spray or spread a light coat of oil after the first touch, take no more than a .0002/.0005 cut depending on where I am in the cleanup effort. I also use a fast traverse with at least a 1/8 - 1/4 crossfeed. I let it set for a while between cuts, check the chuck temp with a HF infrared thermometer, and dress the wheel between each cut. Even so, sometimes it takes several tries to get it flat. Fortunately it does not get much wear so it lasts a long time.

PS. My name is Ted as well, so really had to reply!
 

Technical Ted

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Great name Ted! Thanks for the info. It helps. I have a spray mist. I was thinking about using that while dusting the chuck. What do you think?

Ted
 

Bob Korves

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Amazingly, you can get just as good of a surface finish with coarse wheels as with fine wheels, and with a lot less chance for burning the metal. Same with soft versus hard. And that is perhaps backwards from what you might expect, use soft wheels for hard metals and hard wheels for soft metals. Open structure wheels are much more forgiving, they do not load up as easily, and make it more difficult to burn the work. Look at the wheel face often, and dress when it is getting quite dirty on the side you are first contacting. I find it really helps to only approach the work from one side when possible. Grandpop was right on. I am also pretty much a newbie, so take my recommendations with a large grain of salt...
 

Grandpop

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I used a mist unit a couple of times when grinding chucks years ago. Think is was just generic clear water soluble grinding fluid. Made a big cloud in the room and everything got sticky as the cloud settled down and dried. Not sure that it cooled the chuck any better than oil.

If you have a mist unit I would try it - don't see that it could hurt. Flood coolant works best, but most small hand grinders don't have that set up (mine does not).

I prefer light oil ~ 20-30 weight, spread out by hand over the chuck. I place a rag over the stop on left side of grinder. Doesn't make much of mess except against the rag, just have to wipe out inside the wheel guard when done after wheel stops.
 

Chuck_L

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Hello All, name is Chuck. New to the forum. I just inherited an old Browne and Sharpe No 2. I've never used a surface grinder before. Thanks for the info in this thread already. My question to an experienced operator might be "If you were limited to only 3 wheels to use on your surface grinder, what would they be?" Assuming the materials would be tool steels, Stainless steels, and aluminum alloys which is pretty much all I work with. Thanks in advance :) -chuck
 

Grandpop

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welcome Chuck.

Since you have no/limited experience, I assume you are just talking about trying to do some flat grinding (no sharp corners, no radii/forms) to make blocks parallel and to size? If so you could probably use 32A46-G or 32A46-H wheels for the tool steel and stainless.

I don't recommend grinding aluminum as a newbie AT ALL. It is VERY gummy, loads the wheel almost instantly, which does not give a nice finish and does make heat that goes into the work-piece, which tends to make it raise up in the middle. After it cools back down you typically end up with higher edges and a slightly depressed center. Have done it wet, dry, with wax, and with oil, but never found a clear winner; just depends on the size and type of aluminum. Probably best to start with coolant if your grinder has it. Really needs constant wheel dressing and light cuts. If you really need to grind it, I would try a 32A36-G as starting point (pretty open, coarse wheel).

It should go without saying, but always make sure the material is magnetic first if you placing it on the chuck. Put it on the chuck, turn the chuck on, and make sure you can't move it on the chuck. Even a non-magnetic piece blocked in with steel blocks around it (and/or using magnetic hold downs), it will move a bit and not be easiest to get it parallel. Best to hold non-magnetic items in a vise till you get a fair amount of experience.

Since you are new to grinding, I will offer this caution: Surface Grinders are like a table saw in that when something goes wrong it happens too fast to even realize it is happening until afterwards, much less try to prevent or stop it from happening. If you even have the slightest doubt that a setup isn't secure, find another way of holding or doing it.
 

Chuck_L

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Yes, your assumption is correct Grandpop: I'm pretty much just looking to true up surfaces and make things look nice. I had also thought of using it to help me sharpen tool bits for turning and milling plastics. (My mentor taught me that when dealing with plastics, the sharper the better. It's worked for me so far.) Avoiding aluminum makes sense; it loads up the bench grinder, so no reason it wouldn't do the same on a surface grinder. Table saw analogy also makes sense, especially with that magnetic chuck. It holds tight, but not super tight. I'm guessing I probably won't be taking off more than 5 tenths at a pass max, eh? (Thank you very much for advice on the specific wheels.)
 

Bob Korves

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It is well known to be difficult to grind soft metals like copper and aluminmum. When doing it commercially they use automatic dressers that dress the wheel constantly. Not something to try at home as a newbie. Soft steels will grind OK, just use a coarser soft wheel with an open structure for less problems with the grinding. Grandpop's wheel suggestions are good for ordinary steels.
 
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