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SG or no SG?

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Uglydog

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#1
I have the opportunity to plan and build a new shop.
No, the budget is not unlimited. Therefore, I need to be selective in what I choose to do.
I have two summers to get it done. This summer is the build. Next summer is the move.
As I'm sketching out the new shop I'm wondering if I should consider inclusion of a SG?

Yes, I know ya can't have enough tools. But, I'm gonna need a serious list of reasons to justify the dedicated space and initial acquisition.
Thus far any SG I've needed to do has fit on the Pratt Whitney Tool Cutter Grinder, or I made it happen with a file, lapping plate, and a sore shoulder.
The kind of work I have been learning and anticipate doing is primarily machine rebuilds and one-off parts for the local farmers and small business.
No CNC here. Finding local shops to do one offs has been difficult. Likely because those customers often don't really know what they want.

Simple question: Why do I need a SG--
If so, then what size? Type?
Ideas?
Suggestions?
Controversies?

I feel comfortable asking what might be such an obvious question here at HM.
Thank you.

Daryl
MN
 
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D

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#2
I have a Brown & Sharpe 6 x 12 SG, with the roller table and continuous oiling system installed. So far, it has exceeded my expectations for a small SG. I even SG's some parts that were 14" long, I managed to stretch the stroke a little, it's all it would go. I've installed a coolant system on it, but haven't used it yet.
Be nice to have one that would SG a table top on a Bridgeport, you know how that goes. I've stopped way short of having that.
 

wlburton

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#3
I think you do need one and I might come up to use it occasionally! As a fledgling hobby machinist coming from band instrument repair, I like the things I make to look pretty--and nothing's prettier than something that's been surface ground. I would love to have one of those little Sanford bench top surface grinders myself to make some (small) things more accurate and some prettier, although I have to admit it probably wouldn't get enough use to justify buying one.
Bill
 

dennys502

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#4
I have a Harig 6x18 Autostep. I have used manual surface grinders and they are just too time consuming.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what you would use it for. It is great if something requires a good surface such as parts that need to be flat and smooth or to a very tight tolerance.
I use mine mainly for grinding tooling after heat treating. I make some odd punch and dies for my own use and also some form tools.
In reality mine only needs about 5' x 4' of floor space so it doesn't take up much.
 

RandyM

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#5
Personally Daryl, I'd come at it from a different direction. I know you are on a budget, but the budget is for the building at this time and I'd make the building as large as your budget allows, right up to pushing it. And don't worry about a few square feet of space for one machine you don't know you even want yet. Then you'll have as much space as you can afford. And then fill it with all the tools, machines, and projects you can dream of. I very rarely, if ever, here of someone that has said "Oh darn, I made my shop too big!" Even if you don't fill the space with equipment, the extra work space for projects is really nice to have, particularly if you are tearing machines down or other large projects. I can almost guarantee, no matter what you plan for now, things will change and your space maybe to small in the end.

Also, don't come at it from the stand point that the layout is set in stone. It may be that way for a while, but again, life has a way of changing things even us. My shop is 25 years old and it is a work in progress as things are in a constant state of change. I know it isn't trying to think of every scenario or anticipate the future, but at some point you are going to have to call it good and go. I hope you'll give us a shop build thread? I love watching someone's dreams come true. Sorry, I know it isn't the answer to the question you asked. Good luck on your design.
 
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Ray C

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#6
What Randy is telling you, Daryl is, "Build it, and the tools will come".

As for surface grinders, they are not needed for most one-off things. When was the last time you needed something smooth or flat or parallel to some other reference within 0.0001 to 0.0003"? It really does not come-up all that often. For general "machinist" work, they are used and needed periodically. A Tool & Die maker will need one on just about every job.

I'm with Randy. Put your mind to building as much shop as you can then worry about what machines you fill it with later on. I had a SG for a few years. It took up too much space and needed bearings (about $500) a motor (about $150), the bed top needed to be re-ground ($200) and the ways needed scraping. I sold it to a friend whom I know would give it a good home. I use a tabletop cutter/grinder for rudimentary grinding tasks now.

Regards

Ray
 

4ssss

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#7
I don't have the room for a surface grinder, but I'd get one if I did. It's a basic machine tool like a lathe or Bridgeport. There are always nice, small, manual Harig's for decent prices on Craigslist.
 
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#8
I would love to have a over head traveling crane in my dream shop someday. At least 5 ton, maybe 10 ton. All heck, make it 20 ton!
 

benmychree

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#9
I would love to have a over head traveling crane in my dream shop someday. At least 5 ton, maybe 10 ton. All heck, make it 20 ton!
I would love to have a over head traveling crane in my dream shop someday. At least 5 ton, maybe 10 ton. All heck, make it 20 ton!
Where I apprenticed, a 30 ton crane would lift over 100 tons; I myself saw a 98 ton load on a 30 ton crane, these were leg sections of the San Mateo - Hayward Bridge, so your 5 ton should be good for at least 15 tons -----Seriously 'tho, when they tore the place down, those cranes were scrapped; they cut a gap in the crane rails and pulled them into the gap and onto the shop floor, a sight that I'd like to have seen in action; if they were not junk before the fall, they sure were afterwards!
 

projectnut

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#10
I purchased a 6" x 12" manual surface grinder for the shop about 5 years ago. I don't use it on a daily basis, but it does get used often enough to earn it's keep. I see you're from the Midwest. There are several on Craigslist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. They range in price from $450.00 to well over $10,000.00. If you're persistent you should be able to find one in good shape for around $500.00.

Here are some pictures of mine..
DSCF8037.JPG DSCF8038.JPG DSCF8040.JPG
 

benmychree

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#11
As far as surface grinders are concerned, I think they are an asset; I do not use mine real often (a 6 x 18 B&S Micromaster), but it owes me little as it was a gift from a friend; it has power cross and long feed, automatic oiling and a Neutrofier magnetic control and is deadly accurate. I have fixture for it for threading tool grinding, die chaser sharpening, planer blade re sharpening etc. If you have the room, and the occasional need and can find one for an affordable price, why not. I also have a #1 Norton T&C grinder and use it often for all sorts of small sharpening and cylindrical grinding jobs.
 

Uglydog

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#12
Plan is for at least two gantries. One in the area of the trailer and the other in the rebuild area.
I've been drawing where doors might be and how they might position relative to 3ph outlets.
I understand the work in progress thing and am trying to figure out the optimal situation.
I think the largest I can go might be 30'x30' I need to wait until snow clears before I can actually effectively measure. This will be tied into the existing 30'x60'.
In the pic the farthest bay is wood. Tall door is for truck and large gantry for trailer unloading. closest door is for my brides little car and the ATV.
Welding and rough fab behind the small man door and near her car (with welding curtains).
The addition will be on side most visible in this pic. 5" reinforced with extra rebar+. Somewhere I need to find space for a clean room (inspection) and grinding.

Daryl
MN
11582-422nd-Street-Clark-Twp-MN-55787-4860558-image14.jpg
 

chips&more

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#13
When you get the SG, you will wonder how you got along without it. And how many times have you said that with the other stuff in your shop!
 
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#14
I thought you were going to say the tall door was for the fire truck.:big grin:
 

ACHiPo

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#15
I think the largest I can go might be 30'x30' I need to wait until snow clears before I can actually effectively measure.

Daryl
MN
Daryl,
In MN I'd be thinking more about whether to install radiant hot water heat than a surface grinder, but that's just me and I'm a West Coast Wimp.;)

Interested to watch your project (and SG) as it comes along.
Evan
 

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#16
On the SG - if you want it it will come! Nice shop!
 

rrjohnso2000

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#17
I see your in Mn, no idea where or how close to anything you are. Can you get parts everyday of the week?

I ask because imigine that guy comes in with an almost done bearing replacement. As he was pressing that bearing in one of those needles fell out of place and snapped with the pressure. It's Sunday he needs it done, willing to pay, but you can't get that replacement.

Grab the closest oversize hardened dowel, drop it in the spin fixture and grind to size.

In a one off, fixing stuff shop I say the same as others you will be surprised how often you need it.
 

Bob Korves

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#18
I use my surface grinder as much or more than my lathe and my mill. It is the newest (to me) machine I have, so that probably is part of it, but it is the mag chuck that makes it the machine of choice for many small jobs. Most setups are a snap on a surface grinder. Also, need a thinner washer or nut, mag it on and start grinding. A few minutes and it is done. Mine is 6x18, but so far I have not done anything close to the capacity of the grinder. I am sure I will, though...

A tool and cutter grinder in good repair could do a large part of what I do with the SG, if it had a mag chuck.
 

Uglydog

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#19
Pursuant to shop design...
Are there any suggestions on minimum ceiling height for a machine shop? Yes, I know high is good as it facilitates ventilation as well as moving machines.
There are clear and appropriate rules on welding fab areas which have alot to do with ventilation of fumes.
Moving forward I'm hoping to isolate welding (SMAW and GTAW) from machine tools, as well as a walled off (clean) inspection area, and ideally a separate grinding area.

Daryl
MN
 

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#20
I saw this when you first posted, and have thought about it a lot!

I have an 8' 2"height, and I'd have rather had a 10' ceiling. Here's my 2 cents worth...
If you frame with 10' studs, with a single sill on bottom and double on top (required by code here) you end up with a 10'4" ceiling with sheathing.
If you recess the lights, you keep that 10'4" which is plenty for a full sized mill and gantry crane,
- There's even some room for some overhead storage over certain machines...
--- and -- it isn't too high making lighting really tough. I've worked in 14' and 18' bays and the lighting was always atrocious! That's the 'inverse sqare law' of light workig against you... And you can always bring the lights down, but there is no way to get more clearance,,,
 

rgray

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#21
and ideally a separate grinding area.
I managed to do this with my last shop addition. Best thing ever. Grinding machines really need there own room keeping all that mess
away from the well oiled machines.
My shop is 2 additions on a 2 car garage. The garage and the newest edition are 8' ceilings and the other is 11'.
The 10,000 lbs cnc lathe, bridgeport , lathes, SG's, and jig grinder all get along just fine in 8' ceilings.
The 11' is for the someday VMC, most are tall nowadays. That's the dreaming part, for now it's getting an overhead hoist (another reason for the height).
Surface grinder.....definitely....maybe even 2.
 

gi_984

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#22
Went thru this a few years back. To SG or not to SG: Yes, bought a small 6X12 manual in great condition for $500. And glad I finally did. Was more an issue of space than funds. They (6X12 or 6X18) come up for sale regularly around here for around $400-$900. I use mine monthly. It is more than adequate for what I currently do. If I had more paying work that involved a precision ground surface, I'd spring for a bigger one with a hydraulic table.
Second a dedicated grinding area that is separated. Currently have mine in a corner with the sandblasting cabinet, belt sander, and pedestal grinders. But even with a vacuum system, grit gets in the air. At the tech school grinders were in a separate area. Primary reason why I keep all my machines covered and wipe the way surfaces clean regularly with paper towels before use. Paper towels and way oil are cheaper and easier than repairing worn machined surfaces.
 

Downunder Bob

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#23
To SG or not, My first instinct is always, If you can, do it. and always the biggest and best you can afford and have room for. But first build the extension, ( wish I had room to do that). make it as big as you can. I saw a mention of radiant heating, personally I'd go for underfloor, warm water in plastic pipes. I think you get a pretty long cold winter over there, so if you can keep your shop warm you'll spend more time in it and you'll have a lot less condensation problems. I have underfloor here and we never get down to freezing never seen snow here, but it's luxury.

After building the extension you'll soon find what you want in there. I'd love to have a SG but a decent mill would be higher on the priority list and I don't even have room for that, so I'm stuck with a lathe only.
 

middle.road

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#24
Knowing the kind of stuff you get involved with, I'd have to vote yes. 18"er?
 
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#25
I have an 8' 2"height, and I'd have rather had a 10' ceiling.
i would agree. however i have 9' because the roof of my build-out also serves as a mezzanine for parts storage and i need to stand up up there. but the 9' works good.
i also have double 8' doors leading in from the shop area which makes it easy to move machines in or out. doors were pricey tho'.
the higher the ceiling (to a point) makes the lighting and "claustrophobia" better
my opinion
 
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#26
to the original question: i planned my interior build-out (machine room) with space for tools i had and left some extra room. i have since filled most of the void with additional machines and can't expand anymore (with anything of size) without moving something else - elsewhere.
my home shop is 4k sq ft, under a/c is 1125 of which 225 is office. so 900' is for what i consider "machining" tools (plus a couple dirt bikes/gear).

i believe that is the size you are planning. i have a fair amount of equipment in that space and i'm not cramped - as in not sucking my gut in to get somewhere or bumping elbows on another piece.
 

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#27
If I were you I'd plan a small area for grinding jobs. Then I'd add another 6'x6' square for the SG when it gets time and funds to do. Planning don't cost extra and the little room isn't hard to make now. I was able to get a old landis 1 1/2 SG but ill need to build a room in front of my garage just for it and grinding operations. 8' x 12' will seem small but to me I'll be in debt if I can get well enough to frame it out with help for the roof attach to the garage .
 
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Richard King 2

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#28
Daryl I know You plan on doing some scraping with all the scraping tools you now own plus spent money to take my class. Once you own a surface grinder you will kick yourself in the butt for not buying one years ago. You will find you will wish you had a bigger one too. You have enough land for a shop that big? Seemed to me you were on a small lot? When I had my pole barn built I found Cleary building do mine. A neighbor had one built last fall and Siwek in NE Mpls build his, said they were a whole lot cheaper.

Pick up a sign plate mag chuck if you can, makes scraping tapered gibs a whole lot easier to grind the taper before putting on Turcite. If you need a hand when you build it, give me a shout. Rich
 

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#29
For shop ceiling height, I like the 12' in mine as a car shop with a lift. Machine shop only, 10'min. Had to have a wrecker bring the mill in through a 10' garage door, not sure how you move equipment into your finished space. In the planning stage, plan on lots of power outlets everywhere-ceilings, walls. 220 in places you don't expect to need it. Where might you stuck a RFC for 3 phase? (Plan on big wire if far from box). My 3 phase is in conduit surface mounted so you can see what is going on. Power becomes the biggest issue when setting equipment. I have a 40x60 with several thousand feet of wire installed, 4 gang outlets every 4 feet along the walls and I still wish I had outlets in places it isn't ( mostly ceiling for lights).

I too think I need a surface grinder. Not sure why and no specific projects, but it seems like the standard "when you need one, you need one" kind of tools. Keeping in mind that anyone with 10000 worth of tools can make a 5 dollar part whenever they want (maybe that's why this is a hobby?). I had a lathe and mill for years, but see a SG as the next evolution.

This is the fun part - enjoy.
 

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#30
If your equipment is less than 5000 lbs each 8 foot doors will work unless you have a real tall machine. A triple mast 5000 lb capacity fork lift goes under an 8 foot door easily. Most any rental place worth their salt will have triple mast 5000 lb machines.
 
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