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Surface Grind 101

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Janderso

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#1
Hi,
Can someone direct me to an easy to understand way of determining the best surface grinding wheels?
I went into Norton's web site to find I needed to choose between the following;
Wheel type,
Diameter,
Thickness,
Arbor size,
Surface Texture,
Grit,
Abrasive Material,
Norton Style,
Abrasive grade,
Bond,

Once you choose a category, there are sub-sections within each.
The first few are easy but when it gets into the details I get lost.
Thanks for the help.
Just trying to get educated.
 

Cadillac

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#2
I’ve found it’s like inserts. So many different flavors for different materials and purposes. When I watch videos or reading I write down notes when I come across information. I’m in the same scenario and information is all over the place depending on what’s being done.
I’d say a 7” wheel 1/2” thick is most common. My grinder can take a 8” and I have two 8” wheels but majority is 7’s. I have good luck at auctions as for wheels. Every time when I go the wall of grinding wheels never sell. So twice I’ve asked what you want for some wheels and one time he said 20 bucks take what you want. And the last time he said you want them take em. Now I have about 100 wheels majority never used and a handful that have radius and angles formed in them. Cut-off wheels,cupped wheels for face grinding, diamond wheels.
All I can suggest is watch some videos of some repeatable people and keep your ears open. One thing I remember is hard stuff= soft wheel and soft stuff= harder wheel. Meaning the glues used for making wheels. And fine grit wheels don’t mean fine finish always. You can get a nice fine finish with a 46 grit wheel. Heat is your enemy. I’m just as curious so I’m listening.
 

mmcmdl

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#3
Hi,
Can someone direct me to an easy to understand way of determining the best surface grinding wheels?
I went into Norton's web site to find I needed to choose between the following;
Wheel type,
Diameter,
Thickness,
Arbor size,
Surface Texture,
Grit,
Abrasive Material,
Norton Style,
Abrasive grade,
Bond,

Once you choose a category, there are sub-sections within each.
The first few are easy but when it gets into the details I get lost.
Thanks for the help.
Just trying to get educated.
Welcome to the grinding world . It's a simple game . What does your machine take and what are you grinding ? :)
 

Bob Korves

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#4
Welcome to the grinding world . It's a simple game . What does your machine take and what are you grinding ? :)
Dave is correct. Deal with each job as it comes for a beginner. In the meantime, learn the basics and ignore the fine differences and "special" wheels made to try to give makers a one source product. Try starting here:
https://www.georgiagrindingwheel.com/grindingwheels_basics.htm
and bookmark the page for future reference if you like it.
 

benmychree

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#5
Most f the auctions that I have seen, they remove all the wheels and discard them, it is An issue of liability in case somebody buys it and the wheel explodes and brings a lawsuit!
 

WCraig

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#6
Over 30 years ago, I did some work on the inventories at a grinding wheel manufacturing plant. As the OP noted, there are an immense number of combinations and permutations of size and composition that can go into a particular grinding wheel. As I recall, the same abrasive in a different bonding agent will perform entirely differently for a particular application. They could formulate a wheel for almost any specific use. Eg the wheel for grinding the flashing off train wheel castings would be very different from a wheel that does the final sharpening of HSS planer blades. And on and on.

The other thing was shelf life. In most manufacturing operations, if your product was over (say) 2 years old, it would be considered obsolete and written off. A grinding wheel, OTOH, is perfectly fine for many years as long as it is stored dry. And given the combinations above, somebody was likely to come along looking for that particular wheel...sooner or later!

Craig
 

Janderso

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#7
Most f the auctions that I have seen, they remove all the wheels and discard them, it is An issue of liability in case somebody buys it and the wheel explodes and brings a lawsuit!
Yeah but we live in California.
In the United States of America, it may be different.
OOPS is that political? I apologize.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#8
here is my 2 cents...

friable white grinding wheels are good for hard materials (hard steels)
semi-friable wheels in pink, brown,grey ,& red are used for grinding softer steels and other softer materials

aluminum oxide wheels are the most common
White and Pink are for hard steels
Ruby Red good for tool steels
Grey and Brown are the most commonly used for low to high carbon steel

Silicon Carbide wheels are Black and Green
Black is for non ferrous grinding- aluminum,brass, plastics,rubber, marble ,granite, etc.
green wheels are for hard materials- carbides,& titanium

Ceramic Blue and Pink are commonly used for tool steel and low carbon steels too

the hardness of the wheels are graded from a to z
A being the weakest grit bonding
Z being the strongest grit bond
F,G,&H grades are common for steels
I, J, K, are a medium bond
L, M, O are strong bonds

grit size
coarse 16-24 grit
medium 36-60 grit
fine 80-120 grit
super fine 150 and above
 
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Janderso

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#9
Thanks Mike, that simplifies things.
 

Technical Ted

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#10
The first wheel I bought for my SG was one that would serve as a general purpose wheel and also be a good selection for dusting my magnetic chuck. I decided on a 32A46-HVBE from Norton.

Personally, I don't think hobbyist needs to buy the perfect wheel for everything we grind. I would buy more general purpose type wheels and I think you'll be pretty well covered. At least that's what I'm doing. I have one for grinding softer type steels and one for more harder and harden steels.

Ted
 

Bob Korves

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#11
A good grinder hand can do good work with just about any wheel on steel. There are a lot of different variables from wheel speed to longitudinal speed, cross feed step over, depth of cut, coolant or not or which one, and each of them can make a noticable difference. It is truly an art. Something that is often said is hard wheels for soft metal, soft wheels for hard metal. A good grinder hand can get about as good of a finish with a coarse wheel as with a fine wheel. Amazingly, much of it is in the fine details of how and when the wheel is dressed. I sure wish I could learn all that knowledge gathered in a long career by watching a couple YouTube videos... ;)
 

Bob Korves

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#12
The first wheel I bought for my SG was one that would serve as a general purpose wheel and also be a good selection for dusting my magnetic chuck. I decided on a 32A46-HVBE from Norton.

Personally, I don't think hobbyist needs to buy the perfect wheel for everything we grind. I would buy more general purpose type wheels and I think you'll be pretty well covered. At least that's what I'm doing. I have one for grinding softer type steels and one for more harder and harden steels.

Ted
Good choice. I use that wheel often. Does not like to burn the steel, leaves a good finish, just works!
 

Janderso

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#13
Good information here.
I apologize for this redundant thread, I can only assume these questions come up often.
My God, there are thousands of choices.
You'all are helping me sift through the schlapump. (It's a saying my Swedish Grandmother use to say- shlaw-pump)

"The first wheel I bought for my SG was one that would serve as a general purpose wheel and also be a good selection for dusting my magnetic chuck. I decided on a 32A46-HVBE from Norton. "

And your go-to, medium and fine grinding wheels of choice? Or, can you use this wheel for multiple applications?
I assume 7" x 1/2" on all?
Thank you!
 

Janderso

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#14
In other words, is it possible to buy 2-3 wheels that will do a decent job across most applications.
As I become more proficient, these questions will be answered. I want to avoid buying wheels that will prove to be unusable. They aint cheap, I'll only buy good quality.
 

mmcmdl

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#15
That wheel will grind anything very nicely , other than carbide . Your green silican carbide wheels for carbide .
 

mmcmdl

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#16
In other words, is it possible to buy 2-3 wheels that will do a decent job across most applications.
As I become more proficient, these questions will be answered. I want to avoid buying wheels that will prove to be unusable. They aint cheap, I'll only buy good quality.
32A46 or 32A60 for 99% of steel etc . A silican carbide wheel for carbide . A diamond wheel for ceramics if you need it . Other than that , you're set . Nortons of course .
 

projectnut

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#17
The first wheel I bought for my SG was one that would serve as a general purpose wheel and also be a good selection for dusting my magnetic chuck. I decided on a 32A46-HVBE from Norton.

Personally, I don't think hobbyist needs to buy the perfect wheel for everything we grind. I would buy more general purpose type wheels and I think you'll be pretty well covered. At least that's what I'm doing. I have one for grinding softer type steels and one for more harder and harden steels.

Ted
I would also agree with Ted. One caution however is not all grinding wheels are created equal. Over the years I have tried a number of different brands and keep coming back to Norton and Carborundum. Mainly because I used Norton at work, and my grinder came with a few Carborundum wheels. Once you learn the properties of a particular brand or brands it will be easier to make choices as to which wheels of that brand will perform best on the materials you want to grind.

By saying " not all grinding wheels are created equal" I mean that although most manufacturers use a similar grading and adhesive identification system the end products are not identical. Wheels from different manufacturers carrying the same identifiers will not necessarily perform the same. A 32A46 wheel from Norton may not perform the same as a 32A46 wheel from CGW.

When you choose a wheel take notice of how it performs and how long it lasts on the material you're grinding. From that point you can determine whether a softer or harder wheel will give a more desirable finish and wheel longevity. You can move up and down the spectrum of that brand and expect nearly linear performance.
 

dlane

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#18
Jeff have you found a surface grinder ?, are you setting up shop somewhere?
 

chips&more

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#19
I have a white 36 grit on my surface grinder. It works just fine for everything I grind. Even to kiss the chuck. I have a hobby shop, not production, have not noticed any hindrance at all with using just the one grade/type wheel. And I have a diamond wheel but have not used it yet…Dave.
 

Janderso

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#20
Wow, 36 grit. You would think that would leave a rough surface.
 

Janderso

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#21

Bob Korves

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#22
I have found that the cheapest no name import wheels are not worth a damn. Out of balance, wobble, tend to burn the metal, just awful. Sometimes used wheels can also be out of balance from coolant settling down to one side and then drying there. If you are using coolant, let the spindle run for a few minutes after stopping the coolant to let it get thrown out of the wheel.
 

Technical Ted

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#23
"The first wheel I bought for my SG was one that would serve as a general purpose wheel and also be a good selection for dusting my magnetic chuck. I decided on a 32A46-HVBE from Norton. "

And your go-to, medium and fine grinding wheels of choice? Or, can you use this wheel for multiple applications?
I assume 7" x 1/2" on all?
Thank you!
I only use the one grit - 46. If I want a finer finish I will dress the wheel finer, take lighter cuts, use oil on the surface and a smaller feed rate across the surface. I have another wheel besides the above which is a Norton 38A46I8VBE and the only reason I have that is because I got it new when I bought my SG.

For my hobby work, the only reason I can see buying another wheel would be if I wanted to grind into a sharp corner or maybe needed to grind a radius. Then, a harder wheel would hold up better especially in the corners. I do have some worn Norton cup wheels that I plan on using for side grinding. They were discards at a place where I used to work, but will work well for side grinding on a SG (for my use anyways).

As I learn more, I might change my mind, but currently, the one wheel works fine for all my uses. Using the variables I mentioned above can get you very different results.

I actually think proper dressing is more important than wheel selection, but others with more experience might feel differently.

Ted
 

mmcmdl

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#24
I have found that the cheapest no name import wheels are not worth a damn. Out of balance, wobble, tend to burn the metal, just awful. Sometimes used wheels can also be out of balance from coolant settling down to one side and then drying there. If you are using coolant, let the spindle run for a few minutes after stopping the coolant to let it get thrown out of the wheel.
Yep . And when you start the wheel up , start the rotation of the wheel with your finger . The torque of the machine will sometimes throw the wheel out of balance . ( this is not a beginners practice , so take caution )
 

Bob Korves

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#25
Wow, 36 grit. You would think that would leave a rough surface.
Coarse wheels do not get filled up with swarf so easily. A really fine wheel fills up quickly, and then the swarf ruins the finish. With a coarse wheel and looking for a good surface finish, slow down the traverse and cross feed table feeds and speeds somewhat so the coarse grit has a chance to find all of the surface. The finish can be very good.
 
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Cadillac

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#26
Not to hijack the thread I think it’s relevant. How does one store their wheels? Mounted and unmounted?
Lay flat ,upright, peg board?
I have a decent amount of wheels new and used and right now I lay the unmounted flat. I have about six wheels mounted on hubs and I stand those upright. I don’t like it.
I’ve been pondering what type of storage to make for the wheels to keep them together and preferably something hanging on the wall. Now their just stacked in the grinders base cabinet and I don’t like that either. If something goes wrong with the coolant tank they’re in the line of fire.
Was thinking maybe a 8x6 box like 3’ tall. Shelves every 8” and adjustable and maybe make triangle horizontals pcs. to cup the radius of wheel so they don’t rock. Then maybe put a plexi glass door to keep it semi sealed? What do you guys do?
 

projectnut

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#27
I hang the wheels on a peg board by size and grit just like we did at work.. In total there are about 3 dozen wheels with many of them being multiples of the same grit and hardness. When hanging several wheels on one peg I put a piece of cardboard between them to keep them from banging into one another. Categorizing them with the labels in plain view makes it easier to find the correct one.

As for hubs I currently have only 1. It's an older Sopko without any internal balancing weights. Mine is a 7" machine and I've never had any trouble with wheel balance. Whenever I need to change wheels I leave the hub attached to the spindle and just replace the wheel. A quick dressing and on to the work.

As an FYI I always warm up the machine by leaving it run for a minimum of 10 minutes before starting to grind. This helps normalize the bearing temperatures and insure there will be no change in surface finish from the start of a job to the finish.
 

Cadillac

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#28
I have off today so I have some time in the garage. Just a example of grit and finish. Here’s some pics of a v block I’ve been doing. 46grit aluminum oxide. Don’t know if it’s right but that’s what I picked. First pic is manufacturer finish second and third are my finish.
8EE19764-8E80-4F50-BB52-CC42A178CAFE.jpeg
6C6372BF-ED97-43B2-AF17-4CC8F86CE3F7.jpeg 13E2D237-7A91-4611-8BE5-C62978EF3466.jpeg
All three taken with zoom on iPhone. Kind of hard to get the look but my finish has more of a reflective,polished look. Fingerprints make it look bad. Kind of funny looking at the pictures how grainy they all look but yet you don’t see that unless magnified. Smooth as glass.
 

Bob Korves

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#29
Not to hijack the thread I think it’s relevant. How does one store their wheels? Mounted and unmounted?
Lay flat ,upright, peg board?
I recently made 2 wall mounting boards for my grinding wheels out of plywood I had laying around and hung them behind my surface grinder. I put hardwood dowels covered with clear shrink tubing into holes drilled 7 degrees upward from horizontal to match the adapter taper and to help keep them from falling off. I put screws into the dowels from the back side of the boards to expand the dowels tightly into the plywood. The racks are hung with some galvanized sheet steel I had laying around. Zero money was spent on the project. Designed to use what I had on hand.

5 of the wheels on the rack have adapters mounted to them, they are my "go to" wheels for the time being. I have three more loose adapters I can use on wheels I think I will use much less often, can dress them round after mounting for each use, if and when needed. Seemed like the best solution for now without blowing the budget on wheel adapters. Overflow wheels, unmounted adapters, and other surface grinder accessories are kept in the carbide grinder stand that is opposite the surface grinder controls.

SAM_1896.JPG
SAM_1897.JPG
SAM_1898.JPG
SAM_1900.JPG
 

Janderso

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#30
Looks great Bob!
How do you center the adapters on the wheels?
Isn't there 1/8" adjustment?
 
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