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Thread: Has anyone made a DIY surface grinder?

  1. #1
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    Has anyone made a DIY surface grinder?


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    It is one of the tools I would like to have, but I have neither the space or money to buy an actual surface grinder. What I was thinking is to possibly pick up a used cross slide table and magnetic chuck, I have seen both for sale for a reasonable price, and setting it up so I can use the 8" contact wheel on my belt grinder.

    I know it wouldn't be as precise as an actual surface grinder, but it would be better than how I clean up the surface of my steel now. I would also have to make it so the table could be moved out of the way when grinding out a blade, but the floor where I am setting up is nice and level and baby's butt smooth so as long as I take the time to set it up right I should be able to stay consistent.

    Can anyone see any real problems with this or how it could cause problems with my grinder? Because the last thing I want to do is screw up my grinder. I really wish I had my computer here so I could draw up what I am thinking of doing
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  3. #3
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    I saw that one, but didn't realize that it was Indian George's. that one is more of a stand alone set up, what I am thinking of is more of a modular design that will attach to my existing GIB with a modified tooling arm to drop the 8" wheel down so that I wouldn't have any slack belt touching it.
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  4. #4
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    you would have to make the table or wheel travel up and down to be able to control the thickness. you could mount your contact wheel on a floating bracket to have some adjustment and use a dial indicator to measure your depth of cut. think i just got an idea.

  5. #5
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    I am thinking more along the lines of having the table move up and down as apposed to the contact wheel. I don't need a lot of up and down travel, the thickest steel I would work with is 1/4", and allowing for clearance I am thinking a total of 3/4"-1" of up and down travel would have me covered for what I would use it for. My thoughts on raising and lowering the table are with a piece of heavy threaded rod to a table with 4 guide legs to keep everything lined up with no twisting and a cross slide table mounted to that for the X and Y axis.

    I am fortunate enough to have some 3D modeling software on my computer so I could mock everything up on the computer to test that way before investing in anything. Unfortunately my computer is on a moving truck right now so I wont have access to it for a little bit longer.

    My other option is to break down and just buy a used surface grinder and recondition it, but that causes problems with my space issues. I am setting up shop in a small garage that will have a car parked in it when I am not working so there has to be room for the car.
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  6. #6
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    http://www.usedequip.com/q/nlist/=,008566,20178368

    This type is pretty common and cheap, fairly small too - table top, or use the cabinet stand.

  7. #7
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    The magic of a surface grinder isn't in moving X or Y, but rather Z. Moving up or down 2 tenths (.0002") is how you get nice, even surfacing. Moving back and forth dozens of times, slowly raising the material in smaller increments than a threaded rod could likely provide.
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  8. #8
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    I am in the same boat! Even 3 feet of workbench space for a 6x12 grinder would be an issue.

    I have been thinking of trying to make SOMETHING for my KMG.

    Travis Weurtz is working on a surface grinder attachment for the TW90 - I'm holding out in hopes of seeing how he did it before trying to make my own. Supposedly it will be public at BLADE - which is less than a month away...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaph1 View Post
    The magic of a surface grinder isn't in moving X or Y, but rather Z. Moving up or down 2 tenths (.0002") is how you get nice, even surfacing. Moving back and forth dozens of times, slowly raising the material in smaller increments than a threaded rod could likely provide.
    I know what you mean, and I do have some experience using surface grinders, hence the reason I want one. I know saying threaded rod is the wrong term, but I have a mental block on the proper name for the heavy square threaded rods used in machinery. I would also be able to create, from miscellaneous bike parts, a gear reduction that would allow fine adjustments on the Z axis. What sort of reduction would depend on the pitch of the rod's thread.

    Keep in mind all this planning and design is to work out the kinks and decide if it is doable, and able to meet the specs I want. I also found a used Eclipse Surface Grinder for $200 that apparently "runs well" and if it does, I don't think I can buy the materials to make my own for less.
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  10. #10
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    Interesting thread, I have been looking into surface grinders and mills as a way to improve my quality and increase production. I'm still learning, I have no machining experience or knowledge to speak of.

    Will the surface grinder be mostly used for making knives and scales flat?

    Can they grind a bevel? It would be nice to use one on my thicker knives to reduce the stock in the bevel area before I start hand grinding them.
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  11. #11
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    For me it would be used to surface the steel I buy to save so wear and tear on my elbows, and to occasionally thin out some flat bar. As much as I would like to start forging, my elbows are bad enough that I don't think I can without the help of a power hammer or press. I think you could in a round about way use it to grind bevels but a 72"X2" grinder would be better or a milling machine if you know how.
    If you are playing life on easy, you are never going to win when it counts
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  12. #12
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    Old used surface grinders are cheap and plentiful. I bought mine for $700, 13-14 years ago and it's worked like a charm. I'd rather build knives than machines.
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  13. #13
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    Yes that $200 one I found is really tempting as long as it works, but then I have to find a place for it. I am going to go take a look at it next week and get some measurements to see if I can squeeze it in to the area.

    I do like to tinker and create though and that is why I was thinking of a DIY surface grinder. Another thing I would like to add to my power tool collection is a mini mill. I think that would be very handy not only for knife making but a bunch of the other things I dream up as well.
    If you are playing life on easy, you are never going to win when it counts
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  14. #14
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    Great thread. I was just looking at trying to find one when I saw this.

    Don.. you haven't tried finding things in Canada.. nothing is cheap and plentiful.

    $200 for that one, I would snag it right away.. It wouldn't take much to modify that to a belt system if you wanted. Heck, for $200 buy it and I'll take it... hmm, I guess shipping from Ontario would cost a little..

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by unky_gumbi View Post
    I know what you mean, and I do have some experience using surface grinders, hence the reason I want one. I know saying threaded rod is the wrong term, but I have a mental block on the proper name for the heavy square threaded rods used in machinery. I would also be able to create, from miscellaneous bike parts, a gear reduction that would allow fine adjustments on the Z axis. What sort of reduction would depend on the pitch of the rod's thread.

    Keep in mind all this planning and design is to work out the kinks and decide if it is doable, and able to meet the specs I want. I also found a used Eclipse Surface Grinder for $200 that apparently "runs well" and if it does, I don't think I can buy the materials to make my own for less.
    I'd buy that

    Just a used magnet and diamond & holder is well worth the $
    let alone a working machine-even if you need to change a bearing or something.

  16. #16
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    This is what I have been using for the last 6 years.

    http://jmoyerknives.com/surfacegrinding.html
    Last edited by jim moyer; 05-24-2011 at 07:48 AM.

  17. #17
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    I should have the first run of 20 surface grinding attachments back from CNC by June 1st. I may post some videos before the since they will be functionally identical to the prototype I made and have been using. Either way I will post videos before BLADE, my prototype is the same as I will be releasing just not as pretty since I machined it and didn't mess with some of the more cosmetic aspects.

  18. #18
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    Sorry for the bad link, thanks Robert for bringing it to my attention.

    http://jmoyerknives.com/surfacegrinding.html
    Last edited by jim moyer; 05-24-2011 at 07:54 AM.

  19. #19
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    One important consideration is he accordion swarf/dust guards. You do *not* want fine metal dust and swarf getting in your ball screws.

  20. #20
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    still bad

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