I primarly use HSS toolbits in my lathe and over the weekend I
ground a number of HSS lathe bits. I use a Baldor carbide
grinder with Norton 32A46 plate mounted grinding wheel.
I find that I have to dress the wheel very frequently when grinding
tough toolbits like MoMax. I tried grinding a 1/2 inch square
stellite toolbit and it was taking forever to reshape a used toolbit.
I looked through J&L abrasive selection guide and they list
better grinding wheels for tool steels, but I cannot find any better
plate mounted grinding wheels. (I also looked at MSC). Any suggestions
on the best wheel to use for grinding HSS toolbits on a baldor carbide
As a side note, greee wheels are list as non-ferrous only and I had
a Norton 39C60 green wheel so I figured I would try it on the stellite
toolbit. It seemed slower than the 32A46. I was tempted to try my
diamond wheel but I was worried I would ruin it.
The best wheel would be a Borazon plated or resin bond similar to a
diamond wheel. But these are kind of pricey.
Because of the hardness of the HSS its going to wear the wheel down
regardless of the type. If the wheel is to hard your going to overheat
the HSS, to soft and you will be dressing every 2 minutes. You might
want to invest in a cheap 8" bench grinder and put a couple of toolroom
wheels on it to rough out the toolbits first before you finish the
angles on the baldor.
Charles A. Sherwood wrote:
I have not found any plate mounted wheels other than green or basic AO.
I would gladly pay for a hi tech abrasive wheel, like a 5SG, if
I could find one.
Interesting idea. I am not real good at free hand grinding toolbits
which is why I spent the bucks on the baldor. Of course I use the
baldor to rough out the toolbits before finishing them on the glendo!
Yes I need another tool. 8 inch grinder for me! thanks
I rough mine out on the 6x48 bench belt sander or the 12" disk. Works
fast and saves wheels. 30 grit gets the metal off quick.
That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's
cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays
- George Orwell
I don't know what the grades were, but most shops I've been in have two
for the grinding of HSS. One quite coarse for "roughing", and the second
quite a bit
finer for finish grinding.
Just keep in mind: Rough versus finish grinding
Hold on there. You're not allowed to use Orwell's quote because
it's obviously a reference to England, and non-applicable to US
constitutional law. All this 'flat' and 'labour' stuff is
*right* out. Please be so kind as to confine your OT RTKABA
stuff along a straight-arrow red, white, and blue trajectory
if you please.
Orwell's fame notwithstanding, of course.
please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com
Why? Before the Brits were neutered at birth, they used to be quite a
firearms owning lot. Its in the blood, given the rather large number
of Brit Ex-pats that I know here in the States that own quite a large
number of firearms.
Seems that the Crown was a bit worried about the Bolseviks gaining
favor in England and tossing them out on their asses, so they started
removing the guns from the commoners. Shrug..a lesson to the rest of
us about the dangers of being a subject, rather than a citizen.
That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's
cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays
- George Orwell
Do you dress because the wheel has quit cutting, or because it has broken
down too much and is rough?
I tried grinding a 1/2 inch square
Where did you locate Stellite toolbits? The only ones I've found in years
were on ebay. If you're not familiar with them, you're in for a treat.
They perform at a level near that of carbide. Haynes Stellite is tougher
at red heat than at room temp.
You are pretty much limited to an aluminum oxide wheel. For sure do not use
one made of silicon carbide.
I gather from your comments that you may not be using a hardness in keeping
with your requirements. The letter following your designation is all
important in that regard. If the wheel dulls up too quickly, the wheel is
too hard, so you should drop back a letter or two. If it seems to slough
off to quickly, go up a letter or two. (From J to L, for example).
Do not use silicon carbide or diamond wheels on steel. Steel has an
affinity for carbon, and at the high speeds wheels run, the reaction is
relatively fast. The diamond or silicon carbide dissolves into the steel,
dulling the grain very quickly. In spite of the fact that silicon carbide
is a lot harder than aluminum oxide, the dulling from dissolution makes the
wheel appear to not be as hard. I don't know that Stellite would behave
in a similar fashion, but I've ground it with aluminum oxide wheels with
great results. I think the wheel grade you're using is the bulk of your
A side note. I'm not all that nuts about using a 46 grit wheel for
sharpening toolbits, especially for finishing them. I'm inclined to run a
60 grit instead. It will cut slightly slower, and perhaps even a little
hotter, but the finish on the tool tends towards a much nicer one. Just
my personal choice, I don't mean to imply that should be good for everyone.
I dress the wheel because it quits cutting and just generates heat.
I run a diamond point across the wheel using the groove in the table
as a guide.
Nothing else to choose from.
MSC only lists these plate mounted grinding wheels: (Norton)
The 32A60J is great for finishing up or cleaning up a toolbit but
is much to fine for roughing out a blank toolbit.
Another approach may be required.
I have a Rockwell toolmakers grinder which will mount other wheel types.
I looked in catalogs last night and I can buy Norton 5SG grinding wheels
in type 5,6 or 12. Can I grind on the side of a type 5 wheel?? A type 5
wheel is a recessed wheel. I have tried grinding toolbits on this
machine and it does a great job, but it is much slower than a bench
Another approach is to buy a 8 inch bench grinder. Can I mount good
toolroom wheels on a bench grinder by making a spacer to fit the shaft
and the 1.25 inside diameter of the toolroom wheel? I can buy jet or
delta 8 inch grinder for about 150. Enco for about 50 and Baldor for 700.
I'm sure the baldor is wonderful, but 700 is pretty steep! Will I be
disappointed with the cheap enco grinder?
What do I need to get started with CBN. I looked in the catalog and
it seems that you need an expenive break type dresser to go along with
your expensive CBN wheel. It also said the wheel needs to be running
with less than 1 thou runout. How do you measure that? I sure ain't
going to touch my indicators to the front of a grinding wheel!
Thanks for the help
The SG wheel will last longer between dressings than a conventional wheel.
However, I agree with Gunner, a belt grinder is the ticket for roughing out
a tool bit or any other fast stock removal job. If you don't have one,
don't buy a bench grinder, buy a belt grinder instead as they are much more
versatile than any bench grinder.
I have a carbide grinder with the 32A60J wheel on it. It requires frequent
dressing and there is nothing you can do about it. But to save time and
wheel grit, I always rough out a bit on the belt grinder. These days, about
the only HSS lathe tools I use are form ground specials and grooving tools
made from HSS cutoff blades. Carbide inserts are the only way to go on the
lathe if your machine has sufficient rigidity and power.
I have a 1 inch kalamazoo belt sander. Will it do?
Belt grinders seem to be in a class of their own! (and price too).
I know nothing about belt grinders. What distinguishs them from a
That's a mistake. Unless you are grinding under power with complete flood
coolant, diamond dressed wheels are not to be used. Even on cutter
grinders, wheels are normally hand dressed with dressing sticks. Diamond
dressed wheels cut very hot. The ultra fine surface prepared by the diamond
tends to act like a bearing. Way too much of the wheel surface is in
contact at all times because it is so smooth. If you insist on using a
diamond to get the wheel smooth, follow up with a roughing pass with a hand
dressing stick. NOT the solid boron carbide kind, the ones that measure
1/4" x 1/2" x 3". These do about the same thing to you wheel as a diamond
once they start to get dull. Use the 1" square variety that are comprised
of fused bits. They tend to keep sharp by constantly exposing new corners
of the abrasive. This alone will make a huge difference in how well the
I'd be using the 60J in a heart beat, and dressing it properly, assuming you
wanted to stick with the grinder you're using, and I, too, was going to
stick with it.
Truth be known, there's no way in hell I'd sharpen toolbits that way. I
use a chest high pedestal mounted wheel with no tool rest. I have available
to me any wheel configuration imaginable because I use 7" x 1/2" x 1-1/4"
toolroom wheels. You have total freedom to grind angles and chip breakers
with no obstructions. It's a learned thing, very uncomfortable at first,
but the best thing going once mastered.
When it is diamond dressed, I fully agree with you. Otherwise, I do not.
Truth be known, you can grind on the sides of most any wheel, so long as you
don't apply excessive pressure. Light hand pressure does no harm, but
think of a guy with a large weldment pushing against the side of a wheel
that is fragile and the part is bouncing. That's where you get wheels
coming apart. A type 5 is intended to be used on the periphery normally,
but a type 6 or 12 is obviously intended to be used in a combination of
ways, with the majority of the pressure applied to the side of the wheel,
especially in the type 12 wheel. Truthfully, none of them would lend
themselves well to sharpening tools unless you were moving the tool past the
wheel much the same way one would do using a cutter grinder. I'd stick
with a pedestal grinder otherwise.
I can't speak for your choice, but I've sharpened my HSS and brazed carbide
toolbits on a custom built pedestal grinder described above since 1967 and
have had outstanding success. The grinder has two arbors, one on each end
of the 1/2 horse 3,600 RPM motor, which is reversible, one side has a
permanently mounted diamond wheel for brazed carbide, the other accepts the
toolroom wheels I mentioned. The motor was an old one my father gave me,
likely out of the mid 40's. Originally came from Sears. Considering
how we use these things, it might be worth a shot at the Enco machine.
Still, all you really need is the motor if you follow my design. You'd have
to abandon everything already on the one you'd buy except for the shields
otherwise. That's a call you have to make.
Very sorry to say I have zero experience with CBN wheels. When I closed the
doors on my (commercial) shop there were no such thing, and I have yet to
find a real need to explore them. I can only assume that when it comes
time to mount such a wheel, just like with diamond use, you'd have to
sacrifice a contact point, turning the wheel very slowly by hand, and
minimizing the wear. Or, you could carefully cover the wheel face with
"Scotch" tape, which is very consistent for thickness. Overlap the tape,
then make a clean cut with a sharp razor, leaving a single layer all around
the wheel. Requires a very clean wheel surface to be successful. My
personal opinion is that unless you're doing this for a living, you don't
really have to go to CBN wheels. The simple act of learning to dress your
wheels properly will make a huge difference in the outcome of your work.
Sorry I'm not more help.
Belt sanders are a good way to move the metal, but a terrible way to sharpen
any cutting tool because of the fact that they round corners. That has the
effect of leaving a tool with little to no relief where you need it most,
right at the cutting edge. . You're also limited to the nature of the
grind, unlike a wheel. If you use your 1" belt, make sure you follow up
with a wheel for that sharp edge needed for good performance. You'll be
able to see the rounding effect left by the belt when you do, and it will be
obvious when you can quit grinding with the wheel as a result.
I check mine at zero speed (manual rotation) and interpose a
piece of VCR tape.
If you're a bit ham handed and want to be doubly safe use two
thicknesses of tape.
The tape thickness is remarkably consistent and a single old
video cassette yields several lifetimes supply!
If you need to know the exact tape thickness keep folding and
doubling a length of tape until you've got 64 or 128 layers to yield a
convenient thickness to mic.
Which Stellite are you refering to here, Harold? I ask because I
snagged a bunch of Stellite #6 TIG rods. I have yet to try them for
lathe bits but that sounds like a deficiency I should correct. :-)
However, I have used them for some interesting apps. I'll list three:
Build up a blob on the end of a piece of re-bar and shape it to a
center punch point in the lathe with a carbide cutter. After a little
use it has dulled but since the stuff work hardens, I just re-point it
(gently) and that point lasts ages in hard use. I have used it as one
usually uses a center punch but also for hot work and center punching
concrete for anchor bolt holes.
I made a cold/hot chisel by the above procedure. Works very well.
Loaned it to a friend to knock knobs off concrete. When he returned it,
it was still quite sharp and has no chipping on the edge.
I have an older but perfectly serviceable (except for one problem)
electric stove. The contacts on the plug-in elements are a bullet
copper cylinder molded onto the end of the wire that sticks out of the
connector end of the elements. The copper corodes slightly, contact
resistance increases, more heat is generated, corrosion rate increases,
even more heat is generated, ..., connector mounted on stove top fails.
I managed to score one of the last stove top connectors for this model
captivity - mfr wants you to replace element AND connector with "new"
expensive style. My fix: melt off copper "bullet", build up Stellite
bullet, grind to final shape. Clean contacts on stove top connectors
re-install all. Fix was done in '96 - all contacts are still bright and
As usual, I'll jump in on this statement. If you have sufficient
rigidity and power to take heavy cuts at high speed, carbide inserts are
the way to go when standard shapes will do. The converse as stated
above is false. I use carbide inserts for most of my turning and am
quite pleased with the results. This is on a Smithy 3-in-1. While I
quite like the machine and can get it to do what I want, it certainly
does not have a great deal of either rigidity or power.
Ted and I have been at odds on occasion, and this is likely one of the
subjects that could easily be debated between us. In retrospect, I'd like
to say that what Ted says is pretty much on target. When I clear my mind
from my years of commercial machining, I think the only fair statement I
would make regards using carbide on light duty machines is that you are not
realizing the full capability of the carbide, simply because it is capable
of so much more than the machine can provide. On a minor note, carbide
can perform at a lower level when not run at proper speeds, but it would be
highly unlikely that the average guy would recognize the difference.
Often, even in the commercial shops, only when running a production job
repeatedly do you start realizing that certain choices of carbide and
different speeds and feeds make a difference. Based on that, I'm
inclined to fully agree with Ted. Carbide inserts can be useful on small
The one negative is that many substitute the learning curve of hand grinding
toolbits, so they are for ever handicapped in that regard. I strongly
recommend one learn to grind high speed toolbits, no matter the equipment at
hand, unless running CNC, where hand ground tools are not necessarily in
anyone's best interest under production situations, anyway.
I'm not sure I know enough about Stellite cutting tools to answer that, Ted.
The only thing I know is that at one time I had a piece that was used as a
parting tool and I was shocked at the performance. This was MANY years
ago, when I was employed in a large shop, where I got my training. I
recall leaving the tool in a setup that was being run on both shifts and
never seeing it again, nor any other like it.
Only recently did I run across more Stellite in the way of cutting tools,
when I bid on, and was successful, on eBay. The only problem was that the
guy listing the short pieces, ends left after a custom tool had been made,
said they were longer by 1/2" than they were. The pieces I received are
still long enough to be used, but certainly not long enough to make a good
parting tool, which would have been one of my choices.
On the shanks that I received, which are 1/2" square and 2-7/16" long on the
average, all are marked "Haynes Stellite Alloy 98M2". Means nothing to
me, but apparently they had more than one alloy.
A point of interest. Included in the Stellite lot were a couple other
pieces, same size, remnants that had also been cut with a parting wheel on a
cutter grinder, both marked Vascoloy-Ramet Tantung G. Leads one to
believe that it shares similar, if not equal, qualities. I have yet to
use any of the toolbits for lack of need, so I can't report further.
Sorry to be so late getting back to this, Ted. I had apparently removed
the mark I had left on the thread and stumbled across your post strictly by
accident tonight when I was checking to see if I had missed anything.