Having eventually sorted out which mill to buy I'm now short of
something to "collect", my thoughts have turned to a small Surface
Grinder (Eagle?), but do I need one? Do those of you lucky enough to
own one use it very often or is it an ornament in the corner? Would I
be better getting a Tool and Cutter grinder first as I still haven't
built one. As always any advice would be most appreciated.
Oh you do have a lot of money to spend? Then buy one. But as long as you
don't have the basic tools (drillpress, mill, lathe, shaper) what for do
you need the surface grinder for?
I have one since nearly two weeks. It is an ornament at a *prominent*
place, because it needs some work to work well.
Go to the T&CG and give him the money. Owning a T&CG isn't enough, it
takes a lot of experience to set it up, sharpening tools is time
consuming. I still think about building a Quorn, but just for special
I pay EUR 5 for a mill to sharpen at my grinding shop. And even as I
don't have that much money to spend, I think the prize is OK.
Now you might ask why I bought the surface grinder.
I stumbled over it and it came with me for EUR 400.- I couldn't resist,
also because it was a vew days after my birthday. :-)
I do have some use of it, but rarely.
Opinions will vary on this one :-))
If you have a regular use for a surface grinder, then go for it, but I have a
feeling that many who have one only rarely use it, but when it is used it is
T&C grinders are far more useful, but if you are a replaceable tip person then
again it is just an ornament.
We have a Clarkson Mk1 T&C grinder with the reamer/drill/tap sharpening
attachment, which we 'will' use eventually!
Peter & Rita Forbes
I have a small grinder, Dronsfield Eagle Mk2, and find it very useful.
It doesn't take up much space (single garage shared with the wifes
laundry) and i've used it quite a lot since I had it.
I re-ground the saddle on my ML7, together with the gib strips and
saddle strips, resurfaced the boring table then the base of the
dovetails before scraping them back in, ground flats on hard ejector
pins for a fixture I made,and have quite a few other little jobs lined
up for it.
When I get one of the Stevenson ER spin indexers I intend to use it to
do a little bit of basic cylindrical grinding on it too.
I have a 0.040" elastic wheel that can be used to quickly cut-off
hardened stock once I turn up some new thicker wheel spacers to clamp
it on the arbor. It's a very useful workshop toy really
The only downside is that I have no dust extraction and I have to
cover everything else in the workshop before I use it, and be careful
about cleaning up the dust afterwards.
I do like a ground finish on a job, but that's because I've got so
used to it on just about every surface of the mould tools I've been
involved with for the last 30 years.
My grinder was old when Gods Dog was a puppy and has a little bit of
concave wear in the middle, so I can only get as flat as half a thou'
or so on longer items, but thats usually more than good enough for
what I need.
I treated myself to a Beacon Superior a couple of years ago. (Eagle/Capco
size) I also got a DCE Autodrytex dust extractor because I didn't fancy me
or my tackle eating dust. I don't regret it at all and the finish is very
satisfying. I looked at the crank webs for my Dad's Clayton for example
and thought 'did we make those'.
On the cutter grinder front, he has a TCG so I can nip down to use it.
Thanks guys, as always a good spread of opinion to inspire a bit of
thought. Certainly appears to fit in the "nice to have" bracket. As
usual I hadn't considered the mess it might produce and am concerned
that my little Westfield might not be improved by being covered in
grinding dust. Still if Peter can keep it off the wife's washing I
suppose I can keep it off a car. As Steve says I'll need to look into a
Funny how I was paranoid about wear in a secondhand milling machine but
hadn't given it a thought for a grinder. Would Peter N's experience of
"half a thou" wear be typical or should I look out for much worse?
As Peter F says I have an inkling that this might join the pile of "I
will use it - sometime" machines but I do like a good finish. Will a
single phase grinder produce a decent finish? My only experience at
evening classes some years ago was on three phase machines and one of
those was distinctly worse than the others when it came to quality of
Some interesting points re the T&CG, I think I would take the pay a
professional sugesstion that Nick made if I was located somewhere near
a suitable company. Sharpening drills/endmills etc is not a science
that particularly interests me but to be able to do it must be
pleasing. A little more cogitation required I think.
Thanks again to all
Finish is down to choosing the right wheel, balancing it properly,
ensuring that the motor and pullies are balanced so as not to
introduce vibration, and that the wheel spindle bearings are correctly
adjusted. All these factors make a vast difference to surface finish.
A lot of surface grinders have plain bearings for the main spindle,
and these need to come up to temperature if working to fine
tolerances - leave the machine running and reciprocating 'in air' for
an hour or so before use.
Personally I am only happy surface grinding when using coolant - it
keeps the nasty dust well under control and keeps the work at an even
temperature. Although I do have a dust extractor plumbed to my J&S 540
I try at all costs to avoid dry grinding.
i'd like to ask a question ! ive recently seen a boxford t n c grinder
it came with a wheel extension and magnetic base so it could also b
used for surface grinding ! are these any good ? ive sharpened a fe
cutters back in my apprentice days , but am wondering how good th
machine would be for surface grinding ? (apart from size limitations !
Mine is single phase at the moment as I didn't have 3 -phase in the
workshop when I bought and I swopped the motor over.
However, I get some very faint surface patterning that I'm convinced
is down to the single phase motor pulses so I'm going to refit the
original 3-phase motor and drive it from the converter to see if it
makes a difference.
The surface grinder mentioned here
still available and more than likely will probably be open to
is still available and more than likely will probably be open to
Peter/Andrew thanks for the info it always helps with a decision.
Peter, thanks but I'm not sure I'm ready to jump just yet but if the
fog clears I'll get back to you. When I was working the dream was
retire to "wine and roses" and do just what you want all day. The truth
is run about like a "blue........... " well you know what all day and
getting nowhere. Several (many) weeks ago JG was giving me some advice
on how to set up a newreader, just an hours job. I just haven't had
time to do even that yet. Retirement, I 've never worked so bl***y
hard. Off now to pick up son from hospital, then there's a funeral to
go to then tomorrow........... well if there is enough time I might
just get a few minutes to visit this forum.
Andrew, the J&S 540 seems quite popular but varies in price greatly. I
had thought of a simple hand operated machine like Peter's eagle. Is
there any great advantage to the powered table considering that it will
only get limited (very at the moment) use. I'm also starting to get a
bit tight for room is there a great difference in size?
Run ragged of Wales
> is still available and more than likely will probably be open to
For several years I had an Eagle hand operated machine with no coolant
facilities. Did some good work on it but it was quite a chore -
eventually automated it with landrover windscreen wiper motors which
made things better. When I got the J&S540 it was like chalk and
cheese. Hydraulic feed is so much smoother than hand feed, and also it
can be left to get on with things while I am occupied elsewhere. I now
find I use the machine far more as not only is it far less of a manual
chore but the accuracy and finish attainable are much better. 540s
used to command huge prices but in recent years ebay has seen some
apparently good machines go for peanuts.
That's kind of what I intend to do with mine. It's a pain cranking the
table back and forth. At least it has an automatic feed for the side.
Having once worked (just 1 day) on a fine "Jung" with all the feed bells
and whistles ...
Talking to a dealer a few weeks ago, he says the drop in prices is
largely because of changes in the export market.
He reckoned that not many months ago he could get £1k for a 540 in
almost any condition for export, but that suddenly stopped.
One point no-one has mentioned, so far as I've seen, is that there is
a certain amount of overlap between T&C and surface grinders. You can
do some tool grinding on a surface grinder (sharpening endmills is a
prime example) and small surface grinding jobs on a T&C grinder.
Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs
Vintage diesel engine service
J&L do jigs that will fit on a surface grinder. There's a neat one
that uses 5c collets to hold the cutter vertically to sharpen the end,
and another that does the flutes. take a look on thier web site. If
I get round to re-wiring my 540 to single phase I'd like to get one.