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Grinder for lathe cutters

Discussion in 'A BEGINNER'S FORUM (Learn How To Machine Here!)' started by ttabbal, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    So, I want to make bits. I have a harbor freight bench grinder. Not a great tool to be sure, but can it be made usable?

    I've seen the threads talking about modifications to a belt sander. That's another option. Any suggestions on what to look for?
     
  2. darkzero

    darkzero Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Sure you can if that's all you have for now. But it would be best to get some quality grinding stones for it. The majority of bench grinders come stock with crappy stones. That's usually what makes them vibrate like crazy.

    I wish HF still sold their tool grinder, they used to only be $130 & with a 20% off coupon you could get it for $104 + tax. Every time I think about it I regret not getting one at the time!
     
  3. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. The HF tool grinder looks like it was a pretty good deal.

    My bench grinder does vibrate pretty good, and the stone that HF included is probably just good enough to usually not explode when you turn it on. :) Can someone recommend a decent brand that doesn't break the bank?

    I imagine I would have to freehand it or add a decent rest for the workpiece. The bit of angle iron that appears to just barely qualify as metal isn't very good at staying put.
     
  4. mikey

    mikey Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Tell you what I would do. If I was going to use the grinder only for lathe tools, I would consider CBN wheels. Of course, they're expensive. If I was going to use abrasive wheels then I would contact Norton and ask them what wheels they would recommend. I mean, they make em', right? They should know. Wheels are more fragile than most of us think and when we go putting out body weight behind a tool to get it to cut then we are subjecting that wheel to more force than it was intended to take. Better to get the right wheel material in the right grit for the purpose - Norton will know.

    On the other hand, a belt sander cuts cooler, faster and flatter. Belts are cheap, do not require dressing and do not blow up (but they can snap if they're old). It takes seconds to change belt grits and you're back to grinding and you can take a tool from shaping to a near mirror finish in under 15 minutes without significantly changing it's shape.

    I have ground tools for well over 25 years, on bench grinders and belt sanders. While I am definitely in the minority among hobby guys, I much prefer a belt sander for tool grinding.
     
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  5. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    I like the look of using a belt sander for this. Do you have suggestions for things to look for in a good tool for the job?
     
  6. mikey

    mikey Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    There we have a problem. I have an old Sears 2 X 42, 1/2HP belt sander that works well for me. It is still sold but uses a 1/3HP motor that bogs down sanding wood. If you ever see a 1/2HP version, grab it. Short of a 2 X 72 grinder, it is the best tool grinder I know of. It has a squarish motor housing and looks like this:

    Sears-Craftsman-Model-351215420-Tabletop-2-x-42.jpg

    A belt sander for tool grinding must have:
    • Full and unobstructed access to the right side of the platen. There cannot be ANYTHING in the way; this includes covers or structures or housing or anything. The reason is that the back rake angle on your tool is ground on the right side and edge of the platen so that area must be clear.
    • The platen must be removable/replacable and very solidly mounted to the chassis. In use, the platen cannot flex so platens that mount on only on end (like those seen on 1" belt sanders) will not work.
    • The platen should be very flat and long lasting. I use a piece of O-1 precision ground steel to which I epoxy a ceramic glass (Pyroceram) liner for use as a platen. This platen is attached to an angle iron piece that bolts to the chassis of the grinder. In use, there is zero flex and the glass liner stays flat under heavy grinding for many years.
    • You must have a tool rest that is solid and unyielding but is quickly adjustable to precise angles. It should be made of steel so the work piece does not drag or catch. A protractor slot is optional and sometimes useful.
    Finding a belt sander that meets these criteria has proven to be difficult. I recently spotted a little Grizzly sander that might work. It uses 25" long belts so I suspect belt life and availability may be an issue but you can see it here:
    http://www.grizzly.com/products/Combo-Belt-Sander-Grinder/H7760

    It is a 1/2HP model and you can even mount a 6" wheel on it. I don't know how it will work but with the cover removed, the platen is exposed on the right side. The platen is removable and the work table locking bolt is up front so that a custom table could be built. I don't know what the belt housing is made of but if it is steel then its possible to cut and extend it to accommodate a longer belt. This is the only belt sander I have seen that meets my criteria and I'm waiting to either see a review or if Amazon will carry it so I can get it with free shipping. If I buy it, I'll definitely review it here.

    Sorry I don't have better news. If you can afford to build a 2x72 belt sander then that would be ideal.
     
  7. Rockytime

    Rockytime United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have a HF 6" bench grinder that I use. I use a Norton aluminum oxide wheel along with one of the original wheels. I did make precision washers as well as wheel reducers to replace the loose fitting plastic ones. Vibration is fairly soft now. Most importantly is the tool rest. I use a Veritas tool rest which Is pretty good. I'm 79 sand if I were 10 years younger I would use CBN wheels on a Baldor grinder. If I were 10 years younger I would spring for a new DM 13" lathe. I have sharpened on my HF belt sander but belt changing is a pain and it rattles. Bearings are probably going out, it's very noisy. Mikey has some great advise! 2-20170911_165415.jpg 1-20170911_165432.jpg 3-20170911_165449.jpg 2-20170911_165415.jpg 1-20170911_165432.jpg 3-20170911_165449.jpg
     
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  8. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    Thanks for the pics and mentioning the tool rest. It looks like a reasonably priced and functional unit. I might have to pick one up.
     
  9. Aaron_W

    Aaron_W United States Active Member Active Member

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    Mikey, I kept looking around for 2" belt sanders after your comments in my similar post a few weeks back. I found one by Palmgren that looks similar to the Grizzly you found, but uses 2x42 belts instead of 2x27. The small belts was one possible drawback you noted with the Grizzly.

    Unfortunately seems to be online only so again not easy to find a physical example to look at. All the photos also appear to be the same stock photo from the left side so not terribly useful for determining how easily it could be made to work for tool sharpening. Unlike the Grizzly the Palmgrens appear to be available, I even saw them listed at Tractor Supply for online purchase.

    https://www.amazon.com/Palmgren-Belt-bench-finishing-machine/dp/B0006577HI
     
  10. mikey

    mikey Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Yeah, saw that one. It's basically the Sears belt sander under a different brand. It is a 1/3HP grinder and trust me, I can stop the motor dead just grinding wood. I own the 1/3HP Sears model and it will not grind tool steel without bogging down. My old belt sander is 1/2HP and it is vastly superior, although the chassis is the same.
     
  11. Rockytime

    Rockytime United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Hi Mikey, I'm bidding on a Craftsman like yours. It is an older unit looking exactly like yours but it is a 1" belt. I now have three belt sanders, a HF, 1" sander from MSC purchased years ago and a 4" Craftsman mostly used for sharpening wood turning tools. Not sure If I'll win the bis or not but worth trying.
     
  12. mikey

    mikey Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Good luck, Les! The only difference between the 1" and 2" models are the wheels. If you win it and wish to use 2" wide belts, Sears still carries the wheels for their 1/3 HP model sander so you can just change them and use 2" wide belts. You can certainly grind tool bits on a 1" belt but the 2" belt gives you more stroke and they last longer since you aren't concentrating all the cutting in a small space.

    My brother owns a 1/2HP, 1" sander like the one you're going to win. He doesn't know it yet but if my sander ever dies, his is coming to my house!
     
  13. Aaron_W

    Aaron_W United States Active Member Active Member

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    Good to know, I was considering it as a future purchase. I find it really odd how difficult it is to find an adequate belt sander for this purpose since it does seem to be a better way to grind tools. Even that Grizzly that might work seems to be hard to get.
    Unless I get lucky and stumble onto an old Sears sander like yours on ebay or a garage sale, it may become a future DIY project.
     
  14. mikey

    mikey Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Look hard, Aaron, look really, really hard for one. They are good sanders, which is why they're so rare on the used market. Lots of newbie knifemakers own them. Your best bet is some guy who doesn't know what he has.
     
  15. pious_greek

    pious_greek United States Iron Registered Member

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  16. Aaron_W

    Aaron_W United States Active Member Active Member

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    That is what I decided to do. I went with the Rikon 1hp grinder with the idea of upgrading to cbn wheels down the road.
    I just got it and haven't had a chance to use it yet, I haven't even been home since it was delivered so can't offer any opinion of it.
     
  17. ericc

    ericc United States Active User Active Member

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    Do these Rikon grinders have guards? I think they wouldn't be safe with conventional wheels.
     
  18. Aaron_W

    Aaron_W United States Active Member Active Member

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    Stock they do come with covers, and tool rests. The ones Woodturners offers for use with wide CBN wheels do not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  19. mikey

    mikey Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If I was to buy one, I would email Ken Rizza and discuss it with him regarding grits he recommends for shaping and finishing. I would also buy wheels without a radius on the corners for tool grinding; you need a sharper edge to grind the rake angles.
     
  20. ezduzit

    ezduzit United States Active User Active Member

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    Picked this up in like new condition for $600.

    [​IMG][/url][/IMG] [​IMG][/url][/IMG] [​IMG]
     
  21. Z2V

    Z2V United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    That's a sweet deal there. What maybe 3hp? Probably 3 ph? You stole that for 6
     
  22. ezduzit

    ezduzit United States Active User Active Member

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    Single phase.
     
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  23. Z2V

    Z2V United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Even Sweeter!!!
    Great find, I can never get that lucky
     
  24. ch2co

    ch2co United States Grumpy Old Man H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Mmmm Baldor, me likes Baldor.
    Great buy, congrats.
     

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