A cylindrical grinder is a precision engineering machine tool that is used to shape the outside surface of an object. The surface may be, profiled or stepped, tapered or straight. A cylindrical grinder is not unlike a lathe in operation as it rotates the object requiring grinding around a central axis. However, instead of cutting the metal, as in a lathe, the machine uses a rotating grinding wheel to grind away the excess metal from the rotating object.
In a similar way to a lathe, the object to be ground can be held in a precision chuck. This can be a 3-jaw, self-centring chuck, or a 4-jaw, or even 6-jaw, independently adjusted chuck, a collet chuck, magnetic chuck, or a dead centre. In this kind of setup the work remains stationary, though rotating, in respect to the grinding wheel, and the grinding wheel is able to traverse along a fixed bed. The grinding wheel can also be fed in on the opposite axis towards and away from the work piece.
It is necessary that the abrasive component, the grinding wheel, is harder than the work piece. The most common in use is a synthetic compound made from aluminium oxide, mostly used on ferrous metals, though silicon carbide, cemented carbide, cubic boron nitride, and industrial diamond are used also.
Cylindrical grinding has similarities to centreless grinding. In this grinding method there is no chuck or spindle holding and securing the work piece. Instead the work piece is balanced on a work rest blade, and two rotating wheels, a grinding wheel and a control wheel (made of a rubber bonded material), rotating in the same direction, but at different speeds, determine the rate of metal removal from the work piece. Centreless grinding offers greater flexibility in many ways.
Metal working requiring extreme precision engineering is best achieved with a cylindrical grinder; no other machine tool can equal the level of precision obtained. It is used extensively in the automotive industry for this reason, as well as for military requirements, and many other situations where absolute precision is essential.
West Midlands Grinding can offer a unique cylindrical grinding service to businesses with precision engineering surface grinding needs. We make products to custom requirements, such as bolts, screws, bars, rods, taper dowels, pivot pins, shafts, and more. We can grind materials as diverse as steel, copper, bronze, brass, aluminium, zinc, titanium, boron, tungsten, graphite, plastic, glass and even wood.