Things You Should Do Before Surface Grinding

Surface grinding is a process used to create a smooth finish on any flat surface. This abrasive machining process is used everywhere. It involves a spinning wheel, better known as a grinding wheel, which cuts chips of a substance from a workpiece, to make it smooth or flat.

What is A Surface Grinder?

Majority of grinding operations involve surface grinding. It is a finishing process that makes use of a rotating abrasive wheel in order to smoothen the flat surface of any material to give them a more refined look.

In some cases it is being used to achieve a functional purpose for the surface. What are the components of a surface grinder? Generally speaking, it is comprised of an abrasive wheel, a chuck (workholding device), and a rotary table.

The chuck keeps the material securely in place as the operator works on it. Its ability to do this is achieved by:

  • Using a magnet for ferromagnetic pieces
  • Using a vacuum for non-magnetic pieces

A machine vise (which is made from cast iron or ferromagnetic steel) that is placed on the chuck may also be used to hold non-ferromagnetic workpieces. The grinding wheel material and the workpiece material are among the main factors to consider in surface grinding.

Classic workpiece materials include mild steel and cast iron. These things don’t clog the grinding wheel. Other materials include stainless steel, aluminum, brass and even certain kinds of plastics.

When high temperatures are used for grinding, the material becomes weakened and are susceptible to corrosion. This results in a loss of magnetism for those that are ferrous.


A surface grinder is a machine needed to produce accurate ground surfaces. A surface grinder’s normal precision can vary depending on usage and type but for most surface grinders, ±0.002 mm (±0.0001 in) should be attainable.

The surface grinder machine is made up of:

  • A table that crosses across the face of the wheel as well as longitudinally. Hydraulics power the longitudinal feed and in some cases even the cross feed.
  • The adjustable grinding wheel spins in the spindle head. The latest surface grinders are usually semi-automated. Spark-out and depth of cut may be preset based on the number of passes.
  • Chuck is another part of the surface grinder. Most workpiece materials are held in place using a magnetic type of chuck (manually operated or electromagnetic).
  • Surface grinder machines also have provision for coolant application and metal dust extraction.

Things to Do before Grinding

The machine may use a stationary, abrasive, rotating wheel. Surface grinders, if not used correctly, are often dangerous. Here are the things you need to do prior to operating it:

  • Read and understand the manual.
  • Ensure that all of its elements are in good operating condition.
  • Always assess the grinding wheel for wear or damage before every use.
  • Ascertain that the materials you want to form are allowed for use in the grinder. Soft materials could clog the abrasive wheel and prevent it from working effectively.
  • The material should be firmly held in place.
  • Understand all the instructions and directions before using the machine.

Basic Safety Principles

  • Wear acceptable safety goggles and all other protective gear such as footwear and gloves.
  • Ensure that the grinder is equipped with a start/stop button that you can easily reach at any given time.
  • Check the wheel before mounting it. See to it that it’s well-maintained.
  • Stick to the manufacturer’s directions for mounting grinding wheels.
  • Keep face of the wheel dressed evenly.
  • Ascertain that the wheel guard covers no less than 50% of the grinding wheel’s surface.
  • Eliminate burrs on the surface of the workpiece you put in the magnetic chuck.
  • Clean the magnetic chuck.
  • Put paper that is a bit bigger than your workpiece within the center of chuck.
  • Position your workpiece on the paper and switch on your chuck.
  • Assess if the chuck has been turned on by attempting to get rid of work from it.
  • Find out if the wheel clears the work prior to turning on the grinder.
  • Run a your grinding wheel for 60 seconds before engaging it.
  • Wait for it to achieve maximum speed to check for issues.
  • Switch off coolant before stopping the wheel.
  • Clear the operating surface of materials including tools and scraps.
  • Keep the area surrounding the grinder clean and free of grease and oil.
  • Use a proper ventilation exhaust system to get rid of dusts, debris, and even mist from the coolant. Make sure you also maintain your exhaust system properly.
  • Always follow the guidelines set by the manufacturer when doing maintenance work on your surface grinding machine.

What to Avoid

  • Avoid wearing loose clothing. Avoid wearing jewelry too. These things can get caught when operating the machine and may put you at risk of injury. Even long hair should be tied up.
  • Avoid using the wheel at a speed higher than what’s recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Avoid striking the wheel against the material/workpiece as this can lead to faults or abnormalities within the wheel.
  • Avoid cleaning the magnetic chuck or removing your workpiece until the wheel has completely come to a stop.
  • Avoid grinding material that is not designed for use in the wheel.
  • Avoid using the machine if the area does not have sufficient ventilation.
  • Avoid standing directly in front of the wheel when operating it.
  • Avoid putting work if the disk is still cold. Same for the wheel too.
  • Avoid jamming work into the wheel.
  • Avoid getting close to the wheel. Don’t reach above or around the wheel if it’s moving.

Wrap Up

Surface grinding makes a lot of our tasks easier. This machine is very powerful and efficient. But make sure to know as much as you can about how to properly operate this machine to avoid injuries, accidents and even damage to the machine.

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