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Chapter 17: grinding methods and machines.

17.1 Introduction

Grinding, or abrasive machining, is one of the most rapidly growing metal removal processes in manufacturing. Many machining operations, previously done on conventional milling machines, lathes and shapers, are now performed on various types of grinding machines. A typical internal grinding operation is shown below.

17.2 Grinding Processes

Grinding machines have advanced in design, construction, rigidity and application far more in the last decade than any other standard machine tool in the manufacturing industry. Grinding machines fall into five categories: surface grinders, cylindrical grinders, centerless grinders, internal grinders and specials.

17.2.1 Surface Grinding

Surface grinders are used to produce flat, angular and irregular surfaces. In the surface grinding process, the grinding wheel revolves on a spindle; and the workpiece, mounted on either a reciprocating or a rotary table, is brought into contact with the grinding wheel.

Four types of surface grinders are commonly used in industry.

Horizontal spindle/reciprocating table: This surface grinder is the most commonly used type in industry. It is available in various sizes to accommodate large or small workpieces. With this type of surface grinder, the work moves back and forth under the grinding wheel. The grinding wheel is mounted on a horizontal spindle and cuts on its periphery as it contacts the workpiece.

Horizontal spindle/rotary table: This surface grinder also has a horizontally mounted grinding wheel that cuts on its periphery. The workpiece rotates 360 degrees on a rotary table underneath the wheelhead. The wheelhead moves across the workpiece to provide the necessary cross feed movements.

Vertical spindle/reciprocating table: This type is particularly suited for grinding long and narrow castings like the bedways of an engine lathe. It removes metal with the face of the grinder wheel while the work reciprocates under the wheel. The wheelhead assembly, as on most other types of surface grinders, moves vertically to control the depth of cut. The table moving laterally accomplishes cross feed.

Vertical spindle/rotary table: This grinding machine is capable of heavy cuts and high metal removal rates. Vertical spindle machines use cup, cylinder, or segmented wheels. Many are equipped with multiple spindles to successively rough, semifinish, and finish large castings, forgings, and welded fabrications.

Workholding devices: Almost any work holding device used on a milling machine or drill press can be used on surface grinders. However, the most common workholding device on surface grinders is the magnetic chuck.

17.2.2 Cylindrical Grinding

Cylindrical grinding is the process of grinding the outside surfaces of a cylinder. These surfaces may be straight, tapered or contoured. Cylindrical grinding operations resemble lathe turning operations. They replace the lathe when the workpiece is hardened or when extreme accuracy and superior finish are required. As the workpiece revolves, the grinding wheel, rotating much faster in the opposite direction, is brought into contact with the part. The workpiece and table reciprocate while in contact with the grinding wheel to remove material.

Workholding devices: Workholding devices and accessories used on center-type cylindrical grinders are similar to those used on engine lathes.

Independent, universal and collet chucks can be used on cylindrical grinders when the work is odd-shaped or contains no center hole. They are used also for internal grinding operations.

17.2.3 Centerless Grinding

Centerless grinding machines eliminate the need to have center holes for the work or to use workholding devices. In centerless grinding, the workpiece rests on a workrest blade and is backed up by a second wheel, called the regulating wheel. The rotation of the grinding wheel pushes the workpiece down on the workrest blade and against the regulating wheel. The regulating wheel, usually made of a rubber bonded abrasive, rotates in the same direction as the grinding wheel and controls the longitudinal feed of the work when set at a slight angle. By changing this angle and the speed of the wheel, the workpiece feed rate can be changed. A typical centerless grinding operation is shown above.

17.2.4 Internal Grinding

Internal grinders are used to accurately finish straight, tapered or formed holes. The most popular internal grinder is similar in operation to a boring operation in a lathe. The work-piece is held by a workholding device, usually a chuck or collet, and revolved by a motorized headstock. A separate motor head in the same direction as the workpiece revolves the grinding wheel. It can be fed in and out of the work and also adjusted for depth of cut.

17.2.5 Special Grinding Processes

Special types of grinders are grinding machines made for specific types of work and operations. A brief description of the more commonly used special types follows:

Tool and cutter grinders: These grill ding machines are designed to sharpen milling cutters, reamers, taps and other machine tool cutters.

The general purpose cutter grinder is the most popular and versatile tool grinding machine. Various attachments are available for sharpening most types of cutting tools.

Jig grinding machines: Jig grinders were developed to locate and accurately grind tapered or straight holes. Jig grinders are equipped with a high speed vertical spindle for holding and driving the grinding wheel. They utilize the same precision locating system as do jig borers.

Thread grinding machines: These are special grinders that resemble the cylindrical grinder. They must have a precision lead screw to produce the correct pitch, or lead, on a threaded part. Thread grinding machines also have a means of dressing or truing the cutting periphery of the grinding wheel so that it will produce a precise thread form on the part.

17.3 Creep-Feed Grinding

Grinding has traditionally been associated with small rates of metal removal and fine finishing operations. However, grinding can also be used for large-scale metal removal operations similar to milling, broaching, and planning. In creep-feed grinding, developed in the late 1950's, the wheel depth of cut is as much as 0.25", and the workpiece speed is low.

Its overall competitive position with other material-removal processes indicates that creep-feed grinding can be economical for specific applications, such as in grinding shaped punches, twist-drill flutes, and various complex super alloy parts. The wheel is dressed to the shape of the workpiece to be produced. Although generally one pass is sufficient, a second pass may be necessary for improved surface finish.

17.4 Grinding Wheel Wear

The wear of a grinding wheel can be caused by three actions: attrition or wearing down, shattering of the grains, breaking of the bond.

In most grinding processes, all three mechanisms are active to some extent. Attritions wear is not desirable because the dulled grains reduce the efficiency of the process, resulting in increased power consumption, higher surface temperatures, and surface damage. However, attrition must go on to some extent, with the forces on the grit being increased until they are high enough to shatter the grit or break the bond posts holding the dulled grit. The action of particles breaking away from the grains serves to keep the wheel sharp without excessive wear. However, the grains must eventually break from the bond or the wheel will have to be dressed. Rupturing the bond post that holds the grit allows dull grains to be sloughed off, exposing new sharp edges. If this occurs too readily, the wheel diameter wears down too fast.

G-ratio: The G-ratio is the ratio of the amount of stock removed versus the amount of wear on the wheel, measured in cubic inches per minute. Even though grinding wheels are fairly expensive, a high G-ratio is not necessarily economical, as this may mean a slower rate of stock removal. It often takes some experimenting to find the wheel-metal combination, which is most economical for a job.

17.4.1 Attritions Wear

Attritions wear is responsible for the so-called "glazed" wheel, which occurs when fiat areas are worn on the abrasive grains but the forces are not high enough to break the dull grains out of the wheel face. Attritions wear of the wheel occurs most often when fine cuts are taken on hard abrasive materials. Taking heavier cuts or using a softer wheel that will allow the grains to break out can often avoid it.

17.4.2 Grain Fracture

The forces that cause the grain to shatter may arise from the cutting forces acting on the wheel, thermal conditions, shock loading, welding action between the grit: and the chip, or combinations of these factors. In finish grinding, this type of wheel wear is desirable, because it keeps sharp edges exposed, and still results in a low rate of wheel wear. In time, the wheel may become 'loaded' and noisy, and require dressing.

17.4.3 Bond Fracture

It is desirable to have worn grit break out of the wheel so that new cutting edges will be exposed. This breaking down of the bond should progress fast enough so that heat generation is sufficiently low to avoid surface damage. On the other hand, bond breakdown should be slow enough so that wheel costs are not prohibitive.

17.5 Coated Abrasives

Typical examples of coated abrasives are sandpaper and emery cloth. The grains used in coated abrasives are more pointed than those used for grinding wheels.

Coated abrasives are available as sheets, belts and disks and usually have a much more open structure than the abrasives on grinding wheels. Coated abrasives are used extensively in finishing flat or curved surfaces of metallic or nonmetallic parts, and in woodworking. The surface finishes obtained depend primarily on the grain sizes.

17.5.1 Abrasive Belt Machining

Coated abrasives are also used as belts for high-rate material removal. Belt grinding has become an important production process, in some cases replacing conventional grinding operations such as the grinding of camshafts. Belt speeds are usually in the range of 2500 to 6000 ft/mm.

17.6 Grindability

Grindability, in a like manner as machinability, may be thought of as the ease with which material can be removed from the workpiece by the action of the grinding wheel. Surface finish, power consumption, and tool (wheel) life can be considered as fundamental criteria of the grindability of metals.

The most important machine setting affecting machinability, the cutting speed, is not as important an influence on grindability because grinding is done at more or less constant speed. Instead, the important factor becomes the nature of the grinding wheel. The type of grit, grit size, bond material, hardness and structure of the wheel all influence the grindability of the workpiece.

The best way to determine grindability is to start with the selection of the proper wheel. Begin with the manufacturer's recommended grade for the conditions of the job and then try wheels on each side of this grade to determine this

Some of the factors to consider in establishing grindability ratings are discussed in the following examples relative to the performance metals.

Cemented carbide material cannot be ground with aluminum oxide grit wheels. Although it can be ground with pure silicon carbide wheels, the grinding ratio is very low and the material is easily damaged. Carbide is easily ground with diamond wheels if light cuts are taken. The overall grindability of this material is very low.

High-speed steel can be ground quite successfully with aluminum oxide grit wheels. Overall grindability is quite low.

Hardened steel (medium hard alloy or plain carbon steels) is easily ground with aluminum oxide wheels. The grinding ratio is good. The grindability rating is good.

Soft steels (annealed plain carbon steels) grind with relatively low power consumption. Aluminum oxide wheels are satisfactory. As a group, these materials are rated as having good grindability.

Aluminum alloys (soft) grind with quite low power consumption, but tend to load the wheel quickly. Wheels with a very open structure are needed. Silicon carbide grit works well, and belt grinding outperforms wheel grinding in many cases.

The full chapter, with all accompanying illustrations, can be found on the T&P web site


Cutting-Tool Materials

Metal Removal Methods

Machinability of Metals

Single Point Machining

Turning Tools and Operations

Turning Methods and Machines

Grooving and Threading

Shaping and Planing

Hole Making Processes

Drills and Drilling Operations

Drilling Methods and Machines

Boring Operations and Machines

Reaming and Tapping

Multi Point Machining

Milling Cutters and Operations

Milling Methods and Machines

Broaches and Broaching

Saws and Sawing

Abrasive Processes

Grinding Wheels and Operations

Grinding Methods and Machines

Lapping and Honing

George Schneider, Jr. CMfgE

Professor Emeritus

Engineering Technology

Lawrence Technological University

Former Chairman

Detroit Chapter ONE

Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Former President

International Excutive Board

Society of Carbide & Tool Engineers


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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Schneider, George, Jr.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:May 1, 2002
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