Centerless grinding is an alternate method of cutting metal that utilizes an abrasive cutting wheel to remove material from a project piece. Typically, the abrasive material used in this process is diamond but other materials such as copper, cobalt, and stainless steel can be used as well. These are typically referred to as “spindle wheels” and come in various configurations ranging from a few teeth per revolution to many teeth per revolution.
The main advantage to using a centerless grinder is that it provides high-quality and very consistent grinding performance with little slippage or chatter. To demonstrate this, imagine what would happen if you set up a vertical stand with three stacks of coins: One stack of coins at each end of the stand, a third stack of coins at the bottom. Now imagine that you placed a high-performance milling machine on top of the stand and started rotating the vertical stand. Now imagine that you attached the grinders to the wheels of the high-speed grinder by means of a pinion / wheel-drive system.
Surprisingly, despite the great rigidity of the parts used in centerless grinding, there is still some give. This is because the workpieces are connected to the grinding unit by means of a bolt. So the workpiece is in the path of the abrasive passing on the bolt. This does not change the functionality of the grinder in any way other than allowing for faster machining operation. Likewise, it does not alter the physical configuration of the machine itself. It’s merely the speed of the motor, which changes the configuration.
High-speed centerless grinding machines use a center diamond wheel and have a unique design that provides for both centerline and side grinding capability. The result is an excellent mixture of power and versatility and allows the machine to be used to cut either flat or curved surfaces with ease. Unlike in standard CNC centers, the flat side of the wheel has no contact with the work surface and therefore there is no need to worry about dirt or particles disrupting the grinding operation. The curved side of the wheel on the other hand is stationary and can only be used to grind flat materials.
The reason for the innovative roundness of the CNC centerless grinder is that the metal used to cast the parts has significantly less roundness than traditional metallic materials such as steel or brass. The result is an affordable alternative to traditional metallic CNC machines. While it has been found that the infeed area of many standard CNC centers tends to have an edge on the overall roundness of the finished product, the compact design of the CNC centerless grinder eliminates this problem due to its lack of an infeed.
Centerless grinding wheels have been successfully used in applications where a high-precision performance level is paramount, including aerospace, automobile, medical and CAD applications. Its compact size allows it to be installed quickly and easily, which makes it a great option for both home and commercial fabrication shops. You can purchase a CNC centerless grinder from most distributors or suppliers and can get a free demo at their site to assess the quality of the product. So whether you’re looking for a replacement or a new machine in your shop, consider this compact model for greater capability in your workplace.