Anyone really familiar with Norton grinders?
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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone really familiar with Norton grinders?

    Sometimes I can't help myself, and I buy machine tools just because i suspect they MIGHT be pretty nice. I bought a 1970 Norton 10 by 24 universal cylindrical grinder yesterday from Goverment liquidation. Now the machines they had yesterday in Concord California WERE NOT the typical rusty machines left outside for two years. They had a batch of really nice looking machines, being sold right out of a Navy facility.

    I have several cylindrical grinders already, but this grinder looks really clean, which for a goverment grinder is a rarity. Anyone use Norton grinders? I'm pretty enamored with Jones and Shipman grinders, and actually was looking to buy a small one, to be set up for a certain batch of parts I run. But this Norton just looked too good to walk away from. Any comments on just the general line of Norton grinders? Although I have 35 grinders, this is the first Norton that's sneaking into my shop.

    Anyone know when Norton stopped making grinders? Any thoughts on quality say compared to the Cincinnati or Landis cylindrical grinders. I'm sorely tempted to buy a Landis 1R just to see what they're like too. I have a large Cincinnati 18 x 72 inch grinder for larger parts, but the bulk of what I grind is perfectly at home on a small grinder. I machine quite a few tapers, and it's easier to just leave a machine set up for my common parts, rather than continually have to measure and adjust to get it right. This particular grinder only has a ten inch wheel, where most of my other grinders use 12 inch and 14 inch wheels. It has a swing down ID, not that I need to do ID work on it, but a swing down with it's own dedicated motor, beats the Jones and Shipman swing around ID spindle, driven off the same motor as is used for the OD wheel. I hate having to set up the J&S between OD and ID.

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    I have an old Norton Universal id/od grinder, it's quite small-10x20, and fairly worn out, plus quite rusty due to not having a place for it inside for a little while.
    I've a manual for it, and it'll come in handy for the rebuild I'm planning. I actually used this machine at an old job, it's quite versatile, and did anything I needed it to.
    My grinder also uses a 10x3x1" wheel, also the drop down id attachment, most likely the same same type as yours.

    Rich

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    Norton od grinder quality matches the best out there.... your landis/ norton/ jones and shipman class machinery will all yield equal results. I have a 10 x 24 with a 10 x 3 wheel and a 10 x 48 with a 2 x 30 x 12 wheel. I think norton stopped making grinders somewhere in the late 70's... but can't confirm it.

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    I believe they sold the grinder line and the plant they made them in to Warner & Swasey in the mid-'70s. W&S closed it forever in the late '80s.

    Good stuff, for a manual machine. It's not in the same league as a modern Kellenberger, but should work fine for general-purpose work. It's size and versatility seems to lend itself to one-off toolroom applications. Of course it's internal attachment couldn't hold a candle to a Heald 273A for toolroom work, but I imagine you could do quite a few different jobs.

    Nice find, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how good it can be if the condition is good.

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    C.H. Norton invented the concept of heavy powerful accurate grinders with flood coolant. Prior to his thinking they were flimsy light weight things that rubbed and rattled and jumped around like a tool post grinder on a floppy lathe.

    This was the guy that in the early teens, convinced automobile manufacturers that the lathe was strictly a roughing tool.

    There was never any connection between the wheels and the machines by the same name.


    John Oder

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    There was never any connection between the wheels and the machines by the same name.


    REALLY?

    I would have never guessed that in a million yrs!


    So who carries parts for these puppies these days?


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    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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    Willie in Iowa- I see some of these universal grinders with relatively large wheels like your 30 inch wheel. I would imagine you don't have to dress as often- any other advantages to the large wheel? If you were going to grind a small part- what machine would you use? What would motivate you to use one or the other, if they both are in good shape?

    Ox in researching Norton, I did find that the Norton grinding wheel company was started by a DIFFERENT Norton than the grinder Norton. BUT for some reason in my Norton grinding wheel books, they ALWAYS reference Norton grinders, and in fact have write ups on the different grinders. So at some point these two seperate companies MUST have become one.

    I too found that Warner Swasey did end up with the Norton grinder line. Interestingly enough, my Cincinnati 36 wheel CNC Step-Grinder, looks identical to a Warner Swasey angular head step grinder. Wonder if Warner Swasey made grinders for Cincinnati Milacron, and Cincinnati just put their tags on them. I KNOW how this works, as some of my machines sometimes get someone elses tags. Or vice versa- maybe Cincinnati made Warner Swaseys step grinders??

    I'm not going to have to use the ID grinding attachment much, as I have a couple of Bryant ID grinders, as well as a Cincinnati Milacron 273A, and a Heald extended bed spindle ID grinder.

    My interest in OD grinders and the differences in quality, is driving me to try other brands. In another thread Studer and Kellenberger are touted as great machines. But saying they're really great machines without backup commentary, where a person can say WHY they are a good grinder, is making me dig a little deeper. Operator experience in grinding, can't be overlooked. OD grinding isn't something you can just have a low wage flunky pull off. So a really clean looking used Norton can be purchased for $2200.00- chump change these days. What would make a used thirty to 100k Studer a better machine? The ability to insert your work between centers, and grind to a specific dimension, seems doable with all sorts of different machines. Of course having a grinder in super condition makes life a lot simpler. In a reply above, the kellenberger is mentioned as being in another league compared to a Norton- WHY? What is it able to do differently? Certainly any grinder with in-process gaging that is part of the grinder, makes life way simpler, and quicker. But Marposs gaging can be applied to lots of different grinders after the the fact. Any other benefits to the Kellenberger, that make it head and shoulders better than the typical Norton, Landis, Cincinatti, Jones and Shipman manual grinder- if all in good mechanical condition. The what grinder is the best question, is like asking what's the best car? For me the BEST vehicle is one that can HAUL heavy machines!

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    As you are mixing threads and seem to be quoting from mine as well as others:

    My ap for "best" was for a CNC grinder for an ap that involves more than standard one diameter and in a production application. BEST would be "able to hold a tenth or two maxx in D as well as nearly that in Z in both directions". Hogging not an issue. Thermal stability and repeatability with automatic continuous dressing are features that I am looking for.

    (sorta long term ap - jist researching right now)


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    Ox

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Willie in Iowa- I see some of these universal grinders with relatively large wheels like your 30 inch wheel. I would imagine you don't have to dress as often- any other advantages to the large wheel? If you were going to grind a small part- what machine would you use? What would motivate you to use one or the other, if they both are in good shape?
    A lot of parts I do are gundrilled and stress relieved. Instead of turning a 24 in long 1 inch bar between centers in a 2 axis lathe.. I can set up the big norton on auto cyce and walk away. When I come back its concentric and round. I then can do the rest of my work from the ground surfaces. I do a lot of smaller parts too. I like the 10 x 3 because a special wheel won't cost you bodily apendages. I have a diamond wheel and several different al oxides for the small one. Admittedly the big dog is in a little better shape, but resizing shanks on carbide tools for my cnc swiss is relegated to the small machine. That 30 inch wheel lasts a while, but to buy it is $$. I am running a "cheap" $700.00 wheel now. I would like to have a Radiac 8BP abrasive wheel for it, but that was nearly $2K on the quote. I grind one part with 4 ground diameters, a ground sholder, and a lot of critical dim's. Its about easiest to batch them one dia. at a time on the small grinder, but might try some on the big dog to reduce dressing. I like the positive stop on the nortons...In a past job I ran another norton yet.. it was a sweet machine too.

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    I finally managed to extricate the Norton grinder from one of our guarded military facilities. Seems NORMAL people like me, need to show ID, car registration and proof of insurance, and wait for over an hour and a half while ONE dim witted person issues ID cards . Meanwhile tweakers just come on this base and remove all the electrical wiring in the machine shop, make EVERY roll up door inoperative by stealing the chains. So here's a building full of machine tools, that after I drive 600 miles the contact at the base says there's NO WAY to get a door open, and I should have called, and how dare I show up at his LUNCH hour- like I should KNOW that 11 AM is HIS lunch hour. Since I'm a rather determined guy, I OF COURSE get a door open and get out, a LIKE NEW NORTON grinder. BEWARE of Government Liquidations statements concerning loading machines. There was ZERO after payment support on this sale, and HORRIBLE communications. I never imagined I would be wandering around a completely UNLIT building using a flashlight I brought, to try and get a drum style roll up door to raise. Moving machines using a flashlight in the middle of the day- this was a first for me.

    WOW, this was a grand slam, although the machine is really dirty from having sat in a shop for an undetermined amount of years, STRAPPED to a pallet, it's in virtually new shape as far as wear. The grinder had been used, but NOT very much. The usual tailstock wear, gouges and sometimes loose quill, are NOT a problem on this grinder. it's tight and wear free. I'm sure these's some really sticky parts, because of lack of movement, but underneath the grime, is a real cherry!

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    congrats on another great find Brian, looking forward to see how you like her....

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    The two companies were indeed ONE, without question. I worked for them and many of my coworkers in the high-performance ceramics division had at one time worked over at the grinder division. Even the oldest machines carried the same logo as the grinding wheels. Coincidence? I think not.

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    Smile Norton grinders.

    Norton grinding machines and Norton grinding wheels were indeed the same company.The Norton Emery Wheel Company was incorporated in 1885 and founded by Frank Norton in 1858. With the help of this company and a loan from them of $263000. the Norton Grinding Company was founded by Charles Hotchkiss Norton in 1899 in Worcester Mass.In 1919 Norton Grinding Machines merged with the Norton Company it was then still a family company, in 1962 the company went public. [ Frank Norton and Charles Norton were not related in any way. ] In 1962 Norton Grinding machines came to England and took a share in William Asquith ltd in Shrewsbury, the company becoming Norton-Asquith ltd, in 1966 the company became Norton Grinding Machines ltd, who then started to produce the full range of Norton grinders. Ronald .T. Nelson who was vice chairman of the company in the U.S.A. came to Shrewsbury to run the factory. In 1971 the Warner and Swasey company took over, and the same Norton products were made. On Wednesday April 14th 1976 the Shrewsbury workforce were told the factory was to close, in December 1976 All the contents of the factory were auctioned off. I worked in the factory 1st as a apprentice then at the time of the closure was working on a Jig Borer. Happy days. The range of Surface Grinders are now made by Chas. G. Allen Co Inc in Barre Mass. The Cylindrical Grinders don't seem to be made by any company in the world.

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    I am involved in a history project involving Norton Grinding Machines and the Warner and Swasey company. I have a picture of the Warner and Swasey factory in Cleveland, but I have been unable to locate a photograph of the Norton factory in Worcester. Can anybody help me in securing one. Thanks. JOHN JONES SHREWSBURY ENGLAND.
    [email protected].

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    Quite an old thread I know. . .

    I am considering a 10x20 Norton universal grinder, it also has a drop down ID attachment. Would anyone know what type of ways these machines use ? Any other thoughts ? Thanks.

    167.jpg

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    Carefully scraped and fitted cast iron ways and slides I would imagine - like most machine tools of the period. A serial posted here might result in an idea of age.

    Take care - the table is just sitting there - no "hold downs" except the hydraulic cylinder piston rod - and none at all if strictly mechanical

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    I ran them a-plenty and think they are top notch along with the best..but never did any repair on them. larger machines have a mount up marked on the wheel..that is best to be mounted up with gravity to the spindle.. it has to do with the needed clearance to the spindle diameter..so the wheel is better balanced at start-up.

    That is the way they made the wheel, final dress with the needed clearance space down.


    Yes Op date 2010

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    Find a different grinder. I have its brother. It is full of vacuum tubes to run the DC motors. The few ac motors are probably 440v. And someone has monkeyed with(the one shown) it to replace some of the motors. All the limits and stops are tide in through the back cabinet with the tubes, HGR has plenty of other machines and I found that a larger one with a larger wheel is a lot better. Or a tool and cutter grinder well tooled is a much more versatile choice.

    I tried to get info from current holders of norton info. Told they have nothing. (note, I called mag or whoever they are now who owns the rights to W+S who bought the grinder line)

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnoder View Post
    Carefully scraped and fitted cast iron ways and slides I would imagine - like most machine tools of the period. A serial posted here might result in an idea of age.

    Take care - the table is just sitting there - no "hold downs" except the hydraulic cylinder piston rod - and none at all if strictly mechanical
    I was guessing a flat and vee way, but wasn't sure, I was concerned about ball bearing ways, kind of leery of those with shipping, be it now or days gone by.

    I have a Heald No 25 rotary surface grinder where the over arm/spindle is just sitting there, except where hydraulic rod is attached. Same with my B & S No 5 surface grinder table. Makes for easy cleaning inspection of ways, but I can see where it might be dangerous.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    Find a different grinder. I have its brother. It is full of vacuum tubes to run the DC motors. The few ac motors are probably 440v. And someone has monkeyed with(the one shown) it to replace some of the motors. All the limits and stops are tide in through the back cabinet with the tubes, HGR has plenty of other machines and I found that a larger one with a larger wheel is a lot better. Or a tool and cutter grinder well tooled is a much more versatile choice.

    I tried to get info from current holders of norton info. Told they have nothing. (note, I called mag or whoever they are now who owns the rights to W+S who bought the grinder line)
    That's definitely food for thought. I'm pretty fair at mechanical and electric troubleshooting and repair, but I prefer simpler over more complicated controls, and prefer not to get involved in something if it was a nightmare with zero info. Most of the machines I have bought have been pretty much junk and neglected, where I gotta tear them down and go through them to make something usable. Which to certain degree I don't mind as I usually get them for a cheaper price, plus by going through them top to bottom I get to really understand how it works, and what is what. Also I'm not under any pressure to have it up and making money, I kind of do things at my own pace.

    Mechanics, hydraulics, and electrical don't worry me too much. Electric motors, be it original, or replacing with something suitable I don't mind. But I have not dealt with any vacuum controls. What does the vacuum side do ? Could the vacuum system be replaced with an electrical system ?

    I've seen what I guess is a precursor to cnc on a Bridgeport mill. Moog controls. A massive amount of complicated controls, pressure sensors of a sort, regulating valves, and probably more relays than I can count. . . and on and on. Would you say its on that level of bad news, or is it something that can be dealt with without having a stroke, lol.

    You're right, they do have a bunch of machines, which I'm eyeing a few. There's also a cylindrical grinder from another seller, a B & S No 2 from the 1940's which I covet for some reason. I need to do more research on these.

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    My issue (ignoring electricals)with the one I have, to short center to center. For same money at hgr you could buy something much longer.

    For the small jobs that came through I used the well tooled tool and cutter grinder I had. It was easier.

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