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  1. #1
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    Default Selecting a Tool & Cutter grinder, questions...

    Hello,

    We're looking at bringing in our first Tool & Cutter grinder and I've got a couple questions. A quick background on our application though. We're a small shop, all manual machines, and a mix of HSS and indexable tooling. I've recently started going through 60 years worth of collected tooling and have realized I'm sitting on a lot more than I knew. Nothing like cleaning house to get you thinking. Of our HSS tooling the break down probably goes something like this (not counting drills less than 1" dia); 40% are twist drills (1"- 3"dia), 30% reamers (1" - 3"dia), 10% plain milling cutters, 10% endmills, 10% keyway push broaches. In a perfect world I'd like to pick up a machine that could sharpen any of this bunch. After a few weeks of looking I've been leaning most toward a Cincinnati #2. Others that seem readily available (in used condition) are K&O's, Norton #2's, and a few Brown & Sharps. Pickings always seem to be slim here in the Pacific NW. I've mostly been checking Ebay and a few surplus houses. I've only been looking at the free standing (not bench) set ups.

    Questions:
    1) Can I set up a grinder like a Cinci #2 to sharpen keyway broaches?
    2) If I hope to sharpen HSS endmills and annular cutters (Hougen style) is there anything I should be looking for in particular?
    3) Within the used machinery world, is there any reason I should steer clear of certain models?
    4) For this type of work should I focus on universal style machines?

    Thanks for the help.

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    Although my preference in this area is the B&S #13 Universal and Tool Grinder a Cincinnati #2 would be nice too. Didn't much care for my KO Lee BA900 but it was cheap.
    With a manual T&CG the thing you have to be aware of is that the fixtures and attachments you get determine it's capabilities. Most T&CGs I see for sale are utterly stripped of everything useful. Sometimes even all the wheel guards are stripped off for separate sale. If you find one which is well equipped with workheads, fixtures, attachments and extra wheel sleeves you'll be very much better off than getting one of those stripped ones. The search for the ancillaries can be tedious and they're usually expensive when you can find them. You can easily spend several times the cost of the bare grinder trying to equip it for what you want to do.

    Most T&CGs can be outfitted to grind just about any cutting tool you can think of. Sometimes you find a factory fixture to do just as you want. Other times you have to be creative and devise your own solution.

    I prefer the 13 to the 2 primarily because all of the 13's ( At least the second generation . Unsure about the first gen ones) have a powerfeed table. Not important for most sharpening needs but very useful when doing any cylindrical grinding. The rear controls on the 2 are nice at times though.
    I've noticed too that a far higher percentage of the 2's are being sold utterly stripped than the 13's I've seen. Of course you see about ten 2's for every 13 you see. This means that you can find the ancillaries for a 2 much more easily than you can find them for the 13.

    You may wish to consider getting two or more T&CGs of different styles with the intention of using each in the role best suited to it.
    For example, a 13 outfitted for cylindrical grinding, with a good Weldon or Rocheleau AB fixture for endmill sharpening duty and one of the good tangent radius dressers for form grinding. Then add a P&W R-6 or R-8 to serve as the machine which handles your radius grinding duty. A good drill pointer would be a nice addition too and this trio would take care of just about everything you could throw at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsaqam View Post
    Most T&CGs I see for sale are utterly stripped of everything useful. Sometimes even all the wheel guards are stripped off for separate sale. If you find one which is well equipped with workheads, fixtures, attachments and extra wheel sleeves you'll be very much better off than getting one of those stripped ones. The search for the ancillaries can be tedious and they're usually expensive when you can find them. You can easily spend several times the cost of the bare grinder trying to equip it for what you want to do..
    That pretty much mirrors what I've been seeing. Most of them out there are nothing but a bare table and spindle. I'll make sure to focus on units with a good selection of tooling. I'll look into the B&S #13 too, thanks.

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    How much are you willing to pay and what about shipping? What about reconditioning or rebuilding?

    A couple of years ago I go #2 for cylindrical work, has extra long table and DC motor power feed. With workhead it was $1400.

    Tom

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    It looks like I've got about a $4k-$5k max budget to work with. That has to cover shipping too. I found a B&S 13 in Detroit for just over 2K but freight quote on 2,900 lbs from Detroit to Wa State was between $3-4K. I put out a few feelers here in the Pac NW. We'll see if anything closer turns up.

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    Unless you like to put in lots of hours for free it will be cheaper to send it out.
    You will also need the equipment to check the grinds.

    You can't go wrong with a #2 and the needed heads and attachments. (cam relief, drill point, etc..)
    50 or so wheels, spoko hubs for all of them, ......... The machine is just a start point.
    Bob

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    There are deals to be had out there on some of the stuff you may want to have if you look and are patient.
    I've gotten very good deals on my both Weldon AB's, on a Rocheleau AB, a R-O Form Relieving Fixture, a #2 Radius Grinding attachment, a KO Lee Radius Grinding attachment, half a dozen various brands of radius dressers, many many original B&S 13 fixtures and attachments, chucks, collets, internal grinding attachments, dozens of wheel sleeves and many other things.
    Heck, I just got a fully functional and seemingly tight P&W R-6 with a motorized workhead for $40.
    I paid under $50 for my KO Lee BA900. Even my 13 came to me for under $500.
    Optical comparators go very cheaply at auction around here. Maybe not the newest fanciest ones but run of the mill S-T's and J&L's with surface illumination can be had very cheaply. I think I paid $2 for one of my S-T's and maybe $60 for my other S-T. Fully functional and more than adequate for checking corner radii and the like.
    Something to be said, at least for me, for grinding your own tooling and even making tools from the solid.

    Bob is absolutely right though. If you're feeding your family with your machining business your time may be better spent on profitmaking enterprises rather than grinding your tooling all day. I don't feed my family by machining stuff, my real job does that so the time I spend locating tooling and grinding stuff is merely a pleasant pastime with personally rewarding results.

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    Bob is right on that mostly sending work out is best
    Machining pays better than cutter grinding so if your shop is full of higher paying work that is better than spending much time sharpening.
    Key way broaches loose size quickly so not many sharpening if any.

    A #2 with centers, a work head, tooth rest a few cup wheels perhaps 46k, a diamond wheel in 120 and 320, a holding device for work head perhaps a small a 4 jaw with mill cutter stubs cut on the lathe. Will get you started for sharpening mill cutters and saws, end mill ends and reamers.. perhaps slash cut drills with butterfly or hand backoff. End mill OD is best left to the local good sharpening source.
    Having a cutter grinder will get a needed cutter sharpened ASAP. A cutter grinder can be a chop saw/cut off when not sharpening as you dont want space wasted on a once a blue moon machine..

    I would sharpen all your reamers in a few hours with a #2 .. likely all you end mill ends and hogens in the rest of the day or part of the next if you have a lot. then the machine might set for a time. (1" - 3"dia), 10% plain milling cutters.. easy but often need mandrels or arbors for holding.. yes you can make them on the lathe

    B&S 13 and the Norton are better grinders IMHO but the cinci is easier to work with and often fixtures are with machine or available.
    best to get a package. ( the large Ko lee is a nice machine also)

    to sharpen HSS endmills and annular cutters (Hougen style) Yes for ends very good.
    Doing OD you need an air spindle or high skill with a solid fixture so I dont recommend ODs in house unless you have someone having experience.. ODs 1/2+ are not too bad but smalls can be a bugger with a solid fixture.

    looking at the free standing (not bench) set ups. GOOD

    This is a long travel cinci (you dont need long) but with no fixtures it is not much good.
    http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/tls/4595206448.html

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    I had a Cin #2 shipped from New York to Oregon. Picked that machine as it had considerable tooling at a reasonable (but not scrap) price. Freight was significant, but not a deal killer.

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    The great thing about a tooled up T & C is that you can make specials quickly, and modify existing tooling or blanks quickly. If you need that and don't have a good source, getting a machine at a good price should be valuable to you.

    If you just want to sharpen drills and end mills; get a simple machine or fixture for the drills & send the mills out.

    There is one simple tool I hate sharpening, but it really is easy and worth it: slitting saws. Doing it yourself with very little effort you can have saws that run true and take a nearly equal cut on each tooth all the way around. Unlike new saws and most re-sharps these days that throb & throb with every rotation

    There's a huge learning curve to sharpening well. Best to assess if that skill will ultimately pay off, or offer some valuable form of insurance if you go down that road.

    I'm mostly a one man shop. I could not function and do the custom millwork that is my niche, or even some of the weird machining jobs I get due to the millwork niche without grinders and tool making capacity. But for any production tool, it is a darn site easier/faster/cheaper to just send it out.

    PS, it is worth evaluating what exactly you do want to do. Some of what you describe could be done on a surface grinder with some fixtures and tooling. For some reason, perhaps the magnet and sine tables, I tend to gravitate to the surface grinder over the T & C anytime it makes sense. Anything between centers will be easier on the T &* C. A T & C can be more versatile, and in a pinch makes a fair substitute for a cylindrical grinder for smaller work. If you use an indicator on the infeed, instead of the tiny coarse dials on most T & C infeeds.

    smt

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    If you or your boss really want a machine watch for auctions in Ohio. Rent a truck, drive out and buy.

    I didn't get to attend but a good friend went to a machinery auction. I am glad I wasn't there . Out of about 6 T&C grinders of various brands he bought one that was dirty, but lightly used. He is very picky about his machines. Lightly used to him would probably be brand new to most! Fully tooled up, including wheels. $250. The worst two sold for $50 each, with tooling. They were dumped in the back of a semi for scrap.

    I need to start a machinery finding business for guys in the North West and Texas. Seems places around here can't scrap equipment fast enough while people elsewhere can't find anything. A friend has been searching for a nice used mill in Texas for probably 4 years . . .

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    I picked up a #2 not long ago for a good price but it is stripped so it is more of a project.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    If you or your boss really want a machine watch for auctions in Ohio. Rent a truck, drive out and buy.

    I didn't get to attend but a good friend went to a machinery auction. I am glad I wasn't there . Out of about 6 T&C grinders of various brands he bought one that was dirty, but lightly used. He is very picky about his machines. Lightly used to him would probably be brand new to most! Fully tooled up, including wheels. $250. The worst two sold for $50 each, with tooling. They were dumped in the back of a semi for scrap.

    I need to start a machinery finding business for guys in the North West and Texas. Seems places around here can't scrap equipment fast enough while people elsewhere can't find anything. A friend has been searching for a nice used mill in Texas for probably 4 years . . .
    I'm in...nice dry ware house space in Denver is pretty central.
    I've been considering a small space East of the Mississippi to store enough to make a semi load.

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    This could be a nice machine if equipped for your needs.
    Having a work head and centers would be best as they might be hard to find.
    Also good would be...
    Tooth rest, arbors and holders, collects or some type of work head holding device, wheel mounts,

    Add says air spindle- Likely one for doing OD- nice to have but if only that linting machines use.

    The Grand Rapids is in the quality of the B&S 13 or the Norton T&C a very good machine that can function as a universal OD grinder with having a fine in feed. Not as handy or use friendly as the Cinci#2


    Grand RapidsT&C $4500
    GrandRapids Tool Grinder


    *You can go on line and download the Cincinnait handbook it is a good source of cutter grinding information that can be applied to other grinders so is a valuable asset to have.
    One source:http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=4921


    PS: hope I did not discourage you from getting a TC grinder in my first post.. I think it is an asset to most shops.
    Last edited by michiganbuck; 08-28-2014 at 09:40 AM. Reason: added note about handbook

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    I have a late(ish) tilt head #2 cincinnati for well within your budget. Includes air bearing, centers, power workhead, radius attachment, etc etc etc

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    Price?

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Unless you like to put in lots of hours for free it will be cheaper to send it out.
    On that note, I wonder how what I've been paying for re-grinds stacks up around here. Closest place I found that seemed like they knew what they were doing is almost 200 miles away. The last batch I sent out were 1/2"-5/8" end mills. Mix of two flute, four flute, single end, and double end. Could have fit the whole batch in a box the size of Machinery's Handbook (not the large print edition). Cost just north of $600 to get those ground. Then add on the hassle of having been shipped back a mix of my tooling and someone else's. I'm glad I wrote down each and every size and variation on our PO, it was the only way to sort out what was mine, what was someone else's, and what still hadn't been returned to me. Sending out end mills for re-grind is costing about 1/2 the cost of new ones. Is that comparable to what you're seeing?

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    I am not sharpening anymore but that seems high. Unless you are buying import cutters.. It would be difficult to sharpen some of those and make any money at 1/4 or 1/3 new price and make shop wages.

    A carbide 1/2 for $20 or HSS for $8 imports would be 1/2 new price for sure.
    Just doing the end of a 1/2 HSS for less than $4 would be low IMHO.
    But if buying a $40 carbide and paying $20 for re sharp that seems high.

    You can UPS any distance for not much more so think you might shop other shops.

    Not recommending just to look at prices:
    http://endmill-sharpening.com/Services.htm
    http://ekstromcarlson.com/repair-ser...ol-sharpening/

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    Wow

    Those are nowhere near the prices I've been paying. For 1/2" endmills I was quoted "if it is just regrind $20.00 OD and End grind if it needs a total recondition it is $40.00 each". I wonder if this is a regional thing. That was for solid carbide endmills that I use for keying pre-hard 4140 shafting. Last batch I sent off was to Portland, OR. Usually the bigger cities like Seattle, Portland, Spokane, etc have been a safe bet for competitive prices, maybe not as competitive as I'd thought.

    On a similar note... I'll be glad to get my K&T 2B Universal back up and going so I can start running these hard shaft key jobs through the horizontal and not go through endmills so fast.

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    There is a fellow here on PM that many are saying does a fair job of sharpening but I cant remember his name.

    Good to have your tool man look over and mark for end only or end and OD because of the price difference and some times good to have a standard OD size.
    A in house TC grinder will cut off and do end mill ends with little skill required. Same with Roto bores( Hougenands) centered reamers are easy. Reamers with no center have to be held true so perhaps a collect holder or run through a bushing (a simple fixture to make and you make the bushing with the reamer) you can use the same fixture for gun drills.

    One big advantage to a sharpening shop is they can set the cut-off and do another job for 5 minuets to save that bit of time..

    'what was someone else's".. It is common to run all the same size through so yours may go into a tray with the sharpener picking out the size and putting back in your tray.. He gets mixed up and put some back in the wrong tray.

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