Storm Vulcan 15A operation
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    Default Storm Vulcan 15A operation

    Started up my new (to me) crankshaft grinder tonight,...a storm Vulcan 15A 1968 mfg date. Just got it wired and air supplied, so now I can start to figure out the operation. I have a line on a shop that has the same machine that are willing to sell me shop time to learn the basics. But I would like to learn as much as I can beforehand about how things work.

    I did acquire an online instruction manual that was supposed to be for a 15A,...it isn't it is for a 15.
    On the 15a there is air pressure supplied to the tailstock, not on the model 15, so this is feature is not mentioned in the manual. It appears that the air locks the tailstock to the bed when activated?
    Also it appears that the air pushes against the tailstock spindle?

    This unit has an automatic wheel dressing feature,...is this beneficial to use rather than the manual dresser? it's not like I am ever going to be pressed for time as this is more of a hobby rather a production machine?

    Dave

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    I think you have a 15A-Special, which is a step up from a 15A.

    Be real careful with the air pressure to your tailstock, That thing comes at your hand like it wants to chop off some of your body parts. I would lower your air pressure until the air pressure is just enough to move the tailstock. I finally quit using the air chamber, and just pulled the tailstock up to the crank, with my right arm. I did use the air feature to lift the tail stock, but not to ram it against the crank.
    Also, used crank grinders wear the ways in the main casting. You have to realize how much wear they get from running in a slurry of coolant and stone grit. When you dress the stone, with the stone centered as for doing mains, sometimes you can "maybe" grind the mains with no sideways taper. But, guaranteed, you will get sideways taper when you adjust the head stock & tail stock back to grind the rods. Only quick fix is to loosen the table's pivot bolt (in the exact center of the table), and swing the table to get the main and/or rod journals cutting with no sideways taper. I made a chart, with a ruler marked off along where the tail stock landed, and with all the different length cranks, and I used a dial indicator to rotate the table. Took a while to observe how many thousands to rotate the top table for each length crank, but eventually I got a good chart.
    AND, if your ways are worn (guaranteed they are or the previous owner would not have sold it) you will get pretty round 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rod journals, BUT, you are going to get "out of round" #1 (front) rod journal. The out of roundness will be on just the rear side of the front journal. This is caused by the steady rest's capability to literally bend the crank while grinding #2, #3, & #4 rod journals, but messing up the front journal because the shorter length of the crank sticking out of the head stock, makes the crank strong enough to over come the steady rest and you wind up grinding the forward side of the front rod journal, fairly round, while sculpting a couple tenths "out of roundness" in the rear half of the #1 rod journal. All this is because the centerline of the head stock is pointing a different direction (cause of wear on the ways) than the tailstock centerline. A work around is to grind the rear three journals (of a V-8) and then swap the crank end for end in the chucks, re-center, and grind the front journal while the snout of the crank is facing the tail stock, rather than the head stock. Time killer, but will give a nice round crank grinding job. Seven things to remember.
    1. You should dress the stone wet, of course, while the stone is set for grinding mains, then grind all your cranks that need the mains done. All the while checking for taper as soon as you grind all the way around the journal - and fixing taper by rotating the table (using your homemade chart "using the length of crank and number of thousands to rotate the table").
    2. offset the head and tailstock chucks for the required stroke, and whether or not you dress the stone again, immediately check for taper while you have enough stock left to dial in the table's rotation, to get zero taper. Keep updating your cheat sheet, as the table's ways wear differently for each length crank.
    3. Allow time and disposition to pull the crank out of the jaws and swap the snout for the flywheel surface before grinding the front journal.
    4. Start grinding your rods doing #1 first, the swap the crank end for end and do #2, 3,& #4. That way, you can polish the rod journals with the sandpaper going the correct direction against the cranks bearing surface. Under a high power microscope, you can see little needles sticking up from a polished surface that are ready to gouge the bearings, if you polish the wrong direction. Always polish the journals with the crank spinning in the direction that the engine runs.
    5. The newer synthetic grinding fluids never worked well for me, but the old school, lard based stuff worked like a champ, as far as grinding. The lard based stuff does go rancid and stinks to high heaven. you might be able to add bleach to kill the smell, but I just changed the coolant tank when the smell got noticeable.
    6. You can dress the stone too slowly and cause the stone to burn the bearing surface of the crank instead of grinding as expected. You have to dress the stone fairly quickly to achieve a good cutting edge of each little cutting bit of the stone. And, its a good idea to rotate the diamond in your dressing fixture, maybe ever time you dress a stone. Diamonds do wear, but by rotating them, you can get years of life out of them
    7. There was a court case where the crank grinder tech did not grind a large enough filet, and the courts found in the crank owner's favor, at a huge cost to the crank grinding shop. S pay attention to filets.

    You owe it to yourself to just scrape the ways (or hire someone to do it for you) with the objective of eliminating any wear on the ways, and to achieve absolutely parallel ways, so that the head stock and tail stocks are on the same centerline. Can't stress that enough.

    I have a gang of stones, hubs, and even a complete 15A-Special (that I left set up for rods). I also have a Van Norman that I left set up for mains. Both in Fayetteville NC, if anyone is interested.

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    Thanks a bunch for your insight into crank grinding Turnaround007 !!
    You are correct, what I have is a 15A special. Your description of the wear and it's affect on grinding accuracy seems totally logical.
    When you refer to scraping the ways, are you referring to the upper surface of the front table?
    This is new to me, but I am looking forward to the challenge. The nice thing about a hobby is you can spend a ton of hours without worrying about covering your costs.
    I believe I have all the fixtures required to get started (two steady rests, set up tool, wheel dresser, Arnold gauge, and wheel balancing fixture) the one thing I need to source is a radius dresser.

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    Another thing to be aware of on a worn machine is that as the wheel slide wears, the head will lay over to one side and make grinding thrust surfaces parallel impossible. Just something to check out and be aware of. Only fix is to regrind the slides to get the wheel spindle parallel to the centers.

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    I think the bulk of your problem wear will be in the top side & visible ways going towards the tail stock. Just look at the machining profile up near and under the head stock, and compare that profile to the ways nearest the tails tock. You will probably see a different profile (from wear suffered from the coolant and stone grit slurry). Sliding the tail stock sideways, just eats away both the tail stock's V-ways and the table's flats and ways. This wear allows the centerline through the tailstock, to wander off the required, common centerline through the headstock chucks.
    To fix it, a sharp, old school, machinist, would most likely make up some fixtures that could be used to measure the table's ways profile at the headstock end, and the table's ways profile at the tail stock end, to understand how much wear in cut into the tail stock side ways. Check front to rear, and side to side. Source an accurate, old school, really long, cast iron straight edge, some bluing, and a paint roller. Cover the bottom of the straight edge with a thin coat of bluing, then start scraping the blue off, which will be where you are scraping off the high spots on the head stock end. Eventually (after some serious time) you can get your "X" axis ways to be dead nuts straight, as proved by the straight edge transferring bluing the whole length of the ways. This is not a quick job. there are professional tools for scraping, such as Biax (sp?), but these power scrapers are expensive. You might try "making do" with a home made 3/32" or 1/8" X 1", carbide blade, adapted to a corded, handheld, oscillating saw like Porter Cable (recommended) or Harbor Freight (not so good for length of usable life).
    There are gangs of You Tube videos about machine way scraping.
    And, any metal you take off, in the right direction of course, is going to make your crank grinder more accurate.

    I don't think the "Y" axis under the stone's back and forward carriage is as likely to be severely worn, as it is pretty well shielded from grit under there, and does (or at least should) get bountiful oil from the operator giving it some oil during daily use. Scraping the "X" axis under the head stock part of the ways, is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck.
    Remember, figure out a way you can check the centerline (or axis) of the head stock, then scrape the sideways ("X" axis) until you can verify that the centerline through the tail stock is dead nuts with the head stock.
    You will not believe how far out these centerlines are. It is unbelievably how much the crank will bend from the steady rest's pressure against the crank journal, and that deflection is enough to achieve a pretty good grinding job, on the right hand three rod journals (assuming you are willing to loosen the table's center bolt and rotate the table to grind flat with no sideways taper. BUT you will have to swap the crank end for end to grind the rod journal that started out next to the head stock.
    Do not be afraid to try scraping your ways. And, if you are super lucky, you might even be within driving distance of someone with a nice accurate (and huge) metal planer or milling machine, that could be used to initially dress your ways.
    Starting with a machine cut, will allow you to simply scrape your ways a little to eliminate the planer's tool marks, and to allow you to finish scrape for the desired 20, or so, points of contact per inch (good oil holding surface finish) between table and tail stock.
    One last item: As you most certainly have lost some dimension on the bottom of your tail stock (imaging all that sliding the tail stock back and forth of the gritty ways), you could reclaim that metal by machining the tail stock further, and overlaying the worn, now machined area with a good piece of high quality cast iron, OR you could pull the head stock off and machine (with a mill or planer) the head stock's ways further to match the estimated tail stock's wear.
    When you get the two centerlines (headstock and tail stock) converging into one laser straight centerline, you will be loving life, guaranteed.
    Imagine the really old guys that just "squared up" a big file with like a 5 degree cutting angle, and then used arm muscle power, to scrape the machines used in the manufacture of the Titanic. Whew!

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    Copy more hints: One is to use a silicon carbide stone (like an inch by an inch, four inches or so long, and dress your stone's filet radius by hand. You can stick a business card into the spinning stone, and get a picture of your stone's radius, and then check the business with a set of cheapoo radius gauges. Trying to dress against a fixed diamond, means moving the table against the diamond, and with the table weighing a whole lot, it is going to be real hard not to crash into the diamond. Every time you messing up the radius, makes another time for dressing the stone. The high dollar Italian crank grinder tables move sideways a lot easier than the Storms, so hand grinding the filet radius starts looking pretty good after you screw up a few times with the fixed position diamond dressers.
    Another is to forget about "touching up" a customer's rear main thrust bearing surface. The couple thousands you take off, will cause some hyper customer to come back and demand a new crank to replace the one you ruined(?)
    Also, do not increase the rod journal's side clearance, to make it pretty, as Mr. self righteous will be in your face claiming another instance of you ruining his crank.
    And be real careful of the polishing belt. Even 400 grit paper, spinning on a crank polisher, will just eat the bearing surface around the oil holes in the journal. I used to use three M style belts to smooth the microscopic saw tooth surface left from grinding, then gently pass a worn out 400 over to finish the job.
    Get your self a good stock of bristle brushes, some ball stone and a good small body diameter grinder to champher the oil holes, and "you" wash the thing before the customer takes delivery. Customers don't always use common sense, and are likely to stick your crank into their block, with out washing it - seen it done.

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    Default Thanks again Turnaround007

    Yesterday I got the tailstock air cylinder freed up, it will retract the spring now with about 16psi.
    I think I understand what you mean about too much pressure, my passion is vintage vehicles,..I can't see a model T crank standing very much end pressure before it distorts.

    To day I m going to tackle the head stock, with a piece of 2" round stock in the chuck I'm having a problem adjusting the runnout out, can't seem to get better that .002"...there seems to be some play for and aft.....hope its not the headstock bearings but I will find out.

    Thanks again, if I am ever in your neck-of-the-woods I hope we can share a beer or some good Kentucky bourbon (my passion)

    Dave Eddie

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    The 2" round stock you are chucking up might not be any rounder than +/- .001" or .002" to start with? The real test of chucks, way wear, and centerlines through head stock and tail stock, is to mount another 2" chunk of stock in the tail stock (along with the 2" chunk you already have in the head stock). Then grind enough off the head stock piece (clamped with the chuck's jaws, but otherwise unsupported by a center or steady rest) to have a fully ground circle. As you finish this grind, don't back off the stone's ("Y" axis, plunge travel wheel, just wind the table away from the head stock, keep the stone spinning (cause the table jerks like heck when you turn the machine off and on), and traverse the stone/carriage down to the tailstock. Gently feed the stone sideways into the 2" stock (that you mounted in the tailstock chuck, while you or your wife smoothly (with constant speed) rotate the tail stock. You have to give the stone time to cut. Do not change the stone's ("Y" axis) plunge wheel. When you have ground the tailstock's piece of stock the full width of the stone, break out a set of micrometers, and record the head stock's (your freshly ground) dimension, next to the tail stock's (freshly ground) dimension. The two sizes should be identical. If not, you can pony up $100,000 for a new Italian crank grinder, OR get to work scraping your head stock bottom and the machine's ways, to dial in the LH and RH centerlines. If you hold your mouth "just right" and stay away from that legal shine long enough, you too can have a super accurate crank grinder. OR you (like the rest of us hill billies) can use a worn out crank grinder, and, by dint of pure operator skill and determination, still grind a pretty good crank. I imagine it might be hard for you, as you probably have one arm in a cast, from hand cranking the old Fords??

    I did rig up a Dumore hand grinder clamped to the table, so that it reached into the insides (clamping surface) of both chucks. I finally realized the jaws needed to be squeezing down onto something to center the jaws into whatever scroll channel/grove that they operated in. So I ginned up a small ring and placed it at the inner most edge of the jaws, and tightened the jaws against that ring. Then I ground the rest of the chuck's clamping area. After that, I went in by hand and removed the untouched area that was covered by my homemade ring.
    Last edited by Turnaround007; 01-14-2020 at 09:33 AM.

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    It might have blown by you, but remember about dressing the stone by traversing across the diamond pretty quickly, I would say in the order of ten seconds or so for a one inch thick stone. If you dress too slowly, the stone will not cut well, will grind out of round, and will leave burn marks in the bearing surface of the ground work. Flood the diamond with coolant and have at it. If you are making a terrible rough bearing surface, slow down a little on your dressing/stone sweep across the diamond.

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    When you start grinding cranks, one of the tools you should place where you can grab it quickly is a GOOD flashlight. And if you are anywhere near as old as I am, get a eye doctor's prescription for a pair of glasses that have the correct focal length for the distance between where your eye is (while standing in front of the Storm), and where the stone is touching the crank. You have to use the flashlight (and good glasses) to see how close the side of the stone is to the side of the crank to avoid banging into the cheek (or whatever) and causing the stone to "ring". If you experience a crash like this, you will most likely have to go to the next undersize to fix the mess.
    Another lesson that you probably have no concept about, is to believe the Arnold gauge, and to continue grinding to the Arnold gauge's zero mark, without stopping and miking at a thou or so before your finished size. I can see a person wanting to double check before final size, but that is a mistake in this case. The Arnold gauge accumulates a film of sludge on the indicator's surfaces, and will give a slightly undersize journal, but will repeat time after time, If you stop to check before final size, you disturb the sludge, and it "game over" for the Arnold gauge giving a good accurate reading. Do remember to grind about .0003" large, because that is about how much sludge will be under the Arnold gauge thimbles. Otherwise, when you get through grinding to the Arnold gauge's zero, and when you wipe the finished journal off to mike it, you will be undersize by about .0003"
    You should be getting the feeling by now, that crank grinding is an art and not a science, at least for us guys that do not have the super deluxe grinders. We can still produce good work though, so go for it.

    As a credential, our shop's raggy old Storm and Van Norman grinders, did the crank for our own fuel dragster, which went out and became the World's fastest Chevy powered dragster in 1961-2-3, some where in there, I can't remember exactly when, but it was a 327" small block, stroked 1/4" and running 40% nitromethane and a stock GMC 671 blower, First Chevy to go 180 MPH in the quarter mile. We were famous for two weeks before someone else went faster. My, isn't fame fleeting?
    Last edited by Turnaround007; 01-14-2020 at 08:18 AM.

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    S'plain that "Y" axis on a crankshaft grinding machine for us noobs.

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    I am calling the table's traverse from the left hand direction (head stock side where the belt drives the chuck) to the right hand side of the grinder (where the tail stock normally holds the flywheel flange of a crank) the "X" axis.

    Then I am calling the stone's travel from the rear ward position (stone is at rest and not cutting anything) to the front, or business end, as the stone is cutting into the crank) the "Y" axis.

    There isn't a "Z" axis, (up and down) like a milling machine would have.

    Someone please tell me that they interpreted my user name (turnaround007) as "turn a round crankshaft journal as in regrinding a crankshaft."

    In the primeval past, crankshafts were "turned" (cut or machined) in lathes. Later on, crankshafts were "ground" in cylindrical (sp?) grinders. Later still, someone developed specialty cylindrical grinders that we now call "crankshaft grinders." So "turn a crank" is not just slang or colloquial, bad language. And "grind a crank" is not totally correct, or is all inclusive when re-machining the journal surfaces of a crank. Just saying.

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    Little note about polishing a crank after you grind it. I imagine most folks have an electric motor powered crank shaft polisher of some sort, I went through several, and finally realized how badly they could wallow out the center of a perfectly fine rod journal. Two inch wide sand paper belts are deadly. You can get a full thou sanded off the center of a rod journal in just a couple revolution of the crank, especially if you are using a new sandpaper belt. I ultimately cut all wide sandpaper belts down to 3/4" widths. I floated back and forth sideways across the rod journals, to finish polishing the journals. I never, ever, ever touched a crank journal with a new sandpaper belt. Only use well worn, 400 grit belts. I cut some belts to 1/8" or so, and worked on the filets of rod journals. This will be poignant to anyone that doesn't have the exact width stone for the width of the journal. If the rod journal is 2" wide and you only have a 1 7/8" stone, you make do, and grind down one side of the journal real close to final size, the sweep to the other side (use that flashlight and glasses) and try to take the last couple of ten thousandths off. Forget about grinding to final and then sweeping across. Ain't going to happen as the carriage jerks around too much, and you will eat the journal. You will leave a ridge on one side of the rod bearing surface,(can't be helped), but the 1/8" polishing belt can render that ridge down to usable.
    I even turned the belts inside out, and used white or red rouge on the back sides of the belts. And, as the hand held crank polishers do tend to get away from you once in awhile, and they spray crud towards the back of the grinder, I polished cranks in a junk lathe, trying to save my grinders from getting even more trash deposited into the coolant supply. Every once in a while, the polisher would get away from me, and whack the edges of my junker lathe, but better than me whacking my sacred crank grinders.
    Try the cork/slightly abrasive crank polishing belts, and also try the 3M style (several grain structures available).
    Always condition new 400 grit belts by grinding scrap pieces of either cast iron or steel, before working on a reground crank. Don't ever use 320 or 240 grit polishing belts on good cranks. Champher the oil holes with a 1/2" or so, round ball stone and a high speed grinder. Then GENTLY polish the freshly reground crank. Run small bottle brushes through the crank's oil holes, being aware that you are raising burrs at the top edge of the oil hole, but those burrs should be down in the champhered area of the oil hole far enough not likely to damage the rod or main bearings.
    Please, please clean the crank with a wash tank, good brush, bottle brushes, and mineral spirits. Mineral spirits are the least damaging (but still not good) to your hands. Finish off by squirting all ground surfaces with some good quality, light oil (gun smith, spray can, "Rem Oil" comes to mind), then bag and seal the crank in a plastic bag. The oily atmosphere inside the sealed bag will keep the crank usable for years. Tear the bag and you get rust.

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    On the 15A special, which lever activates the tail spool rotation lock?,...the pin that is activated by a small air cylinder to stop the rotating assembly from turning? On my machine this is not operating.
    I can see there is an elect solenoid valve in the air supply line, but without a wiring diagram I'm not sure what activates the valve to extend and retract.

    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turnaround007 View Post
    I am calling the table's traverse from the left hand direction (head stock side where the belt drives the chuck) to the right hand side of the grinder (where the tail stock normally holds the flywheel flange of a crank) the "X" axis.

    Then I am calling the stone's travel from the rear ward position (stone is at rest and not cutting anything) to the front, or business end, as the stone is cutting into the crank) the "Y" axis.

    There isn't a "Z" axis, (up and down) like a milling machine would have.

    Someone please tell me that they interpreted my user name (turnaround007) as "turn a round crankshaft journal as in regrinding a crankshaft."

    In the primeval past, crankshafts were "turned" (cut or machined) in lathes. Later on, crankshafts were "ground" in cylindrical (sp?) grinders. Later still, someone developed specialty cylindrical grinders that we now call "crankshaft grinders." So "turn a crank" is not just slang or colloquial, bad language. And "grind a crank" is not totally correct, or is all inclusive when re-machining the journal surfaces of a crank. Just saying.

    You are trying to apply vertical mill axes to the wrong machine. A cylindrical grinder, which is basically what a crank grinder is, has 2. The axis of the crankshaft rotation is "Z". The wheel slide is "X".

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    When the journal that you are grinding, is becoming larger on LH side (or RH side, let's say LH for this example), we will call that taper. Taper is caused by wear on the tail stock"s bottom surface in combination with wear on the table's ways under the tail stock. To quickly fix a tapered journal, while you still have a few thousands left to grind, you can loosen the big nut/bolt that is dead center under the table (it is located dead center going from left to right, and from back to front. Secondly, you will have to loosen and retighten the table's clamp bolt before rotating the table. This clamp bolt is located on the right hand side of the table, inches from the table end or edge. As I had I swing my table back or forth on nearly every crank (to eliminate "taper") To speed things up, I torched out a heavy duty pair of brackets, and drilled and tapped the RH edge of my table, to make a kind of micrometer clamp/adjuster for rotating my table. And as previously stated, I used my "home-made chart" that noted how many thousands of table rotation was needed to eliminate say .0005" journal (sideways) taper.
    If you don't have a mental image about where these two bolts are located on your table, imagine just setting a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood down onto a huge work table. Then drilling a hole dead center into the plywood, and putting a pivot screw through the hole and into the work table. You could spin (I call it "rotate") the plywood around the pivot screw like the 4 x 8 plywood was a propeller. To clamp the plywood (our imaginary 4' x 8' propeller) tightly against the work table, you would drill the RH side of the plywood, drill and thread the work table, and clamp the plywood and table tightly together. After any taper adjustments, you would retighten the RH side clamp bolt and the center pivot bolt.
    This is how the top and bottom halves of your Storm's table are manufactured. Center pivot bolt, and RH side table clamping bolt. I have to confess that I left the center "pivot bolt" just a tad loose, and relied on my homemade RH side clamp bolt to keep everything tight, but eventually you burn time, and just have to "get on with the job."

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    Never said I was a machinist, or was educated, although I do have two shoes that I wear regularly, and the folks did have indoor plumbing. I am just saying that I ground a whole lot of cranks, using a second hand Storm Vulvan 15A-Special and a Van Norman. I never actually got to talk to anyone else that had a clue about grinding cranks, so my terminology is probably way off. My bad.

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    It just occurred to me that you are trying to "rotate" the tail stock (from possibly me talking about eliminating rod journal taper. Think bigger, you rotate the whole table that has both head stock and tail stock. Reason is: the tail stock's/ways wear causes the centerline through the head stock and tail stock to wander off some where weird. It should be exactly parallel (zero mintues and zero seconds) to the centerline of the grind stone's mandrel. Because of wear, it is not, and because we have not decided to scrape the ways to correct wear and parallelism, we can fix taper by rotating the table which moves radially compared to the grind stone, which is not connected to the table thus it stays put, that way we eliminate taper but only for that tail stock position. As soon as we move the tail stock (assuming no tailstock scraping) we are back to the centerline through the head stock and through the tail stock to be off parallel to the centerline of the grind stone's mandrel, and we are back to grinding tapered rod journals. Does that help?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turnaround007 View Post
    I never actually got to talk to anyone else that had a clue about grinding cranks, so my terminology is probably way off. My bad.
    Did you drive the mouse motor ? You could talk to Sammy Hale, who has ground a crank or two and also put his foot down in a front-engine fueller ...


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