'TOS' Surface grinder experience/feedback?
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  1. #1
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    Default 'TOS' Surface grinder experience/feedback?

    Hey all!
    I have been looking for a surface grinder for my shop, preferably something well built and a little larger than the small grinders that seem most common. Ideally I'd be looking for a CNC grinder, but they seem relatively uncommon (and expensive!) so I'm looking at hydraulic grinders for the most part.

    I just came across a 'TOS - Hostivar' brand surface grinder, model number BPH300. It has 300x1000mm travels with a 12x36" chuck on it. From photos the condition looks reasonable, and the price is more than reasonable. Owner says his dad bought it and that it grinds flat, and works fine except for one of the travel stops sometimes not actuating correctly. I don't know what year this machine was made in, but it has 'Made in CSSR' stamped on it, so my rough guess is sometime in the 80s.

    Does anyone have any experience with these machines? Are they well built, easy to run? Simple to maintain?

    I'm certainly happy to put some work into it given the price, but I don't want to spend too much time polishing a turd! (No jokes about my Fadal here please )

    I am a complete novice when it comes to grinding, so apart from listening for spindle bearing noise and visually assessing the condition of the ways and so on I am going to be far out of my depth inspecting this machine. Grinding is a skill that I very much want to pick up though, and I'm looking for the right machine that I can learn on and that I won't outgrow any time soon.

    Owner says he can run it for me to demonstrate, any tips on things I should be looking for when inspecting would be welcomed!

    Thanks guys!
    -Aaron

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    Some photos of the machine:




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    On a surface grinder always check table ways as the reciprocating action will gall the ways real quick if lube isnt done

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    Can't speak for that grinder, but my experience with TOS lathes and mills of that generation has been nothing but positive. Well built, easy to maintain machines.

    L7

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    I also have heard good things about the brand, but have no idea about the machine. I see the straight-edge to the left of the machine. Is the owner a machine rebuilder? A good thing about the grinder I see it has an exhaust vacuum and looks like an overhead dresser...all good things. Like the guys said move the ways out as far as you can and look at the ways. If the oil tank is inside the base, remove a cover and reach into the oil and feel for crud. If the machine is still plugged in, then run it. Listen to the hydraulic pump. It should be a steady sound and not interrupted noise as that could be an air leak, Buy a automobile stethoscope and listen to the spindle after it runs a while, shut it off and hen see if the noise is smooth and no growling as it slows down.

    Get a flat piece of cold roll bar stock about 1/2 thick, 2" wide and 3' long. Lay it on the mag chuck every 6" and turn on the magnet and see if you can lift off the bar. Then turn on the demag and see if it has a pumping action...on and offf, on and off...and finally the bar can be lifted off. It looks like the wheels on the wall are dressed at an angle. If it does the dresser is an angle dresser. Be sure to get it and the extra wheels, a wheel balancer. But the best thing you need to get if you buy it, is have the owner teach you to run it. :-)

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    " TOS " made decent quality machines back in the day. I think they are still in business over there. You may even still be able to get spare parts for it. I'd prefer a machine that size to have flood coolant myself rather than a dust extractor. Parts you are grinding can soon get hot on grinders. That makes grinding accurately to size a bit of a guessing game.

    The overhead wheel dresser is very handy.

    My favourite surface grinder brand was always " Churchill ". Absolutely bullet proof design and manufacture but unfortunately the last one was probably built in around 1980 so even a late one will be around 40 years old.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    No idea on the surface grinder, I have a TOS universal grinder built in 1967. Its a very well built machine.
    If its been half looked after it should be fine.

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    The 'TOS' name covered lots of czech companies (please excuse spelling) Tos omouruk being mills and still going and TOS trencin being lathes and still going. I doubt the grinding division is going.

    My favourite grinders are snow and Churchill. Found lumsden to be reliable in a production environment tool

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    " TOS " made decent quality machines back in the day. I think they are still in business over there. You may even still be able to get spare parts for it. I'd prefer a machine that size to have flood coolant myself rather than a dust extractor. Parts you are grinding can soon get hot on grinders. That makes grinding accurately to size a bit of a guessing game.

    The overhead wheel dresser is very handy.

    My favourite surface grinder brand was always " Churchill ". Absolutely bullet proof design and manufacture but unfortunately the last one was probably built in around 1980 so even a late one will be around 40 years old.

    Regards Tyrone.
    It looks like there is coolant guarding too and a coolant outlet. I would doubt a rebuilder would grind parts with-out coolant. I also think the bigger the better when it comes to grinders...lol...(now stop what your thinking you pervs..lol)

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    Thanks very much for all the feedback so far guys! I believe I will go out and inspect the machine tomorrow night, given there have been no negative comments about the brand and so on. The owner seems like a decent guy and for the price it's a good deal even if it works but is a bit worn out.

    I looked up TOS-Hostivar and it turns out they are still in business: About the company | TOS Hostivař

    I have sent their service department an email asking about spare parts, and also requesting a copy of the parts and service manuals. Will be interesting to hear back from them!

    Thank-you for the inspection tips Richard, I will do as suggested and will also have the owner run the machine for me so I can watch and see the results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pressbrake1 View Post
    The 'TOS' name covered lots of czech companies (please excuse spelling) Tos omouruk being mills and still going and TOS trencin being lathes and still going. I doubt the grinding division is going.

    My favourite grinders are snow and Churchill. Found lumsden to be reliable in a production environment tool
    TOS Varnsdorf made Hor Bores.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    I went out and inspected the machine last night...

    The good:
    - All the ways still seem to be getting oil
    - Spindle sounds very smooth
    - Moving all axes by hand is very smooth
    - Looks like there is some wear at the very ends of the ways, but closer to the middle looks pretty good, lots of the original flaking left
    - Oil in the sump was clear, there was some sludge in the bottom of the sump, but not a whole lot
    - Price is right!

    The ugly:
    - The hydraulic traverse won't go to the right for some reason. When you turn the traverse on it goes left, the stop hits the reversal switch and it keeps going. I think there's an issue with the valve or something electrical

    Photos:
















    The original spec sheet for the machine is pictured above, I made the images clickable for full size if you want to read through the specs.

    Do you guys see anything that should be a show-stopper? Everything looked pretty reasonable to me unless I'm missing something. I definitely see some wear on the ways, but I can't quite tell the magnitude of it.

    The owner is a very nice guy, we ended up just chatting for a few hours.

    Thanks!
    -Aaron

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    Btw, if you guys are interested in some of the other machinery he had I made a post over in the classifieds: FS: Deckel Pantograph, Cincinatti Hydro-Tel, Pratt and Whitney Slotter, tooling, etc.

    There's some really beautiful big old machines in there, especially the Cincinatti Hydro-Tel! I hope they go to a good home!

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    It s a good machine if in good condition. One can check with tickle blocks set about the chuck if the chuck has been trued..
    Or with: shim a good straight parallel long and short travel to see if flat at travel.

    Good taking to owner/user as that person should be able to tell you how true it might grind.

    Wheel type can be important as some wheels are expensive and some hard to find.. looks like the grinder has extra wheels.. Good.

    If your work needs tenths grinding the choose wisely.

    Often the front of the chuck is least used so a good area to do some testing.

    Another test it to indicate the chuck travel from the head stock(spindle area) note that.. then blue a straight parallel on the chuck to see if the machine ground the chuick flat at last chuck dress.

    Big wheels are expensive to dress for radiuses and forms so do consider what work you intend..

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    You said price is right? How much ? We are not about to go rip you off. Be sure to drain the sump before taking it home. Would hate to see oil on the highway. Did you give it the stiff test in the electrical cabinet? Look in there and see if the owner has tried to rewire it? What does he say happened to it? What about the camelback straight-edge on the left side on table? Is he a rebuilder? Does he have any scraping tools? See if the owner has and employee or knows someone who is a Machine Tool electrician. It's a different animal the a house electrician.

    Your probably right about a bad solenoid or sticky valve, could be a blown heater or fuse. Bad wire.. How about transportation costs? Have a place to put it? Heated area? Can you unload it? Have enough electrical power? A lot to think about. But if you can buy it for 1000.00 or less you have a deal. If he is a scraper, I would pull the table off at his shop and have him scrape the ways for new oil pockets. One or 2 passes in both directions won't change the geometry but will let the machine run for a few more years and not get galled up. Check out the Sticky on top of Machine Reconditioning Forum by Ballen where he had the ways looking lightly worn and he gave it 2 cuts to make new oil pockets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    You said price is right? How much ? We are not about to go rip you off. Be sure to drain the sump before taking it home. Would hate to see oil on the highway. Did you give it the stiff test in the electrical cabinet? Look in there and see if the owner has tried to rewire it? What does he say happened to it? What about the camelback straight-edge on the left side on table? Is he a rebuilder? Does he have any scraping tools? See if the owner has and employee or knows someone who is a Machine Tool electrician. It's a different animal the a house electrician.

    Your probably right about a bad solenoid or sticky valve, could be a blown heater or fuse. Bad wire.. How about transportation costs? Have a place to put it? Heated area? Can you unload it? Have enough electrical power? A lot to think about. But if you can buy it for 1000.00 or less you have a deal. If he is a scraper, I would pull the table off at his shop and have him scrape the ways for new oil pockets. One or 2 passes in both directions won't change the geometry but will let the machine run for a few more years and not get galled up. Check out the Sticky on top of Machine Reconditioning Forum by Ballen where he had the ways looking lightly worn and he gave it 2 cuts to make new oil pockets.
    Hey mate!
    He wants $800 for it, and will store it in his space until I'm ready to move it into my shop, which will be sometime next year after I get a bigger place.

    Regarding the reversal not working correctly, he said it used to be intermittent, then it has gotten worse since it has been sitting without being used. I have heard that oil can run over the contactors in these machines, other owners have fixed this by moving the electronics into an external cabinet.

    The electronics are in the base and I didn't smell anything when I had it open, but I didn't look too closely. Honestly I'm not all worried about the electronics or hydraulics, I am confident in terms of debugging and repairing those!

    From the photos what condition would you say the ways are in? I am a novice with the old school machines, I'm used to linear rails

    He is not sure what the straight-edge was used for... His dad had it for some reason. It needs some TLC as it has rusted on the face, but I believe that might be coming along with the grinder. As well as all the used wheels he has, and some brand new ones. The machine also has a functioning overhead dresser and coolant tank, he is throwing in a few gallons of new coolant as well. No angle dresser to be found unfortunately, only a tangent dresser that I don't have any use for. I will exclusively be using the machine to grind flat parts.

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    A machine of that size will be a good friend

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    Most old grinders have wear at the ends of the ways.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    What a DEAL!!!! Make sure to get a receipt for it incase he gets hit by a Mack Truck. Or put a tag on it saying sold and paid to your name and date. The ways are close to getting stick slip and I would recommend you read this thread if you haven't already. fast forward to post 24.
    Studer RHU 450 from the 1960s

    Where in Canada are you? Maybe there are some Practical Machinist Members willing to come and help. Ontario is a big province. Or does this guy have room to do a class? Maybe we could do one up there next spring or summer? Rich :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    What a DEAL!!!! Make sure to get a receipt for it incase he gets hit by a Mack Truck. Or put a tag on it saying sold and paid to your name and date. The ways are close to getting stick slip and I would recommend you read this thread if you haven't already. fast forward to post 24.
    Studer RHU 450 from the 1960s

    Where in Canada are you? Maybe there are some Practical Machinist Members willing to come and help. Ontario is a big province. Or does this guy have room to do a class? Maybe we could do one up there next spring or summer? Rich :-)
    Yeah that is what I thought too.. I have been keeping quiet on the price because I didn't want that to affect the assesment of the machine's condition!

    I will hopefully have a larger shop late next year and would love to host a scraping class there if that's something you would like to do!


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