would sharpening mill bits be profitable?
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  1. #1
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    Default would sharpening mill bits be profitable?

    i got the Dawson and Cuttermaster setup to sharpen my own but i am wondering about the marketability of the service

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    From my own experience, only on 3/4" and up... maybe. Carbide is relatively cheap now, so resharpening is relegated to large cutters, or the cheapest of the cheap.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Main View Post
    i got the Dawson and Cuttermaster setup to sharpen my own but i am wondering about the marketability of the service

    Sharpen anything you have a hundred times and figure your hours. It's not rocket science. But I would go with the 3/4" and up.

    Specials are worth it, but rare.

    I once had a job of making "plastic cups" for proto type electronics packaging.
    The original method was to set the length and bore the recess with an end cutting boring bare. Simple geometry, but the tolerances were tight. .001

    A cutter grinder shop I was familiar with set me up with a simple plunge using a modified end mill.
    It must have take 10 tries to get the bottom angle right to accommodate material flex.

    That job bought the house I live in today, and all for a couple hundred bucks worth of " sharped end mills"! (and my time ;-)

    OH! I still have a few of the "specials" in my box. Not a lot of call for them, but they bring a happy smile every time I pull one from it's sleeve looking for something else. I often wonder how that guy made out over the years. ....Sharpening shops come and go.

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    WTF is a mill bit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ H View Post
    WTF is a mill bit?
    It goes in the Mill's mouth, and is connected to the reins.

    Seems to me that the competition, the pro shops sharpening end mills, are using quarter million dollar cnc grinders from Switzerland or Germany, and the speed, quality, and variety they can sharpen is tough to compete with, unless what you are planning on is working for peanuts, and making up in quantity what you lose on every one...
    And most commercial shops offer recoating after sharpening, too, if you want it Also pretty tough to compete with.

    Unless you have some local customers who need quick turnaround, and are willing to pay a premium for it.

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    My vote is NO.

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    You can make more money sharpening "Mill Bits" by using a Drill Dr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    ...the pro shops sharpening end mills, are using quarter million dollar cnc grinders from Switzerland or Germany, and the speed, quality, and variety they can sharpen is tough to compete with
    ^^^X2^^^ They can actually regrind the flute and restore the hook, which can't be done on a traditional emdmill sharpener like a Darex. Because we no longer use HSS endmills I bought a diamond wheel for ours, but discovered you just can't achieve like-new cutting performance sharpening a 1/2 inch tool. It would've been a lifesaver back when we used Bridgeports and bought war-surplus endmills at the scrapyard, but regrinding has become something we send out. And even then only if it's 3/4 inch.

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    We only send out larger endmills and specials for regrind. Typically they dont work as well as original and the time having someone go through them just isnt worth it. Recently I have been involved with using some SAE porting tools. We will send those out for regrind but most likely if it is something we continue to do we will transition to inserted porting tools. Otherwise I think the market might be better for form tools / step drills.....but even that seems to be going away quickly.

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    Depends on how much per hour you want to make. At $10 per hour for sure there is work out there to be found.
    Runs will likely be very small so just processing a order may be more time then that grind.
    The next machine up is the Cinci tool and cutter grinder which is quick and dirty and easier for this type work.
    The bigger cnc stuff mostly does carbide unless some huge blanket orders on HSS.
    I have know some to get a niche or the right customer and make some actual money doing just what you ask.
    The answer from me is 95% no and 5% yes.

    There is no reason a regrind will not run with new or even better if done correctly. Problem here is that people want cheap regrinds.
    If my outside regrinds did not do this I'd be looking for a better source. Many will accept or allow a lower life on regrinds or holder rebuilds, I do not understand the why.

    Step number one assuming you know how to do the work is how to find customers.
    Thousands of people have tried this and given up. Yet some do pull it off.
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Depends on how much per hour you want to make. At $10 per hour for sure there is work out there to be found.
    Runs will likely be very small so just processing a order may be more time then that grind.
    The next machine up is the Cinci tool and cutter grinder which is quick and dirty and easier for this type work.
    The bigger cnc stuff mostly does carbide unless some huge blanket orders on HSS.
    I have know some to get a niche or the right customer and make some actual money doing just what you ask.
    The answer from me is 95% no and 5% yes.

    There is no reason a regrind will not run with new or even better if done correctly. Problem here is that people want cheap regrinds.
    If my outside regrinds did not do this I'd be looking for a better source. Many will accept or allow a lower life on regrinds or holder rebuilds, I do not understand the why.

    Step number one assuming you know how to do the work is how to find customers.
    Thousands of people have tried this and given up. Yet some do pull it off.
    Bob
    STAR ATG-6AC 6 AXIS CNC TOOL & CUTTER GRINDER | eBay

    Would something like listed above not be the bare minimum to get into regrinds? That is assuming that machine has probing.....I know nothing about tool grinding.

    edit: the listing says it has scales and probing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    STAR ATG-6AC 6 AXIS CNC TOOL & CUTTER GRINDER | eBay

    Would something like listed above not be the bare minimum to get into regrinds? That is assuming that machine has probing.....I know nothing about tool grinding.

    edit: the listing says it has scales and probing
    Oooh...me Likey.
    Put it in a 5th wheel box trailer with a genset over the hitch.

    Drive around a set route, and offer "while you wait cutter grinding" service....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    STAR ATG-6AC 6 AXIS CNC TOOL & CUTTER GRINDER | eBay

    Would something like listed above not be the bare minimum to get into regrinds? That is assuming that machine has probing.....I know nothing about tool grinding.

    edit: the listing says it has scales and probing
    Have no idea 'bout those fancy grinders, but we had a wire edm with robot loader that used probing to determine wire angles for cutting custom woodworking cutter heads and bit. Pretty cool stuff!

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    This is what's popular in China at the moment, except this one is about ten years too old. Hard to sell anything older than 2007. 2012 or so is better.

    Walter Grinders Inc., Helitronic Production, 6-Axis CNC Tool & Cutter Grinder | eBay

    The ANCA's, for some reason, are not as desirable as Walters. Thats pretty much it for popular name brands in commieland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    This is what's popular in China at the moment, except this one is about ten years too old. Hard to sell anything older than 2007. 2012 or so is better.

    Walter Grinders Inc., Helitronic Production, 6-Axis CNC Tool & Cutter Grinder | eBay

    The ANCA's, for some reason, are not as desirable as Walters. Thats pretty much it for popular name brands in commieland.

    I've seen one of those on fire. No bueno.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    I've seen one of those on fire. No bueno.
    That sounds like it could complicate the whole profit thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardplates View Post
    That sounds like it could complicate the whole profit thing
    Or it burns the entire shop and the insurance company buys you all brand new machines.
    Instant update from very, very old and used up equipment to the brand spanking new.
    Newer grinding oils not so much a problem but my insurance company did make me add a built in fire suppression system in a similar type machine as this happened in more than one shop.

    There is still a lot of resharp work done on manuals. All that cnc and probing takes time and tweaking.
    Making new tools from blanks and sharpening the edges of a used tool are much different jobs.
    The Walter is sort of king of the hill in round tools due to many reasons. Part of that history and time.
    Others eating into that market over the last two decades.

    Resharp is low dollar work with bigger overhead cost but it is possible to make a living off of it.
    If this my goal no way I'd be looking at the fancy dancy machines. They absolutely suck at this type work and I do mean like watching corn grow.
    Problem is manual and you need skilled labor which has a price.

    Market and customers. More than one cutting tool shop in Michigan has grown from right where you are.
    Bob

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    If you don't even know what a end-mill is called it is doubtful you will see any to grind...Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Or it burns the entire shop and the insurance company buys you all brand new machines.
    How do you start a flood ?


    There is still a lot of resharp work done on manuals. All that cnc and probing takes time and tweaking.
    I'm wondering if you can't make an entirely new, and better, cutter on the Walter faster than you can resharp an existing dull tool ?

    If you do it for yourself and you're a low-budget operation, I can see having a Cincy in the corner. But for a business ?

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    my machine can do any angle, and yes i know what an end mill is called. This is a real decent rig. between the themac attatchement and the form grinder unit, it will do any angle or helix left or right. even if i never do any sharpening for profit i can do mine. i can also use the rig for a surface grinder. I bought a digital level, and i will use it to set angles on the grinder. i am going to machine a 5c angle set onto a 5 inch chuck adaptor i have, which is currently MT5. Then i will be able to index massive mills and helix cutters. FWIW i also have a Unimat. I can mount it on the surface plate and address it with the die grinder collet set which came with the Themac unit. i can make very tiny gearsets. and if i never use it. well i can if i want.


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