End mill sharpening / universal grinder machine.
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  1. #1
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    Default End mill sharpening / universal grinder machine.

    Greetings,
    I'd like to add the ability to sharpen our own end mills, both HHS and carbide to the shop.
    I have absolutely no experience with this process. Could someone recommend a good new make and model? With all the imports, I got confused (more than normal) pretty fast.
    Like I said, I'm looking for HHS and Carbide, flat and ball nose ability.
    Thanks in advance,
    Gos

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    The Deckel SO seems to be the universal tool grinder by word of mouth. It's a compact machine with a lot of capability but its limited to smaller cutters. If you are careful you can do a pretty good job sharpening end mills HSS and carbide.

    There are several pretty good clones on the market that work as well but being import some will scoff at their very existance. However in my limited experience the official Deckel doesn't functional any better than the better imports (my experience is the Grizzly and Shars versions) and they come better equipped as base machines and cost less than half.

    This is an entry level, tiny shop machine. If you have the budget I suggest you move up to a full size cutter grinder. Pretty hard to beat a Cincinnati or a Grand Rapids if its sufficiently equipped. Or a Brown and Sharpe #13 if you want a cylindrical./internals grinding capability. Brace yourself, these may be quite expensive.

    I suggest you look under "cutter grinders" on eBay and Google your findings to further your education,

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    The Darex E-90 end mill sharpener is not a bad machine, and they did sell a ball end attachment for it. They have a built-in air bearing spindle that takes 5C collets and can use diamond, CBN or Alox wheels. But they are discontinued, so you will be looking at used ones.

    I bought several of them and UPS managed to break two because the cast aluminum motor mount is too weak to withstand a drop. So avoid having one shipped to you. They are light enough to easily lift and carry in a car trunk once the legs are removed.

    Darex Endmill Sharpener E-9 E9 | Zoro.com

    I have an Alexander, the English copy of the German Deckel SO. It is fine for sharpening single lip engraving cutters. I would not consider it suitable for general end mill sharpening.

    Larry

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    I have a Deckel SO and it is the machine for single lip cutter grinders. I have a drill sharpening attachment for the SO which will do a good job on twist drills, but it is not the easiest unit to understand and use. Attachments are made for the SO to grind fluted cutters but I think that a well equipped tool and cutter grinder would be what you need.

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    I'll step out and disagree with Forrest on this one.....the Deckel SO is not very useful for end mills unless you rig up an air bearing to it....which afaik is not something they ever came with. I've got one just because they are so well made, but mostly it sits...still waiting for the big flood lip cutters needing sharpening lol.

    If you're not sharpening the periphery, you're not sharpening the endmill. All in my opinion of course, but its a pretty bloody firm one on that matter. Unless you are plunging its the sides that do the work, get dull and need sharpening.

    It can be done without an air bearing, but so can driving a mack truck without power steering. Definitely go for something with an air bearing. Either a full sized T&CG with a bearing or benchtop. The chevalier knock off of the cutter master is pretty versatile and solid. I had a Darex once, a bit flimsy compared to the Chevalair or cuttermaster, but it works. Actually, the Chevalair is true T&CG and superior to the Cuttermaster in that the column and head is substantial with a full range of motion. Most of the cuttermasters have no colum or a short column....they seem more restricted as a T&CG but are good end mill sharpeners

    Ball nose, you need a special fixture. I've one for the full size T&GC but it gathers a lot of dust, doesn't seem like a bit of tooling that you often see with a T&CG so you may be searching for awhile if looking for used. Darex had for a while a radius fixture, but it was a POS and everything you read from those who tried it said it didn't work. The Darex I had had the accessory, but I never used it; it did seem hokey. I believe they dropped it. I think there is one for the Chevelair/cutter master as well
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 07-14-2017 at 07:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gos View Post
    Greetings,
    I'd like to add the ability to sharpen our own end mills, both HHS and carbide to the shop.
    I have absolutely no experience with this process.
    There are challenges.

    For the results to be both reliably USEFUL and economically justifiable, re-grinding endmills needs:

    - more machinery, more wheels, and waaay to Hell and gone more fixtures and accessories than anyone but a professional regrind shop is likely to have.

    - the experience at using it all accurately and well, all-day, every day.

    - fast enough the labour costs don't make a regrind more costly than a new endmill.

    That last part is HARD, even for a pro, at much under 3/4".

    In-house Deckel/Alexander/Gorton/Lars/Asian-clones at entry, full-general purpose T&C grinders etc, "upscale" - earn their keep more easily on custom grind work to solve edge-case problems where such problems are part of Day Job.

    Common endmills are best sent-out for re-grind.

    Or not-even. Many of the more common endmills in smaller sizes don't cost enough, brand new, to be worth the cost - or time - of a regrind.

    Budget is tight, consider buying decent re-grinds to begin with, and save more than regrinding your own new ones.

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    Thanks for the responses.
    Looks like I'm just going to keep sending them out for sharpening and leave it at that.
    I appreciate the feedback,
    Gos

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    No one mentioned the Cincinnati Monoset. Long out of production, find a good one, ebay or whatever. There is an outfit rebuilding them, in Minnesota I think. Never buy one without all the collets and other bits and pieces it takes to make it work as they are near impossible to find. All that said you can grind an end mill from bar stock if you want. It will grind any end mill, ball or radius corner is easy. it will do a nice job on reamers as well. Need a piloted counterbore right now? make one, easy peasy. You can find a good one well tooled for 15-20,000. You can buy a lot of end mills for that money and not pay the labour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonlight machine View Post
    (Monoset...) You can find a good one well tooled for 15-20,000. You can buy a lot of end mills for that money and not pay the labour.
    Here's a comparison:

    Suppose your shop had to BORROW that 20 large. How many endmills will the interest payments buy each year?

    Here's another:

    Suppose a competent grinder mavin would work for $30,000 a year. And your shop has "only" 100% overhead "burden". How many endmills would 60 large buy a year?

    Now combine the interest and the fully-burdened labour.

    One more:

    How many multi-megabuck corporations sharpen endmills in-house, how many contract that out, how many don't sharpen AT ALL?

    What do you know that they do not know?

    Clear now?

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    I worked in a Toolroom years ago that sharpened the end mills etc for the company.

    I got to know the machine operator pretty well although he was an awkward bugger who wasn't too chatty regarding the job. I watched how he worked quite often and I'd say end-mill sharpening isn't the easiest job in the shop. He worked on an old " Jones & Shipman " that had seen better days but he turned out a decent standard of work.

    I think I'm right in saying that in the hierarchy of " British Engineering " tool and cutter grinder was classed a skilled job and the operator was paid the full rate.

    Later on I worked at another medium sized company ( 100 employees, 10 milling machines ) that went through the costing exercise of buying and employing a tool and cutter grinder and as " Monarchist " says they found the figures didn't add up. So they continued to send the work out.

    Regards Tyrone

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    Think the Darex E90 and the Cutmaster look fair with having features I like for OD and end but not for close radius. Yes with hand wheel-dressing and a radius gauge one can run scale size radius (+- .010) ( I have not used a small bench grinder like the two.) Price near $4K is much for just OD and ends IMHO.

    Cinci #2 or a Kolee like will often cost that much and more with adding a good condition air spindle.. Yes you need an air spindle for smalls (< ½ “) The tube type (non Air) is found nowadays for perhaps $300 or so and is Ok for 5/8 and up and it can be use for ends primary with a non tilt head with tilting the lip edge below center even on a surface grinder..But on a surface grinder the operator position makes grinding end mills not as easy as on a TC grinder.

    The Cinci #2, Ko lee, B&S13 grinder and the like can run reamers, drills , gun drills ,reamers, cutters ,cut off, lathe tools and most anything…Work head with index, collect holder, chuck on an arbor, tooth finger bar, and centers basic and the air spindle for end mill ODs.

    Monoset is a very good machine but you need a good one so the spiral works well. The Monoset can make radius and angle cutters that are difficult to impossible with a simple machine. Much a do anything machine but not so much for large mill cutters as the Cinci can do.

    The Royal Oak (and the like) is another machine that can run almost anything. Taper end mills are best made with circular spinning the taper ..then bringing the clearance relief up to a hair land and wipe away the land IMHO.(Yes CNC machine don't need this spin.)

    Still machining makes more money than sharpening so a good local grinding shop can be almost as good as having a sharpening machine…

    but having a sharpening machine is an asset if you use it and not just let it set..Just a precision cut off job makes a TC grinder pay for itself.

    Still a shop having a surface grinder, lathe and mill for maintenance, should have a TC grinder for the hot job that might close production..
    CNC out source sharpening for simple work is very expensive and often way over kill. *And one or few-up specials are way too costly..

    *Good to free download the Cinci handbook for grinding ideas no matter what grinder or cutters you are considering...It gives good ideas for even grinding parts.

    I paid $1100 for my cinci #2 (an old chain-way long travel perhaps 1937)years ago and made that back in the first two days of use.

    Yes the long travel runs on a chain much like a motorcycle chain that runs in and out of oil..smooth as silk and still accurate..

    in a big shop with a Cinci or the like one man could save the shop $1000 a day with selective grinding mostley doing the easy stuff like reamers, step tools, insert cutter corner bevels, gun drills, hougens and the like... IMHO.

    Yes a big shop and many out source shops likely to have a CNC but the simple stuff is done in the time a CNC can probe the cutter..Yes I ran CNCs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    I worked in a Toolroom years ago that sharpened the end mills etc for the company.

    I got to know the machine operator pretty well although he was an awkward bugger who wasn't too chatty regarding the job. I watched how he worked quite often and I'd say end-mill sharpening isn't the easiest job in the shop. He worked on an old " Jones & Shipman " that had seen better days but he turned out a decent standard of work.

    I think I'm right in saying that in the hierarchy of " British Engineering " tool and cutter grinder was classed a skilled job and the operator was paid the full rate.

    Later on I worked at another medium sized company ( 100 employees, 10 milling machines ) that went through the costing exercise of buying and employing a tool and cutter grinder and as " Monarchist " says they found the figures didn't add up. So they continued to send the work out.

    Regards Tyrone
    In the toolroom of the large company I used to work at there was a guy full time grinding specials pretty much by hand ,he used a tool and cutter grinder to do some of it but backed them off by hand ,I tend to do the same myself for onesy twosy jobs but mine don't turn out as well as his did ,beauty of this method is speed ,I find setting up a tool and cutter grinder is quite time consuming ,especially if you don't do much of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sable View Post
    ... setting up a tool and cutter grinder is quite time consuming ,especially if you don't do much of it.
    That's the rub with more than just T&C grinders if there isn't work for a full-time expert.

    Other than retiree/hobbyists, (guilty as charged...) most of what I call "revenue" shops have to concentrate - and HARD - on whatever part of the trade best pays the bills for where they live and compete.

    That means sending-out many things to OTHER specialists whose prices are in turn kept competitive by the same sort of stresses.

    "Fully capable of ..." under yer own roof can be as much costly luxury as proud independence when the numbers are in.

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    QT: [setting up a tool and cutter grinder is quite time consuming ,especially if you don't do much of it.]

    Agree to that ...the Cinci with work head and a set of centers is less accurate than Nortons, B&Ss and the like, but is perhaps the easiest and fastest machine to set up.. trick often is to ignore the protractor at the table and work head and simple straight edge, over look and eyeball the edge to a sight line and then touch and bump the angle.. often the cutting edge angle can be off a half degree if all lips are near dead on the same.. Tricks like this are the key to fast accurate work.. Who cares if the 20* reamer end angle is 19/20 or 21* (if that is within print)

    Another trick is to Take The Same... on a step tool that came in through inspected and ran once you know the step is correct so you take from the worse step and line up cutters on rows of how much take..perhaps .015 .025 .040 for each row with a quick look at your dial as you grind... Then you take the same form the other lip( lips).. this saves gauging time.. perhaps you only need gauge once and all are in spec of +- .001, +- .003 or +- .015 (the print)

    Might gauge the first tool.. then with a look at the dial you know the feed-in at angle that gives the correct step..then with that you make print with not checking all the rest with reading the dial.. Yes you could trig the number but waste time and may make a mistake.

    With end mills at a sharpening shop one may take all the 1/4s from every each customers tray .. then take all the 3/8s.. putting them back in the proper tray to save changing size at only a few.


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