Lathe Tool Post Grinder
The tool post grinder is a portable grinding machine that can be mounted on the compound rest of a lathe in place of the tool post. It can be used to machine work that is too hard to cut by ordinary means or to machine work that requires a very fine finish. Figure 3-29 shows a typical tool post grinder. The grinder must be set on center, as shown in Figure 3-104. The centering holes located on the spindle shaft are used for this purpose. The grinding wheel takes the place of a lathe cutting tool. It can perform most of the operations that a cutting tool is capable of performing. cylindrical, tapered, and internal surfaces can be ground with the tool post grinder. Very small grinding wheels are mounted on tapered shafts known as quills to grind internal surfaces.
Figure 3-104. Aligning tool post grinder.
Selection of Grinding Wheels and Speeds
The grinding wheel speed is changed by using various sizes of pulleys on the motor and spindle shafts. An instruction plate on the grinder gives both the diameter of the pulleys required to obtain a given speed and the maximum safe speed for grinding wheels of various diameters. Grinding wheels are safe for operation at a speed just below the highest recommended speed. A higher than recommended speed may cause the wheel to disintegrate. For this reason, wheel guards are furnished with the tool post grinder to protect against injury. Always check the pulley combinations given on the instruction plate of the grinder when you mount a wheel. Be sure that the combination is not reversed, because this may cause the wheel to run at a speed far in excess of that recommended. During all grinding operations, wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying abrasive material.
Dressing the Grinding Wheel
The grinding wheel must be dressed and trued. Use a diamond wheel dresser to dress and true the wheel. The dresser is held in a holder that is clamped to the drive plate. Set the point of the diamond at center height and at a 10° to 15° angle in the direction of the grinding wheel rotation. The 10° to 15° angle prevents the diamond from gouging the wheel. Lock the lathe spindle by placing the spindle speed control lever in the low RPM position.
NOTE: The lathe spindle does not revolve when you are dressing the grinding wheel.
Remove the diamond dresser holder as soon as the dressing operation is completed. Bring the grinding wheel in contact with the diamond by carefully feeding the cross slide by hand. Move the wheel clear of the diamond and make a cut by means of the cross slide. The maximum depth of cut is 0.002 inch. Move the wheel slowly by hand back and forth over the point of the diamond. Move the carriage if the face of the wheel is parallel to the way of the lathe. Move the compound rest if the face of the wheel is at an angle. Make the final depth of cut of 0.0005 inch with a slow, even feed to obtain a good wheel finish.
Before you begin the grinding operation, cover the ways with a heavy piece of paper or use a shallow pan of water placed on the ways to collect the grinding dust that will accumulate from the grinding. This is to ensure none of the grinding burns to the ways or gets under the carriage which will cause the lathe premature wear. If you use a piece of paper, pay close attention that the sparks from the grinding operation do not cause the paper to ignite. Ifyou use a shallow pan of water, make sure water is not spilled on the ways of the lathe. After all grinding operations, thoroughly clean and oil the lathe to remove any grinding dust that the paper pan of water missed.
Grinding Feeds, Speeds, and Depth of Cuts
Rotate the work at a fairly low speed during the grinding operations. The recommended surface foot speed is 60 to 100 FPM. The depth of cut depends upon the hardness of the work, the type of grinding wheel, and the desired finish.
Never take grinding cuts deeper than 0.002 inch Use a fairly low rate of feed, You will soon be able to judge whether the feed should be increased or decreased. Never stop the rotation of the work or the grinding wheel while they are in contact with each other.
Marking Position of Lathe Centers
Tool post grinders are often used to refinish damaged lathe centers. If the lathe is to be used for turning between centers in the near future, grind the tailstock center first, then the headstock center. Leave the headstock center in position for the turning operation. This method provides the greatest degree of accuracy. If you must remove the headstock center in order to perform other operations, marks placed on the headstock center, the sleeve, and the center will enable you to install them in the same position they were in when the center was ground. This will ensure the greatest degree of accuracy for future operations involving turning work between centers.
Setup for Grinding Lathe Centers
To refinish a damaged lathe center, you should first install headstock and tailstock centers after ensuring that the spindle holes, drill sleeves, and centers are clean and free of burrs. Next, position the compound rest parallel to the ways; then, mount the tool post grinder on the compound rest. Make sure that the grinding wheel spindle is at center height and aligned with the lathe centers. Move the compound rest 30° to the right of the lathe spindle axis, as shown in Figure 3-40. Mount the wheel dresser, covering the ways and carriage with rags to protect them from abrasive particles. Wear goggles to protect your eyes.
Grinding Lathe Centers
Start the grinding motor. Turn it on and off alternately, but let it run a bit longer each time, until the abrasive wheel is brought up to top speed. Dress the wheel, feeding the grinder with the compound rest. Then move the grinder clear of the headstock center and remove the wheel dresser. Set the lathe for the desired spindle speed and engage the spindle. Pick up the surface of the center. Take a light depth of cut and feed the grinder back and forth with the compound rest. Do not allow the abrasive wheel to feed entirely off the center. Continue taking additional cuts until the center cleans up. To produce a good finish, reduce the feed rate and the depth of cut to 0.0005. Grind off the center's sharp point, leaving a flat with a diameter about 1/32 inch. Move the grinder clear of the headstock and turn it off.
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- Machining Handbook - adapted from the US Army's Handbook "Fundamentals of Machine Tools"
- Chapter 1. Introduction to the Machine Shop
- Chapter 2. Properties, Identification and Heat Treatment of Metals
- Chapter 3. Lathes
- Chapter 4. Milling Operations
- Chapter 5. Milling, Grinding, Drilling And Slotting Attachments
- Chapter 6. Drilling Machines
- Chapter 7. Sawing Machines
- Chapter 8. Grinding Machines
- Chapter 9. Portable Machine Tools