A grinding machine, often shortened to grinder, is a power tool (or machine tool) used for grinding. It is a type of machining using an abrasive wheel as the cutting tool. Each grain of abrasive on the wheel’s surface cuts a small chip from the workpiece via shear deformation.
Grinding is used to finish workpieces that must show high surface quality (e.g., low surface roughness) and high accuracy of shape and dimension. As the accuracy in dimensions in grinding is of the order of 0.000025 mm, in most applications it tends to be a finishing operation and removes comparatively little metal, about 0.25 to 0.50 mm depth. However, there are some roughing applications in which grinding removes high volumes of metal quite rapidly. Thus, grinding is a diverse field.
The grinding machine consists of a bed with a fixture to guide and hold the workpiece, and a power-driven grinding wheel spinning at the required speed. The speed is determined by the wheel’s diameter and manufacturer’s rating. The grinding head can travel across a fixed workpiece, or the work piece can be moved while the grind head stays in a fixed position.
Fine control of the grinding head or table position is possible using a vernier calibrated hand wheel, or using the features of numerical controls.
Grinding machines remove material from the workpiece by abrasion, which can generate substantial amounts of heat. To cool the workpiece so that it does not overheat and go outside its tolerance, grinding machines incorporate a coolant. The coolant also benefits the machinist as the heat generated may cause burns. In high-precision grinding machines (most cylindrical and surface grinders), the final grinding stages are usually set up so that they remove about 200 nm (less than 1/10000 in) per pass – this generates so little heat that even with no coolant, the temperature rise is negligible.
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