Surface grinding is a versatile technique that is used across a range of industries and applications. 


What is surface grinding, how exactly does it work and where can it be applied?

What is meant by surface grinding?


Surface grinding is a finishing process that is used to smooth the surface of a material to give it a finished, more refined look. The process is generally used to improve the surface finish of components and to achieve an accurate fit between machine parts. Surface grinding is valued for its ability to achieve an exacting surface quality and a high degree of geometric precision. This is essential in industries where a high degree of accuracy is required.


What are the four types of surface grinding?


There are four common types of surface grinding machines:


Peripheral Grinding


In peripheral grinding, the workpiece is ground on its periphery or outer surface. This will typically be used to create flat surfaces but will sometimes be used to create contoured surfaces. The grinding wheel will be positioned parallel to the surface of the workpiece.


Creep Feed Grinding


Creep feed grinding enables the depth of the cut to be increased while the feed rate is decreased. This makes it a valuable technique for machining more intricate forms into a wide variety of materials.

Horizontal Spindle Peripheral Grinding


In this type of surface grinding the grinding wheel is positioned on a horizontal spindle and moves along the workpiece’s surface. This is commonly used to achieve flat and parallel surfaces.

Vertical Spindle & Rotary Table Peripheral Grinding


This type of surface grinding will typically be used for parts with circular or irregular shapes. The workpiece is mounted on a rotary table that rotates beneath a vertical spindle-mounted grinding wheel. As the workpiece rotates the grinding wheel moves along its surface.

How to do surface grinding


Surface grinding is a precise process that requires care and attention from the set-up through to cleaning and finishing. It’s also essential that proper safety precautions are taken.


Here’s a brief run through of how you should approach the surface grinding process:

  • Setting Up


Firstly, select the workpiece you intend to grind ensuring that it’s clean and free of any debris or contaminants. Your choice of grinding wheel will be based on the workpiece material and the desired finish.

  • Machine Selection


As explored above, surface grinding can be done on various machines. Your choice of machine will depend on the degree of precision required, as well as the size and shape of the workpiece.

  • Safety Precautions


Before you begin the grinding process it’s essential to take the necessary safety precautions. Safety glasses and hearing protection should be worn, and proper ventilation and dust collection systems should be in place. This is to ensure that grinding dust and debris are removed from the work area.

  • Grinding Process


The grinding wheel rotates at high speeds and is lowered to make contact with the workpiece. The grinding wheel removes material from the workpiece surface as it rotates. The workpiece is fed back and forth under the rotating grinding wheel to achieve the desired effect. To reduce the risk of overheating, coolant is used during the grinding process. This helps to achieve a better finish.

  • Measuring & Inspection


During the process, the operator may stop the machine to measure the dimensions of the workpiece or to inspect its surface. This is to check the surface quality and to make any necessary adjustments. The operator will then continue grinding if necessary until the desired surface finish and dimensions are achieved.

  • Cleaning & Finishing


After the grinding process has been completed the workpiece is removed from the machine and is cleaned to remove any debris. Further finishing processes such as polishing may be required to achieve the desired surface finish.

  • Quality Control


Finally, the product will be thoroughly inspected to ensure that it meets the necessary specifications and quality standards.


What is the difference between machining and surface grinding?


Machining is a broad term that can encompass a range of techniques such as milling, turning, drilling and grinding. Surface grinding is a precision machining process used to grind flat and parallel surfaces. It’s a more specialised process that’s used when high degrees of precision and finish quality are required.


What are the risks of surface grinding?


As with any machining process surface grinding does carry some risks and should be carried out carefully and using the correct equipment. Surface grinding risks can include machine hazards, debris, vibrations, burns and electrical issues.


High-Quality Grinding Machines from Sparx


If you’re looking for a high-quality grinding machine then Sparx Machine Tools can help. Our range can help you enhance precision and productivity in your operations.


At Sparx, our experienced team are always on hand to advise about surface grinding machines and safe practice.


To find out more call us on 01202 830840 or complete the contact form and we will get back to you.

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