belt grinder?

Salem Straub

Active Member
Seems to me like some of the best grinding machines available can be fairly easily approximated for a shop-oriented person. The recipe for success is pretty simple to me: rear wheel drive, direct with variable speed, good adjustable tension and tracking, tooling arm design, built solidly. I like the Bader/KMG/GIB types. I built one myself with 3hp VFD, no complaints. It simply does what any other solidly constructed machine of its basic design will do. I built mine for under $500 with some serious scrounging.

Not everyone likes to, or has the time or aptitude to build a grinder. This doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to make knives. We should also consider that not everyone is looking to go pro, and it's a good idea sometimes to test the water before jumping in all the way.

Do I think the TW90 is a great machine? No doubt of that. I'd never recommend buying one to a person that has made less than 20 knives if money was at all an issue, though. I would recommend getting into something well under $1000 or building one. Yes, it's great to learn on a decently designed 2x72 machine. Variable speed is a huge plus. Now a new maker or hobbyist can get into such a machine pretty much ready to go for like $700. Starting with a versatile, variable grinder is a HUGE morale boost. (The possibility that this will not be fully appreciated by a person who has not first made 100 knives slogging away at a fixed speed 2-wheel machine notwithstanding.)

This may be a much better and more versatile option IMO than any two wheel grinder such as a Grizzly or Coote. Just being able to look down the platen is an improvement. Don't even get me started on small wheels, and easy change-out of contact tooling.

A way to discover if you seriously want to make knives, with a decent machine that in all likelihood will still make a very useful second grinder once you get your loaded KMG.

Oh, and why shouldn't a decent longboard wheel and bearing work better than fine on a platen? It's just cross-purposing, always a good way to save money as long as an application is appropriate. Those things are made to take abuse and ride very smoothly with a load at high speeds. Not a part of a "toy" at all.

The only real issue I see with it is that a buyer should not consider using it with the supplied NEMA1 drive without making an enclosure or running the drive remotely. I believe that thing would fry very quickly mounted right there with an open case.

Not trying to be combative at all. I just have a bit of a different viewpoint. What really matters is what those who have bought say after using it. Looking forward to that.
 
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mack1

Howlin' Wolf
I built my own, too, with fabrication skills garnered in the USMC. I spent ~10% of what I would have on a brand new Burr King.

Granted, I'd need a different drive pully for grinding steel, but this one with 4 speeds is great for handles, and that's what I do.


For now. :3:
 

DonL

Well-Known Member
Well, here's another view that some of you may want to consider. I got into woodworking a long time ago. I started out by using hand tools and gradually started scrounging every cheap piece of equipment I could find when I could afford it. I was impatient and bought a lot of junk at flea markets and out of the classifieds (this was before the internets web ;) ) My wood working sucked and it was frustrating when trying more complex projects.

I didn't know what I didn't know.

It wasn't until I actually spent the extra money to buy a high end table saw that I started realizing that it wasn't always my fault that my projects took longer and had more mistakes than I would have liked. Suddenly my work took a little bit of a turn for the better. The same thing happened when I bought a better miter saw, routers etc. I eventually realized that having the better tools doesn't necessarily make you an instant master, but it allows you to obtain better results faster and with less effort and in many cases, allows you to work at your full ability (what ever level of ability your at).

The same is true with knife building equipment. When I sprung the money for a Ryobi variable speed drill press, my work got better and quicker. I now use this drill press as much for sanding (drums) and buffing as I do drilling. Drilling with my old corded drill and my cordless drill was time consuming and I've nearly killed my little Bosch cordless drill by using it continuously to drill through a lot of steel.

I started with files and sandpaper then tried my bench grinder and angle grinder. Now I'm using a 2x42 Craftsman and I have enough money saved for a Coote or Grizzly, but I'm determined to keep saving for a better machine with a VFD. I've not decided whether build one myself or buy one. I've looked at most of them and I like the Wilmont and the TW-90 because of their ability to go horizontal. I can see where this would greatly help me with both knife making and wood working. On the other hand, I can build one a lot cheaper and use the extra money for more toys...umm...machines. I've priced out making my own with aluminum tubing and plate vs steel and I think an aluminum would be nice as well (except for the platen and a few other pieces obviously).

If I was to buy a lesser machine, my ability may only increase a little, if at all, and it would take longer to obtain the better machines. The moral of this story is not to be impatient like I have been. I guarantee you that you won't look back when using a high end machine and say "You know, I wish I had bought those cheaper machines instead of saving up for this model".
 
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shovel

New Member
DonL, thanks for posting this. Like you, I learned the same thing woodworking, yet I just cant find it in my budget to drop 2 grand on a belt grinder. I am struggling with the idea of building one myself or going way out on a limb and buying a machine. I have ordered plans for the NWG, though anything I built would be welded. Still haven't made up my mind and still reading everything you all post. Thanks for sharing your information and experiences. I certainly appreciate it.
 

gravel

Member
Received my PHEER grinder

I received my Pheer grinder on the 1/10/12. Painted it before taking pictures. It's what I thought it would be. It seems to be put together well. As an old dog stated it does have skate board wheels but I can replace those as I need to. It came with 2 tool arms, 8 inch wheel, adjustable platen and a tool rest. It's powered by a 2 HP Baldor motor and an AC TECH VFD. It was easy to put together with easy to follow instructions. The VFD was DOA but we're working on that. I purchased this grinder knowing it was not a KMG for 1/3 of the price. I feel if this hobby would turn out to be more, then I'll up grade and keep this for a second/extra grinder. I am pleased with my purchase but saying this without having run it. Pheer has been very easy to work with.DSCN0753.jpgDSCN0751.jpg
 
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franklin

Well-Known Member
would love to hear how the tracking is on this. This would be right up my alley if tracked well. that and was the 2 horse a upgrade?
 

gravel

Member
Pheer grinder

I'm waiting on a new VFD. I should have it in a week or so. When I received the grinder the VFD was DOA. The 2 HP was an up grade. I will be posting om performance when I get up and running. Pheer has been easy to work with and was ready to make the VFD good.
 

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Looks like a solid start point. You will probably need to replace the small wheels sooner then later. and possibly a stronger spring to help with tracking and belt tension. Thanks for sharing the pics and the experience here. I think it will help out alot of guys that are on the fence..

The fact you got 2 tool arms and a 2 HP motor make it even better.. What was the total $$ for the upgrade and everything delivered?

Bummer about the VFD, but its good to hear that there making it right, and doing it RIGHT AWAY! :D
 

gravel

Member
Pheer Grinder

The total for everything shipped to Ohio was $890. I realize I'll need to replace the small wheels soon but those seem to be easy to obtain. I don't have time to build a grinder and just had to start some where. I think will be the best for me at this time.
 

percy

Well-Known Member
I have a burr King Vari and a KMG. A young man wanted to learn a little about making knives and came by a couple of times. A week later he came over and had a grinder in his truck that he built off the design of the KMG. It was not as heavy but we hooked it up and it was a really good grinder for what he had in it. I know he is still using it and that has been two years. I belive without the wheels he spent about 200 dollars on it. Just a 1 hp motor and for what he does it is fine.
I would not trade the Burr King for anything. I have used almost every machine out there and the Burr King is the King as far as smooth operation and quality of machine.
 
I am in about the same boat gravel is in...I'm a beginner who needs a better grinder to see if this is something I really want to do. I have been using a HF 1 x 30. I think for the money this was the way for me to go. I cant afford to go drop $1500 on a grinder much less $3000! I ordered one of pheers grinders about 2 weeks ago. It cost me $785 for a 1 hp with VFD and a flat platten shipped to me in TX. I was gonna get a grizzly but this looked like a WAY better option for the money....especially with VFD! Cant wait to get mine!
 

gravel

Member
I received my new VFD and was amazed at how awesome this grinder is. The tracking is fantastic but could be off if you don't follow the easy to follow setup instructions. Pheer marks everything because he has personally tested your grinder so that makes setup easy. The speed and power is more than I ever expected. The grinder is quiet and no vibration. This PHEER Grinder surpasses all my exceptions. I am very please with the customer service and my grinder. I realize I'll need to make up grades on wheels and maybe ever the spring tension system. If I include the cost of the up grades I'll still have half the money or less than a big name grinder and can do these up grades at my pace. I give PHEER GRINDERS two thumbs up in both the grinder and customer service. I would recommend this grinder to anyone that wants to grind out a knife but can't afford a big name grinder. Check out his web site http://www.2x72beltgrinder.com.
 
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Thats great to know! thanks for the update! Man now I really cant wait to get mine in! I e-mailed him to see how his schedule was goin but I havent got anything back from him...imagine hes busy.
 

HHH Knives

Super Moderator
Gravel, Thats great to hear. Again congrats on the new toy, oops. I men tool!!! :D I think pictures are in order!! I imagine a few new knives to be ground soon as well!!! :)
 

HELLGAP

Dealer - Purveyor
I agree with Ed , you get what you pay for if you want a good machine call wayne coe or get a kmg you wont be wasting your time and money. Kelly
 

gravel

Member
I hear what you're saying but for those of us who do this for a hobby and don't have the funds for a big name machine this Pheer will do just about anything a Coe or KMG will do at about half the cost. I'll gladly let you try my grinder out if you ever make it to Southern Ohio.
 

Mike Martinez

Well-Known Member
Gravel, as long as you're happy and it does what you want it to do, everything else is irrelevant. In the best of scenarios, especially when buying the higher dollar stuff, you get what you pay for... at least in theory. There have been quite a few instances where a less expensive tool will perform side by side with the big name, big dollar ones.
 

Fox Blades

New Member
I got my Belt grinder this week. If you go on his website you can see the exact design. It's the 4"-8" flipping platen grinder on his grinders page. Runs awesome. Great guy to deal with. The grinder was built exactly as I asked him. No shortcuts.
 

R.Rock

Member
I got my Belt grinder this week. If you go on his website you can see the exact design. It's the 4"-8" flipping platen grinder on his grinders page. Runs awesome. Great guy to deal with. The grinder was built exactly as I asked him. No shortcuts.

Good To hear! I'll be in the market soon and have been looking @ these, thanks for the reports.
 
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