Nielsen Disc grinder system

NC Biker

Active Member
And $240 for a VFD and another $210 for the motor comes to a grand total of $539, so yes the Nielsen would be cheaper, but I wouldn't have two dedicated machines, which may be nice.
Something to think about would be just adding another motor and flat disc and running it off the same VFD via a switch set up. Although, I'm not sure your going to find much difference between a 1° and a flat disc.
 

J. Hoffman

Dealer - Purveyor
Mostly I would want the second disc so I can have different grits at the same time. I would get the flat disc, just so I had one of each. I know I can run multiple motors off the same VFD, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I'll spend the extra money and have two dedicated machines.
 

Frank Niro

KNIFE MAKER
There is in fact quite a bit of difference between the 1 degree and the flat disc. The one degree allows you to go past center without a "kick out" as well the 1degree disc will not give a true flat surface and isn't recommended for doing bolsters or scales.
Frank
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
OK I have been looking at this thread and till now have not checked it out because, I have an issue with disk grinders!!

Someone said the link was dead so here is a fresh link!!

http://www.nielsendesigndiscgrinder.com/

Now I have got to ask what the hype is about a disk grinder. The only one I ever used was similar to this one by Grizzly,

I used one when I was doing a lot of cabinet work as well, as furniture making. the only time I liked using a disk was when I was doing Formica work and sizing pieces for in place work!! I would have to say I was more, under-impressed.
The 4 x36 units were under powered and just seemed like a good idea that never got off the ground. Most were poorly manufactured and keeping it in adjustment was hard if not impossible!!

The table allows for squaring up pieces, perhaps easier. It may be easier to polish out pieces for guards or bolsters, pommel, etc. The only time I ever tried to polish out a knife blade, on a disk grinder, I screwed up a good plunge cut real quick!!


In all actuality I had a boss that showed me how to take a 4 x 24 belt grinder like this. Flop it on its back or side and do things most people would not believe.

OK now I have succeeded in making several groups mad, as we all started somewhere. Whether it was files, a 4 x 24, a
4 x 36, or a 1 x 42. I myself started with 3 of those! However once I built my KMG clone I have rarely used any of them except once in a while!!!

I still am not sure what to use a disk grinder for????


I can see an advantage to having multiple disks with the set up with different grits of paper, under this system as an advantage. Although I doubt it is cheap to buy several disks for this system!!!I can see that the disks don't have a center issue. The motor looks like it is powerful enough to overcome the under powered issues, as well as the variable power rate is a big plus.


Maybe I am just an old Neanderthal but, I am not seeing the use of disk grinder to my benefit!

However I never stop looking and learning! It is amazing sometimes something that is right before your eyes and, you never thought of using, " it " in that way, till you see someone doing that! Never been around many makers and none really too watch "how to"! So odds are I may be missing the big advantage to a disk grinder!!

So again what am I missing about using a disk grinder??? Please enlighten me as too how you use one in your shop?
 

NC Biker

Active Member
C. Craft, I use my disc for bolsters and scales or anything I want to get flat, but the majority of its use is finishing grinding. The disc has saved me an untold amount of hand sanding. I can come off the belt grinder at 120 grit and use the disc to get a really good 400 or 600 grit surface before I move on to hand sanding. I get by with a sheet or two of each grit at 50cents each which is quite a bit cheaper than what a belt would cost me.

Here is a video Nick Wheeler put together that pretty mush shows how I use my disc.

[video=youtube;ssribfAn8TQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssribfAn8TQ[/video]
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
NC Biker thanks for the link!

Ah, Nick Wheeler, he is the man when it comes to some things! He is always cool to talk with!

So maybe I see a little more but, here is the question I have after watching the video. So how do get away from the circular marks on the blade. I know you keep going till you have worked your way up to 2000 or such. But you still have the circular marks to contend with!!

I think I may have been trying to do much too fast when I tried a disk grinder! But the circular marks still haunt me!!!
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
C Craft, I had the same question with my disc. It seemed that I could never get all of the previous grit scratches out on my disc, so whenever I began my hand sanding I still had those random marks in the steel and I'd have to begin at square one hand sanding. Because I can't change the scratch pattern (circular disc making the same pattern for each grit) I can never tell when all the previous scratches are gone.

Like I said before, I love the idea of the disc sander. I just can't seem to get the results these other guys are getting.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Guys....thanks for all the input. I have been right there with Ccraft. Why bother... In fact I bought an Apex heavy duty grinder 2 yrs ago and fiddled with it but haven't used it at all.

After watching that video I realize what a good tool it could become IF:

1)I get a VFD for it.
2) I get adequate light for it.
3)I get two large dogs for company and keeping the floor clean....lol.

My motor is 110/220....which is best with a VFD?
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
The one thing that I've done to all my discs, that gave me a big advantage is to back each of the discs with a "backing" I used a very thin, stiff rubber. It literally cut my hand sanding in half. The material I use came from a clothing transfer machine used for embossing T-shirts. The most commonly available material I recommend for backing a disc is the thin "cork" gasket material available at NAPA Auto parts stores. It comes in rolls (I can get two disc "backers" out of one roll). I use 3M 90 spray adhesive to glue the gasket material to the disc, and then trim the material AFTER it's on the disc, with a razor knife. Then use a feathering adhesive to apply the sandpaper to to the backing.

With the backing on a disc, the finish comes out MUCH better, and easier to clean up when hand sanding versus the belt grinders, or a disc without backing.

As has been said, there is a HUGE difference in a flat disc versus the 1 degree..... a flat disc always "bucks" if you go past center. That doesn't happen with the 1 degree, because you never hit the opposing side.

I get two large dogs for company
You've discovered the "Secret"! :) At least TWO dogs in the shop makes all the difference... personally I have 3 at the present time.... they're really good to bounce ideas off of, and they never tell ya.... "You're doing that wrong!" :)

I just wish they had thumbs.....if they did, I suspect they'd be better knifemakers then me.... a couple of them have at least 10 years experience in the shop!
 

NC Biker

Active Member
As has been said, there is a HUGE difference in a flat disc versus the 1 degree..... a flat disc always "bucks" if you go past center. That doesn't happen with the 1 degree, because you never hit the opposing side.
When I said you won't find much difference in a 1 degree versus a flat disc, I'm talking about how flat either will get your work. The "Cone Effect" on a one degree disc is so little it's not distinguishable for any practical purpose. I've also heard from quite a few makers that use a flat disc on large blades and say they have no problem with "bucking". Personaly, I use a 1 degree disc and have found no reason the be looking for a flat disc. YMMV.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
The one thing that I've done to all my discs, that gave me a big advantage is to back each of the discs with a "backing" I used a very thin, stiff rubber. It literally cut my hand sanding in half. The material I use came from a clothing transfer machine used for embossing T-shirts. The most commonly available material I recommend for backing a disc is the thin "cork" gasket material available at NAPA Auto parts stores. It comes in rolls (I can get two disc "backers" out of one roll). I use 3M 90 spray adhesive to glue the gasket material to the disc, and then trim the material AFTER it's on the disc, with a razor knife. Then use a feathering adhesive to apply the sandpaper to to the backing.

With the backing on a disc, the finish comes out MUCH better, and easier to clean up when hand sanding versus the belt grinders, or a disc without backing.

As has been said, there is a HUGE difference in a flat disc versus the 1 degree..... a flat disc always "bucks" if you go past center. That doesn't happen with the 1 degree, because you never hit the opposing side.



You've discovered the "Secret"! :) At least TWO dogs in the shop makes all the difference... personally I have 3 at the present time.... they're really good to bounce ideas off of, and they never tell ya.... "You're doing that wrong!" :)

I just wish they had thumbs.....if they did, I suspect they'd be better knifemakers then me.... a couple of them have at least 10 years experience in the shop!

Ed, you have always given me good advice in the past and the one part I love about your advice is the, "why"! So am going to throw out a couple of scenarios here and see what you can tell me!!

So after watching the video by Nick Wheeler, I can see where there may be a use, especially with a good motor and VFD! Without that I truly am lost as to the why. Honestly what I see Nick doing in that video is refining the shape or somewhat the distal taper of his blade. However, what I also see in the light of the video is a slurry of circular marks on the blade.

So lets say, I keep going to finer paper, on the disk sander, of course I get finer marks!

However when you get down to the finest grit how long does it take hand sanding back and forth the length of the blade to get all the circular marks out???

I am all for anything that can cut down finish time, especially hand sanding time! I am just not convinced that a disk is going to cut that down!!! Should I be???

At present I do a blade on the KMG clone working down to finer and finer grit. From that point I have tried a little of everything over time! I have tried the palm sanders and even remember a post from you Ed about using one with a stiff backing. That has helped to reduce hand sanding more than anything for me. Truth is a palm sander uses an orbital motion and once you work thru a few grits it gets me closer to less hand sanding than anything!!

I just don't see enough benefit to sanding disks to cover the cost of such a system. But hey like I said, I am never to old to learn, and sometimes it just because you never thought of it that way or saw it done that way!!!

Like I said about the big 4 x 24 belt sander if I had not seen it done, I would have never learned to do it myself. I am sure a lot of it is practice over and over again!! I know the first time I grabbed that big powerful machine I ground a big hog in a cabinet top we were about to put Formica on, and I did it in a New York second! :what!:
I said oh crap, I am going to have to re-top this one, both which are time and money! My boss laughed and grabbed the machine and showed me how to get out of that mistake. So it is all about knowing your capabilities as well as the machines capabilities! I now can take one of the 4 x 24 belt sanders and throw it on its side, or on it's back, lock down the switch and I can do things you would think are nearly impossible and never worry about the sander getting away, or eating up too much!! Please don't try this at home, as we all know powerful machines love to eat on dumb people!! :biggrin:

So enlighten me about disk sanders, my mind is still open!! Why do I need one??
 
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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Here's what insight and thoughts I can offer.....
However when you get down to the finest grit how long does it take hand sanding back and forth the length of the blade to get all the circular marks out???
Of course much depends on each individual blade, and the methods each individual uses, but as a general rule...FOR ME, and AFTER having installed the "backing" on my discs, it easily cut hand finishing time in half. To be fair, IF a person is GOOD at a belt grinder, you can achieve the same thing, but in my experience people generally have a faster, easier time, with less errors to correct..... getting to that level with a disc grinder for finishing. As you said.....
So it is all about knowing your capabilities as well as the machines capabilities!
I am all for anything that can cut down finish time, especially hand sanding time! I am just not convinced that a disk is going to cut that down!!! Should I be???
I can't tell you if YOU should be convinced, which is the one that counts, but it convinced me. As with any "new" machine a person puts into their shop, it takes some time and learning to understand just what a disc grinder can, or cannot do, and what things it does better, or worse then a belt grinder. It's certainly not a "magic bullet" that will cut down on hand finishing time the moment it arrives in your shop, it's just another tool in your arsenal. How you apply/use it is up to you.

remember a post from you Ed about using one with a stiff backing. That has helped to reduce hand sanding more than anything for me. Truth is a palm sander uses an orbital motion and once you work thru a few grits it gets me closer to less hand sanding than anything!!
What I wrote about, and still use is not an orbital sander, but rather a vibratory palm sander, with the factory rubber pad removed, and a 1/8" piece of G10 replacing it. I still use it often, especially on big blades. I generally use it with grits of 400 and finer.

I just don't see enough benefit to sanding disks to cover the cost of such a system.
That is the crux of the matter. If YOU don't see it as cost effective, then I certainly will not try to convince you otherwise. Mainly because in the future, I don't wanna have a finger pointed at me, and you saying..."You told me I needed one of these.....and it's #$*&%!" :)

So enlighten me about disk sanders, my mind is still open!! Why do I need one??
When I started this thread, it wasn't about anyone needing a Disc Grinder..... it was....If you have/use a disc grinder, you need this disc system. Personally, I think it's one of the best, most useful ideas anyone has come up with. I personally have two disc grinders in the shop, both with the Nielsen disc system, and a total of 8 of the interchangable disc faces. It saves me a ton of time, and a lot of money in otherwise wasted sandpaper.

As I said above, I won't try to convince anyone that they "need" a disc grinder, at one time I couldn't see the benefit to cost ratio either. It took me working in several other shops who use them, over a period of time before I understood the benefits.....and I still don't use mine the way those other makers did/do.... but to me they are a valuable shop tool. :3:
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
Ed, I wasn't trying to rattle your cage I really have always appreciated your input on the knife making side of things. In fact when I was first getting going you advised me on my forge build and I really appreciated how you explained things to me without talking down to me. We all got to learn somewhere!

I know you weren't trying to convince anyone that they needed one.

I went to work for a fellow one time and we were doing some demo to start a complete rebuild on a condo. I don't remember what we were doing at the time but, I asked him if he had a saw saw. Nope never saw the need for one. I brought mine in the next day and we used it all day. At the end of the day he said, I am going to buy one in the morning. I don't know how I ever lived without one of these!
The saw saw is one of my favorite tools when doing demo. Right next to the sledge hammer and crowbar. But he had never seen a saw saw used as a demo tool till I showed him what you could do with one!!

So I was serious about wanting to know what folks were using them for!
So when I said convince me I need one, I was more leaning towards. I want to know more about how folks are using disk grinders?? Not trying to be flippant!!

My bad experience with the one attached to a
4 X 36 belt grinder, soured me on disk grinders. I screwed up a blade in a few seconds. Part of that can be chalked up to inexperience and part to the machine. VFD and a good motor would make a big difference. I can see that and never having used one!

As for the orbital sander that was a mis-spoken moment. I was speaking of the motion. The pad is pushed in an orbital motion by motor and the off-set in the back of the pad!

Here is a link to a schematic of one. http://www.ereplacementparts.com/makita-bo4552-finishing-sander-parts-c-97_103_482.html


Anything that eliminates more time spent hand sanding well............... I am all for that! So was trying to learn as much as I could by picking others brains about the use of a disk sander! The Nielsen system seems to be a good set-up. Just wanted to learn more about the "why" of it! :biggrin:
 

Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
I flat grind all my blades on my disk grinder, it's variable speed. I have two others that are variable speed, one for flattening handle material and the other for handle shaping before hand finishing.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
Ed, I wasn't trying to rattle your cage
You didn't. I was just being frugal with my words. I sat and thought a bit as I typed my reply, and tried to put myself in your place, as someone who doesn't own, or hasn't worked with a disc grinder. The experiences you mentioned with the disc on the 4x24 machine gave me some insight..... I don't even understand why they add those discs onto those type machines....they are just cheesy, and never work very well, but if it's the only experience a person has with a disc, then I would expect the perception to be negative of all discs.

A stand alone disc machine, with a 1hp motor is a totally different animal. Just better all the way around. For me, the disc is a "finish" machine. By using it, I apply finishes to blades faster, better, and with far less effort then it takes to do the same on a belt grinder.

My comments about not trying to convince you was more about self-preservation then anything.... I don't want anybody to spend their hard earned money foolishly, nor blindly. My recommendation is to see if you can get into a shop that has/uses disc grinders, and see what they can do, and how they do it, then you'll be able to make an informed decision on whether a disc grinder would be something useful to you.

I can't think of a situation where I've heard of anyone regretting adding a disc grinder to their shop, but I have heard many with the same thoughts a you..... "Is this something I want/need?" and "Is it worth the money?" I can only tell you that I'm glad I purchased the ones I have.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
:thumbup: Thanks Ed, I got to definitely got to watch someone who is using one, and then give it a try myself!!

Sometimes you don't know until you try it!

When I finished my KMG clone I had watched video's on some of the forums and YouTube and did as much research as I could. However, I truly had no idea till I put my hands on it!! I love the machine and I definitely had that, "how did I ever live without one of these" moments!!

It also vindicated the research and time I spent building the clone. Its not as good as the real thing, the KMG but, time and effort was rewarded with as much precision as I could build into it without having 20 or 30K CNC machine to cut everything out!!

I have a feeling without ever trying one the Nielsen system with its precision and VFD and its powerful motor is a wonderful system!! It always goes back to buy as much precision as you can afford, as it truly is you get what you pay for!!

Thanks to all for helping me to understand more about what a disk grinder is used for!
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I flat grind all my blades on my disk grinder, it's variable speed. I have two others that are variable speed, one for flattening handle material and the other for handle shaping before hand finishing.
Calvin, are you saying that you grind them start to finish on a disc? Or are you saying that all of of your blades will end up on the disc at some time?
 

Calvin Robinson

Moderator Christian Forum
John,
I do the small, thin folder blades from start to finish on the disk. Bigger folders and fixed blades I start on the 14"wheel then finish up on the disk.
 
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