Surface Grinder

Discussion in 'Knife Maker Shop Talk' started by KenH, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    OK ya'll remember my "Poor man's surface grinder" where I used my milling machine and a grinding disk? Well, that does work, but Travis Wuertz (and others) have a MUCH better idea. A new member on this site posted about building a surface grinder that was inspired by Travis's design. Looked pretty good, so with a bit of guidance from him on source of the guide bar, I built my own.

    Here was first step, building the magnetic chuck. Travis's chuck is 12" long, I decided to build 14" so it would handle my larger chef knifes.
    Above is the 14"X2.5"X1" aluminum bar I milled slots for the magnetics. I ordered a pack of 20 of 60mmX50mmX3mm - I "thought" they were N52, but after I got them, decided they're not that strong, and checking the listing, it doesn't say what strength they are. They are holding ok, but I think I'd like the N52 better, and maybe even 5mm thick. I might make another chuck, and if I do, I'll order N52 magnetics, AND I think I'll only use 2" wide bar.

    Here's the SG from the "front" (or facing grinder) with it mounted:
    The dial indicator looks good there, but not sure I'll leave it. The adjustment bolt is a 1/2X20 TPI which gives .050" for a full turn. The dial on 1/2"X20 all thread rod has 10 equal marks so that works pretty good. Here is a view from bottom showing the knob I turned from a 1-1/2" aluminum rod that locks the adjustment in place.

    This is a view of magnetic chuck with a bar I've been grinding. In my first tests it seems to be holding .001" (or less) over a 11" bar (different than shown)

    Here's a VERY short video showing the grinding.

    I'll be out of town for a couple of days, and not sure if I'll have internet access after Friday morning when I get on the road. I'll be happy to answer any questions when I return.

    Ken H>
    currenthill and Smallshop like this.
  2. opaul

    opaul Well-Known Member

    You have talent! That is an awesome set up.
  3. One Armed

    One Armed Member

    Fantastic job Ken! Your work is SO clean! I want a mill so badly! Maybe for Xmas I'll treat myself! Ken I am very happy I was able to talk and develop an online friendship with you. Building my surface grinder was very rewarding. Discussing and being being prive to seeing you build yours, was also very enjoyable my friend!

    For everyone, here is a video of my build in action.

    And I agree with Ken. I may make another chuck using the 5mm over the 3mm Neodymium magnets. (N52 preferred, but N45 will work). I also want to make it just 2", and I may try one in steel. A36 mild bar should work nicely.
    Smallshop likes this.
  4. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    You guys are really...


    Great job both of you!!! Very nice work and they both look like easy to use. I have the Travis Wurtz one and have only played with it...both of yours seem to work as well as mine.
  5. One Armed

    One Armed Member

    Thank you kindly sir! From what I have measured, they do work equally as well. It's simple geometry really. Square it 90 degrees, parallel to the wheel, and use materials with zero slack, and it really has no choice BUT to work well! The secret is the dual axis linear guide rail assy. Travis is an absolute genius! I never would have come up with this idea. I'm just REALLY good at copying things from pictures. And I'm even better at finding parts & materials CHEAP! The Google fu is strong in this one!
    Smallshop likes this.
  6. JawJacker

    JawJacker Well-Known Member

    Ken ever since you posted this my wheels have been turning. Could I accomplish the chuck without a mill somehow? I have been busting out 80hr work weeks. I have been in ZOMBIE mode for some time. Im also collecting materials for this attempt I just dont have the time right now. Excellent build.
  7. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Onearmed did his using a drillpress to mill slots in the chuck. A milling machine sure makes it easier.

    Thanks for nice comments. As i use it more, i will decide if to make a new chuck with 2 inch wide and stronger magnets.
  8. JawJacker

    JawJacker Well-Known Member

    Ill have to see if I can find round magnets, that may work easier
  9. One Armed

    One Armed Member

    I milled the slots using my underpowered HarborFreight drill press. Used a 1/4" & 5/16" Tungsten endills.

    I would not recommend using round magnets. The bar magnets in slots are the way to go. Even if you are unable to slot the Billet yourself, you could have a machine shop do just this part relatively cheap. It's a fun project, and super rewarding building this level quality for around $200!
    KenH likes this.
  10. Frank Niro

    Frank Niro KNIFE MAKER

    Well I certainly will have to see if I can encourage my friends to make me one of these for a price while they make one for themselves. You people have certainly wakened the chickens and are creating a lot of noise - all good. Is it possible you will show and tell more for those of us that are slow on seeing the actual parts separately, where to get them and what shapes and connections to each other they need? For me all I will want to use it for will be in the making of folder parts. Your continued help will be much appreciated as it has been so far.
    Frank Niro
  11. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    I want one!!!!
  12. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    Does anyone have a plan on how to make this or did you guys just look at pics and build it.
  13. JawJacker

    JawJacker Well-Known Member

    Search 6061dude on fleabay for material
  14. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Just looked at pictures and built is the way a couple of us have done. They're not really complex, and looking at the version OBG on ebay has is perhaps even easier to build. Here's a link to 6061dude's 1"X2"X12" for the magnetic chuck.
  15. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    Can you link the one you are talking about?
  16. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Just click on the ebay link in post - it will take you to the 1X2X12 aluminum bar

    Oh, wait - you mean the pictures of the surface grinder? Mostly inspired by videos from Travis Wurtz's surface grinder. OneArm was also inspired by Travis's videos of his SG. I spent a good bit of time watching the videos, and several of his videos.
  17. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    Now i just spent the last 45 min watching surface grinder
    KenH likes this.
  18. One Armed

    One Armed Member

    Yes, I did the same thing! Only I watched those videos for HOURS & HOURS! And reverse engineered the pictures of Travis Wuertz SG attachment. That guy is a GENIOUS! It really is not that difficult though. Hell, I did it with my one arm/hand, so anyone else shouldn't have too much trouble at all!! Ken is proof! Took me 3 weeks. Ken & I started emailing back & forth and he built his in a week! And most of that was waiting for parts for him! Ken makes things look easy! LOL!

    Seriously though, I am an open book. Anyone can email me anytime & I'll offer any help I can. I buy all of aluminum & steel from midwest steel supply. Great place.... and their prices are very good.
  19. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    David, you should take a look at

    Industrial for 1X2X12" aluminum bar = $8.76 (plus $13.xx shipping)
    MidwestSteel 1X2X12" aluminum bar = $13.93 (plus $15.84 shipping)

    6061Dude is still a better price for a single piece, as it's $23 shipped for two 1X2X12" aluminum bar. BUT - if you order the whole thing, tooling arm, flat plate and all, I expect 6061Dude on ebay might be a tad more expensive.

    David is right - it's not very hard at all to build, especially with access to milling machine for milling the magnet slots.

    Ken H>
  20. Justin Presson

    Justin Presson Well-Known Member

    Ok i see this being a project I want to tackle. John (JPSWorks) has a mill and only about 40 minutes from me so maybe I can talk him into helping me with the milling.
    Can you guys link the magnets you purchase?

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