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The Ultimate Guide to Superabrasive Grinding Wheels

Grinding Wheels: A Recipe for Success

At face value, grinding wheels are pretty straight forward pieces of equipment. They provide a coarse, spinning surface to remove hardened materials at high speeds.

Dig a little deeper though and you will find there’s a lot that goes into creating the perfect grinding wheel.

To be clear, the perfect wheel isn’t going to be the same for every industry or even project. You design the perfect wheel to produce a distinct effect based on the working material.

It’s like the adage says. You’ve got to use the right tool for the right job and that’s never truer than it is in this case.

Some wheels cut through steel and remove whole chunks of material at a time. Others polish concrete or sharpen tools made of ferrous alloys. Heck, with the right wheel, you can even grind delicate stock like glass.

The wrong type of wheel wastes money and time. Money to buy a new one and time to replace it or exact repairs. Worse yet, it’s dangerous. Now you’re looking at money, time and medical bills.

With all this in mind, you need a recipe for your perfect grinding wheel. To develop your recipe, you first need to determine what material is getting worked and what you want to do to it. Based on that, you can figure out the best ingredients to make your wheel as safe and efficient as possible.

Type of Abrasive

The first element of your recipe is the type of abrasive used on the wheel. This is the part of the wheel that does all the heavy lifting… or grinding.

When it comes to superabrasives, there are two types to be aware of: Diamond and Cubic Boron Nitride or CBN.

Diamond vs. CBN

The only substance harder than CBN is diamond, but CBN doesn’t react with ferrous metals. This lack of reaction reduces wear on the grinding grains and increases efficiency. For this reason, CBN is the best choice for grinding iron metals and alloys.

Diamonds are great for most anything else. They can sharpen carbide cutting tools, cut ceramics, and polish granite. Diamond is the go-to option for specialty materials.

Grit Size

Grit size is the numerical value given to the size of grains used in grinding equipment. It’s also the second ingredient of our recipe.

The larger the number, the smaller the grains and vice versa.

As a rule, abrasive materials with a larger grit size remove more stock but create a coarse finish. This is why they are often called coarse grain sizes. Conversely, smaller grit sizes take off less material but produce a smoother finish.

You can also get grinding wheels with a combination of grit sizes to achieve several effects at once. This is the ingredient that can fine-tune your recipe.  

Superabrasive Bonds

A grinding wheel’s bond is the process or adhesive used to fix the abrasive grains to the wheel. Due to their nature, superabrasives need these special bonds to work safely and efficiently.

Electroplated Grinding Wheels

Electroplated wheels use a bonding process that melds grit to the wheel with a bonding matrix, like nickel. This wheel’s durability is its key feature. It removes high volumes of stock with precision and requires no reconditioning.

Resin and Polyimide Bonds

Resin bonds consist of superheated resins and fillers. You can use this bond in combination with CBN or Diamond grains. CBN for Ferrous stock, Diamond for non-ferrous is the general rule.

A Polyimide bond is a resin bond that’s heated three to five times as much as a typical resin bond. Because the bond can withstand extreme temperatures it has superior stock removal capabilities. 

Vitrified Bonds

Vitrified bonds are unique clays that turn to glass during the bonding process. It’s a common bond for standard abrasives but must have special treatments for use with CBN and diamond. Because the bond is brittle, it should only get used in certain situations.

Acid, water, oils and temperature variations do not affect this type of bond.

Let Action Super Help You Refine Your Recipe

You now know the basics of developing recipes for efficient grinding wheels. Action Super can help you fill in the blanks and refine your ingredients. We’ve been pairing our customers with their perfect wheel since 1985 and we can do the same for you! 

We’re also an ISO-9001 Certified company, so you know you’ll always get the highest quality from us. 

Request your quote today! We look forward to hearing from you soon! 

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