When looking at an industry such as machining, it can be overwhelming trying to keep track of all the terminology and jargon. You may look at descriptions of machine shop services and wonder what is a CNC, turning or billeting? Every industry has its particular terminology and the CNC machining industry is no exception. But in most cases, once the jargon is explained to you, you find that things are much simpler than they appeared. And this applies to CNC grinding.
Grinding is simply the process of removing material from an object by essentially scraping it away. High-precision machines are used so that material can be removed from metal objects in very fine layers. Grinding is used to modify a metal piece to a precise shape. It also used to smooth the surface of an object to a fine texture.
How does a grinder work?
Basically a grinder is a machine with a hard wheel covered with thousands of tiny ridges or grains. As the wheel rotates these ridges cut away extremely tiny bits of metal from the object being ground. Either the part is moved in relation to the grinder’s wheel or the grinder itself is moved across the metal object being ground. Depending upon whether the grinder is smoothing the surface or shaping the object, the grinder can be set to barely scratch the surface or dig farther in. The amount of time spent using the grinder also impacts how much material is ultimately removed from the metal part being worked on.
A grinder can be a simple machine with only one grinding wheel, or it can consist of two or more wheels. The machine usually has attachments that are used to adjust how much the grinder will affect the surface of the part being ground. Depending on the size of the part being worked on, the grinder can be a small machine worked by hand or a huge robot controlled device.
Since the introduction of computers into the machine shop, grinding is widely performed by a process called CNC, or computer number control. This is a process that allows an operator to use computer controlled equipment that gives him far greater precision and speed than he could have achieved by hand.
CNC machining helps machinists deliver a smooth, even grinding job down to fractions of an inch, and maintaining a consistent level of grinding over the entire part. This technology is has been a breakthrough within the machining industry as it allows extremely detailed work to be performed quickly and efficiently. The increase in speed and reduction in waste allows machine shops to operate at a lower cost, and therefore can attract more work.
An attractive feature of modern CNC equipment is that the operator does not have to manually program all the hundreds or thousands of fine-tuned instructions that the computer requires to perform precision grinding. The operator can program the requirements of the job in human terms, and the computer compiles the information into a series of instructions that the CNC grinder can understand.
Such technical equipment opens up employment opportunities for anyone who has an interest in operating computer or mechanical equipment. CNC grinding requires both skill sets, which can be learned at most technical and trade schools.
Article written by Jet Russell. Jet is a full time blogger and Internet entrepreneur. In his spare time he likes to write articles about precision grinding and everything relating to cnc machining.