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Old 12-19-2019, 09:45 AM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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Best magnetic-pad flat grinding machine?

So I'm kind of done with the 18" magnetic-pad flat lap grinding wheel I bought from Denver years ago. It's served its purpose and I've done a lot with it over the years but I'm interested in buying something better. Adjustable motor speed is important to me, with the top speed being fairly high RPM ideally, and it'd be nice to (easily) change the direction that the motor spins also. So what's the best machine I can buy in your opinion and why? (If anyone even sells these things anymore..) Two things to add before you answer are that I don't want to build one myself and I'd strongly prefer an 18 or 20 inch diameter wheel vs. a 24 or something wider.

And if you're thinking of recommending a loose-grit grinding wheel, please don't: I do not have the space for multiple machines for different grits, don't want to deal with blanchard-grinding of worn wheel surfaces, or patience anymore for maintaining ideal slurries of silicon carbide. Thanks.
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:04 AM
Eben Horton Eben Horton is online now
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Well... if you want the best, build it yourself. Use oversized steel tubing for the frame. Make it heavy so absorb vibrations and use a big shaft and bearings. It will take time but you will have exactly what you want.
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:15 AM
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To the best of my recollection I have used three different brands extensively. Steinert accepts 18" and 24" disks. Solid machine, and the most recent I've worked with.

I put in hours in grad school on a ASW. More affordable, but a solid workhorse (IMO). They're not as well-known as Steinert and HIS. At the time I was using one it was still a one-man operation.

I believe the other was a Wet Dog, but the cold working page on their site is empty, so Eddie may not be building machines anymore. Maybe call?

I haven't used the Covingtons that HIS sells.

(I also have never used a Denver)
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Old 12-19-2019, 11:58 AM
Rick Kellner Rick Kellner is offline
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That one may be tired out regardless, but it should be pretty straightforward to retrofit one of these with variable speed (and reverse), by connecting it to a VFD (variable frequency drive).

As an added bonus, you can get them rated to change voltages and electrical phase, when the situation arises for your installation.
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Old 12-19-2019, 12:02 PM
Rick Kellner Rick Kellner is offline
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There is also this offering locally:

https://www.waterjetdesign.com/machines.html



I will say that based on my experience thus far, the Steinert is hard to beat though. Another vote for its robust build qualities.
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Old 12-19-2019, 01:35 PM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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thanks for the Steinert votes. Are they even still in business?
Eben, thanks but I'm not going to make my own. I know how to weld and fabricate things pretty well but I'm no machinist and I'm shit with things that have moving parts.
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Old 12-19-2019, 01:40 PM
Tom Fuhrman Tom Fuhrman is offline
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Engelsby in Seattle used to be very good at making custom grinding and polishing equipment.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bernbaum View Post
thanks for the Steinert votes. Are they even still in business?
Eben, thanks but I'm not going to make my own. I know how to weld and fabricate things pretty well but I'm no machinist and I'm shit with things that have moving parts.
*****
Actually with a good machinist doing the fine balance, it's rather easy but if you don't do it, expect 4-5K for something decent.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:51 PM
Marty Kremer Marty Kremer is offline
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Engelsby is late.

Don't bother with 19 or 20 or anything but 24".
I don't get the reversing thing and you only need variable speed if you'll be polishing.

Covington's machine is just ok. The paint will flake off sooner than you want and the dingies that hold the brushes around the sides will rust off too. They are not really rigorous about machining the plate and they were difficult to deal with regarding shipping damage.
ASW is fine but the tire thing gets in the way. I don't know if they can do it otherwise.

By far the best idea is to take the plans that Bob Stephan (HIS) offers for free and talk to small machine shops in your area. That was my first, then I needed one in a hurry and got the Cov. I shouldn't have been in such a hurry.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
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thanks for the Steinert votes. Are they even still in business?
Yes. And I believe they have ironed-out many of the issues they were having a few years ago.

HIS also distributes them as well as another brand that I'm not familiar with.

The ASW is almost half the price of a Steinert, but you'll pay more in shipping. Getting it from HIS may be easier. Not sure, but I think they are closest to you.
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:00 PM
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ASW is fine but the tire thing gets in the way. I don't know if they can do it otherwise.
Steinert uses the tire. ASW has the brushes like Covington (and yes, rust is, or used to be. an issue).
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Old 12-19-2019, 03:42 PM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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Don't bother with 19 or 20 or anything but 24".
I don't get the reversing thing and you only need variable speed if you'll be polishing.
I'll be polishing. I've heard that if you can reverse direction, then you can get more life out of a diamond pad.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bernbaum View Post
thanks for the Steinert votes. Are they even still in business?
Eben, thanks but I'm not going to make my own. I know how to weld and fabricate things pretty well but I'm no machinist and I'm shit with things that have moving parts.
I hear you. I have a water jet designs one and itís great. Itís not variable speed and have not really felt that I am missing out on not having it. Thereís zero vibration with it.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:51 PM
David Russell David Russell is offline
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I also have had a 24" waterjet machine... for 10+ years. It has taken my abuse well. I did cut the tire for better access. Reversible direction.
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Old 12-20-2019, 02:42 AM
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I'll be polishing. I've heard that if you can reverse direction, then you can get more life out of a diamond pad.
But you'll mostly get scratches. Run them one way and when you're done with them, you're done. Buying pads is like buying crucibles. Always a shock when you have to buy a new one but you should figure it in to your cost of doing business as a consumable. You end up getting a lot out of both for your money.
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:18 AM
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We used to make fun of Somaca's all in one machine which perpetually contaminated the latest surface. Maybe having grinding on one machine and polishing on another, if the surface is going to actually show?
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Old 12-20-2019, 09:02 AM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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What about Glastar machine, anyone have experience with this one?:

http://www.glastar.com/catalog/beveling/B1.cfm
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Old 12-20-2019, 10:12 AM
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What about Glastar machine, anyone have experience with this one?:

http://www.glastar.com/catalog/beveling/B1.cfm
Water jet is better
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Old 12-20-2019, 10:53 AM
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We have a really old ASW at Public Glass. I changed out the bearings last year and the guy who owns the company was really helpful. I don't know if they use a tire anymore--ours doesn't have it. I've mostly used 24" machines and love the speed and size. I almost exclusively use the outer 5" of the disk since it grinds so much faster out there. I have all my own abrasives disks & belts since the PG ones are too worn out. I'm all about saving time in the cold shop with fast machines and new abrasives.
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Old 12-20-2019, 11:01 AM
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One feature that I thought was nifty on the ASW is the center water feed. Nice that you don't have to spend time moving and resetting water feed nozzles each time you swap out disks. More moving parts to wear out though.
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Old 12-20-2019, 12:16 PM
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The ASW machines are good. I am sort of skeptical of the Glastar machine but I haven't seen one in action.
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Old 12-21-2019, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
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What about Glastar machine, anyone have experience with this one?:

http://www.glastar.com/catalog/beveling/B1.cfm
The only experience I have (and it's limited) with Glastar machines is their edge grinder and ring saw. Pretty basic stuff, but we're talking about stained glass.

Since I have no actual experience with the machine in question, take this with a grain of salt. I wouldn't risk it. If I were beveling flat glass, or flattening the bottoms of VERY small vessels I might give it a shot. Not a knock, but in my experience straddling both worlds of flat/stained glass and furnace/offhand, there are a lot of misconceptions in both directions.

In other words, the flat glass people only think they know what blowers/casters need; and vice-versa.
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:56 PM
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Just go to the specs. If the shaft is one inch, it's too lightweight for a glass studio. If the motor is less than 1HP, it's underpowered. If you can't view the specs, don't buy it. As has been said, size this for 24 inch pads.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:54 PM
David Hopman David Hopman is offline
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What about Glastar machine, anyone have experience with this one?:

http://www.glastar.com/catalog/beveling/B1.cfm
I bought one of these 19 years ago and it is still running well after grinding way over 10,000 pieces. However, the reason HIS stopped selling them is because Glastar modified it after I got mine and it would no longer take a 20 inch disc. Maybe they have modified it back, but I would have whoever is selling it verify that it will take a 20 inch disc.

Last edited by David Hopman; 12-23-2019 at 06:57 PM.
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