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When Surface Grinding Goes Wrong

Updated: May 8

Every machine has its own capabilities and potential with Arter grinders being no exception to this rule. Precision surface grinding is a skill that must be learned, and a machine can only do what the operator guides it to do. Even the most seasoned grinder operator will have difficulty if a machine is malfunctioning. Proper care and maintenance are necessary to keep a rotary surface grinder running at peak performance.

surface finish gage

When your parts are not finishing at the quality level they have in the past, it’s time to look at the condition of the equipment and experience of the operator. When those two elements have been ruled out of causing problems, perhaps there is other cause of the poor-quality grinding that you may be overlooking.

We have listed common grinding problems below with possible causes to investigate. If after reviewing these lists, you still cannot determine the cause of your grinder’s low performance, contact our factory direct for assistance in troubleshoot your problem.

When the part’s finish is poor, consider the following causes:

1. Dull or cracked diamond

2. Loose diamond or diamond holder

3. Diamond overhangs too far

4. Poor grade of diamond

5. Wheel out of balance or roundness

6. Oil on portions of wheel

7. Dull grinding wheel

8. Incorrect wheel grade

9. Sharp corners on wheel

10. Improper speeds and feeds

11. Excessive stock removal

12. Headstock belts slipping

13. Unmatched belts on wheelhead

14. Dirty, incorrect, or insufficient coolant

15. Insufficient coolant when dressing

16. Dirty workpieces

17. Centers too long or loose

18. Loose wheel or wheel mount

19. Loose sheave on grinding wheel spindle

20. Vibration from outside source

Precision Measuring Tools are Essential
Precision measuring tools are essential.

When experiencing part sizing problems, look for these causes:

1. Loose or incorrect taper on centers

2. Insufficient tarry

3. Insufficient coolant when grinding

4. Improper wheel

5. Bad centers in workpiece

6. Incorrect lubricant or hydraulic oil

7. Inconsistent operating cycle

Rotary Grinding on an Arter
Rotary Grinding on an Arter

When your parts are out of roundness, your problem may be found in:

1. Loose or incorrect taper on centers

2. Workpiece not properly supported

3. Too much footstock tension on slender work

4. Not enough tension on footstock

5. Headstock or footstock not clamped properly

6. Condition of workpiece center holed

7. Lack of lubrication on centers

8. Overheating due to lack of coolant

9. Stock removal too rapid

10. Insufficient tarry

11. Out of balance workpiece

Trouble with the taper could be caused by:

1. Loose or incorrect taper on centers

2. Loose footstock spindle

3. Footstock or headstock not clamped tightly

4. Machine out of level

5. Condition of center holes in workpiece

6. Too much-too little tarry at one end

7. Over travel of wheel at end of work

8. Dirt under swivel table

9. Insufficient coolant when dressing wheel

phone and email support
We provide tech support for Arter Grinders

Support for your Arter grinder is always available via phone or email by contacting us directly. Our sales and engineering teams can solve nearly all questions without scheduling a service call. When necessary and at the request of the customer, we have field service technicians accessible. Contact us today for field service pricing and availability at 815-962-8700 or by email at

obsidianmfg logo

Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. is a Rockford, Ill. manufacturing company and is the OEM for Magna-Lock USA workholding, MagnaLift & Power-Grip lift magnets, and Arter Precision Grinding Machines as well providing surface grinding services. They are located at 5015 28th Ave. in Rockford, Ill. with a phone number of 815-962-8700. Check out more at


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