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Workholding on Arter Grinders

Updated: May 8

There are several options for holding parts on Arter grinders. Some operators and parts demand the use of a specialized fixture while others prefer a magnetic chuck. Regardless of the choice of how you hold the part, any experienced operator will agree that workholding is extremely important in machining and grinding.

Keeping that in mind, the top plate configuration of a magnetic chuck will make a significant difference on holding the part. Radial pole, tear drop, concentric ring, and staggered pole are common top plates for Arter grinder chucks. Auxiliary face plates are often used in conjunction with a magnetic chuck to give new life to the chuck’s top plate without having to replace it.

arter rotary chuck and auxiliary face plates

With over a century of manufacturing Arter grinders and many early models still in use today, it may be beneficial to review a little history of workholding used throughout the years with Arter grinders.

When Persons-Arter Machine Company began in 1916, they provided their own magnetic chucks on their grinding machines. As time passed, customers requested specific workholding on their grinders, so they began manufacturing fixtures. As do most machinery manufacturers, they shipped their grinders with workholding specific to their customer’s needs.

arter workers in september 1944 making face plates
Workers at Arter making auxiliary face plates in September 1944

The early models of grinders have the magnetic chuck as part of the cast in the base of the knee which limits replacing it with an alternative chuck when grinding needs develop. This is one of the reasons the auxiliary plates are so key to extending the life of the chuck top plate and for providing holding flexibility as needed.

As the grinder models advanced with innovation, the patterns changed for the cast iron knee and soon the chuck became an addition that was added in the assembly of the grinder. It was then that Arter Grinding Machine Company sought magnetic chucks from outside sources to meet the demands of their grinder production, specifically during WWII when their production was at an all-time high.

It simply wasn’t efficient for them to be attempting to accommodate every customer’s workholding needs in house. They found that the O. S. Walker Company was a plentiful source of magnetic workholding for Arter customers. The grinding machine company shipped many grinders with Walker chucks.

In the late 1950’s, Arter Grinding Machine Company began talks with Sundstrand Machine Tool Division about selling their company to Sundstrand. The deal was finalized in early 1958 and everything was eventually moved to Sundstrand’s magnetic division in Belvidere, Illinois where grinder production would continue until it was sold again in 1980.

It was Sundstrand’s hope to put their own low voltage Power-Grip magnetic workholding on the newly acquired Arter grinder product line, but the change proved to be too costly to initiate. Sundstrand would continue to provide Walker magnetic chucks on their Sundstrand-Arter grinders. In 1975, they sold their magnetic Power-Grip product line to Hitachi Magna-Lock and soon after that, Magna-Lock magnetic chucks began shipping with new Arter grinders.

In May 1980, with the help of Don Blachford and Frank Gyorkos, Centro-Metalcut, Inc. (CMI) in Rockford, IL completed the purchase of the Arter grinder product line and assets from White-Sundstrand Machine Tool Company. Blachford and Gyorkos were employees of CMI and upon taking possession of the grinder product line, they immediately began talks with Hitachi Magna-Lock to supply workholding for the grinders.

Since its beginning in the 1940’s, Magna-Lock workholding had become a serious competitor of the O. S. Walker Company. Blachford had worked with Magna-Lock workholding during his tenure at Mattison Machine Works as Assembly Floor Superintendent and believed in its superior quality. It was his intention to begin exclusively offering Magna-Lock magnetic chucks with all new and rebuilt Arter grinders.

Eventually, in 1997, the Magna-Lock product line of workholding would also be purchased by Centro-Metalcut, Inc. Arter Precision Grinding Machines and Magna-Lock USA workholding we brought together under one roof and have been since.

Today, all new Arter grinders are sold exclusively with Magna-Lock USA magnetic workholding and controls. Magna-Lock USA rotary electromagnetic chucks have various top plate configuration choices for Arter grinders. Special fixtures and auxiliary plates are available for replacement or new applications for all Arter grinders as well as vacuum workholding.

magna-lock chuck on arter grinder
Magna-Lock USA electromagnetic chuck installed on Arter Grinder Model E CNC

The magnetic chucks on older Arter grinders can be rebuilt and repaired to OEM specifications as well including Persons-Arter and O. S. Walker chuck brands. For those grinders with the magnetic chuck cast in the knee base, OEM replacement coils are available for purchase for customer replacement.

Workholding troubleshooting is always available for Arter grinder owners and operators by contacting the factory direct.

Magna-Lock USA Arter MagnaLift Power-Grip ObsidianMfg

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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