Surface grinding is the most common of the grinding operations. A rotating wheel is used in the grinding of flat surfaces. However, the grinding wheel is not limited to just a cylindrical shape, but can have a myriad of options that are useful in transferring different designs to the object being worked on.

When surface grinding an object, one must keep in mind that the shape of the wheel will be transferred to the material of the object like a mirror image. It is common practice to what is called “dress” the stone. So as to make sure the shape of the wheel is what you want. This is done by using a diamond to remove the abrasive material not wanted and to give the desired geometry. Surface grinding is a finishing process that smooths the surface of metallic or nonmetallic materials and gives them a more refined look.

The surface grinder is comprised of an abrasive wheel, a work-holding device known as a chuck, and a reciprocating table. Depending on the material being worked on and the desired surface finish, the wheel’s abrasive material can vary from aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, diamond, and cubic boron nitride. The chuck is a device that is used to hold the material in place while it is being worked on. It can do this one of two ways; metallic pieces are held in place by a magnetic chuck, while nonmetallic pieces are vacuumed in place. During the grinding process, the workpiece must be flooded with a coolant to keep it from getting too warm, to act as a lubricant, and also to keep the excess shavings from building up.

There are different types of coolants that are used depending on the material that is being worked on; the most common are: water-soluble chemical fluids, water-soluble oils, synthetic oils, and petroleum-based oils. In applying the coolant, care should be taken to apply the liquid directly to the location of the grind. This ensures the coolant reaches the material and is not deflected by the grind wheels high speeds. Typical workpiece materials include cast iron and minor steel.