It is well known that centerless grinding processes allow parts to be held to tighter dimensional tolerances, achieve smoother surface finishes, and hold high degrees of straightness. 

Cincinnati is the legacy technology.

Beyond these obvious advantages, all centerless grinding processes offer the following 5 Not So Obvious Advantages:

  1. The grinding process is essentially continuous, because the loading time, when compared to grinding between centers, is exceedingly small.
  2. The work is rigidly supported directly under the grinding cut as well as for the full length of the cut. This means  that no deflection takes place during the grinding operation, permitting heavier passes than grinding between centers.
  3. No axial thrust is imposed on the work while grinding. The absence of end pressure makes it possible to grind long pieces of brittle materials and to grind easily distorted parts.
  4. Because the error of centering is eliminated, a true floating condition exists during the grinding process. This results in less stock needed and longer wheel  life / yield.
  5. Large quantities of smaller size work can be automatically ground by means of a magazine, gravity chute, or hopper feeder attachments, depending on the shape of the workpiece.

A few final thoughts: The degree of error in the centerless grinding process (setup or compensating for wheel wear) is reduced by half, since stock removal is  measured on the diameter rather than the radius. Centerless grinding is a mature process, with few wear surfaces in the machine, and automatic lubrication, making maintenance a small part of the total cost of this process.

 Pseudo-roundness is best defined as any shape not perfectly round, which exhibits constant dimensions when measured in any direction between two parallel planes, ie, with a  2 point micrometer.

  1. A non-round (pseudo-round) workpiece can mike as if it were round using only customary two- point, two- plane gage;
  2.  A pseudo-round can be detected with a three point gaging system;
  3. Given  the number of lobes from using a 90 degree V-block and indicator,  a savvy shop hand can choose the proper included angle V-Block to determine the difference between R and r;
  4. Salvage of individual parts is  possible given sufficient stock to remove;
  5. Bars exhibiting lobing can be ground to the next incremental size and the lobing eliminated with attention to details of wheels settings, support plate location and geometry, and rotational speed.

In centerless grinding, a geometric condition can be encountered that puzzles most shop hands and often stumps the old pros. That geometry condition is called pseudo-roundness, lobing, or the triangle effect.

Triangle effect is also called 'lobing'

Pseudo-rounds have odd numbered crests , which because of the exact opposition of their high to low spots always have a constant  “Miked “ Dimension.  This is explained by the fact that the gaging planes of R and r are tangent to the arcs of the profile, and perpendicular to both radii which belong to the same common center. That is:
 Miked Dimension  = R (center to apex) + r (center to low spot)=Constant value
I first encountered this when I had a batch of material that miked fine but didn’t pass the customers roundness test. That material was lobed.
I’ll spare you all the geometry lesson, but here are a half dozen facts that I know from my 30+ years experience in the bar business :

  1. Everybody will tell you it can’t be fixed. They would be wrong.  Round gage pins are held to millionths of an inch of roundness, and they didn’t start off life at that level of perfect roundness before grinding
  2. Yes, it seems impossible to be able to fix it if you know that the centerless grinder has the high spot hitting the regulating wheel while the pressure from the grinding wheel holds the work down against both the regulating wheel and the blade support, since the diameter obtained in centerless grinding is determined by the distance between the regulating and grinding wheel. But as I mentioned above, the fact that a constant diameter results does not assure perfect cylindricity.
  3. In order to assure a more perfect circle, adjustments of the geometrical arrangement of the grinding and regulating wheels, support blade need to be made. In my experience, increasing the speed of rotation also seems to help.
  4. While you can regrind to eliminate the lobing, that doesn’t mean that A)it will come in both round and B) within your originally desired tolerance. Unless you have left a great deal of stock on the workpiece, there is usually insufficient material to true up to your hoped for diameter.
  5. Use a three point micrometer if roundness / cylindricity is a critical feature on your product. The sketch above shows you how a constant diameter solid workpiece can in fact not be a perfect circle. A two plane gage will not reveal this to you.
  6. A standard 90 degree V-Block and indicator will do, but if you want to measure the difference between R and r  (R-r) you will need V-block of the angle given by the following :

 2A = 180-(360/N) 

where N is the number of high points or lobes. For a three lobe configuration, A becomes 30 degrees, (the half angle) and the V-Block should be 2*A or 60 degrees included angle.

 Kennedy and Andrews.