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Grinder question

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Naganalf, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    ok so first off I'm sorry to come here and start another grinder thread. Please don't heckle me too bad my wife just got done yelling at me for spending too much time looking at this stuff lol.

    So I'll start by saying that I'm very new to this hobby, and that is pretty much all I expect it to be - a hobby. I've done my research on ALL grinders; well most I'm sure as there may be one I haven't heard of. The constant I keep coming back to is I think I'd really like to have the option to go horizontal. So that keeps bringing me back to the TW90, Northridge (Which I have actually been on the list for since April), or waiting to see what Chris Williams new machine looks like. I've come to terms that I'm just going to have to spend the dough to get what I really want.

    Then this evening I had another idea which is where my question comes in. What if I get two seperate grinders and run them off one vfd? For example I could get an Esteem and an AMK73 horizontal. I could put them right next to each other with the vfd in the middle. I keep reading how knifemakers love to have dedicated machines set the way they want them and it makes sense! I understand that will take up much more room, but I'm working with a decent sized shop (20'x40'). At least I think thats big enough. I guess I'm looking for input from anyone who is willing to give it. Maybe I will regret it down the road as I get more tools, and start to get low on space, or maybe I'd be happy to have the dedicated machines.

    Thanks again! I have spent countless hours reading here and other sites, so I should be able to make my own decision I know. Maybe I just need a shove in the right direction lol.
  2. 3fifty7

    3fifty7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 24, 2016
    Two grinder right off the bat may be a bit much to jump in with, unless you have been using that 20x40 to stack cash in.
  3. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Well I just thought if I'm spending about the same amount of money on a tw90 or Northridge it was worth a thought?
  4. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Btw 3fifty7 I like your profile pic, I've spent quite a few hours in one of those JD quad tracks and they are pretty awesome!
    3fifty7 likes this.
  5. WhitleyStu

    WhitleyStu Keep'em scary sharp!!! Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 8, 2006
    Don't overlook the Reeder Products grinder as it also transitions from vertical to horizontal. I am a bit bias as I recently purchased one along with a Reeder stand designed specifically for their grinder. The cost of the grinder and stand was less than some grinders alone.
    As to running two motors off one VFD, it would be quite a switch and wiring job.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
    Keith Nix likes this.
  6. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Thanks Stu I will take another look
  7. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    Having dedicated machines is certainly not a bad thing, and running them off a single VFD can work just fine. I guess you have to determine whether basic horizontal and vertical grinding is the only thing you're really after. With the TW-90, for instance, you're also buying the ratcheting tension, and rock solid tracking, the work rest setups, etc..., not JUST a tilting grinder.

    Every grinder more/less has its own "benefits", other than just whether or not it can flip one way or the other. If the Esteem and AMK grinders have what you like, go for it.

    At the end of the day, they are just tools after all.... ;)
  8. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    ^^^That is exactly right. If every machine was as nice and refined as the "high end" grinders then it would be an easier decision. But that's not the case apparently. So do you go with two very capable machines that might not have all the bells and whistles, or the so called Cadillac? I'm probably leaning towards the one high end machine, but it was a thought I had and I wanted some input. Thank you guys.
  9. Sgt_Bobbo


    May 21, 2012
    If you go with two grinders then I would take a long look at the Ameribrade grinder. Great guys over there and they make absolutely bullet proof grinders. Just my $0.02
    jll346 likes this.
  10. scott.livesey


    Nov 10, 2011
    yes as long as each motor is sized for the VFD. if you have a 2 hp VFD, both motors have to be 2hp or less. you wire a female receptacle to the vfd and male plugs to the motor. you turn VFD off, swap plugs, then off you go. place VFD above and behind motors.
  11. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    I will take another look at the Ameritrade. Thanks
  12. Naganalf

    Naganalf Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Sounds easy enough.
  13. Howard1


    Jan 16, 2017
    I have been using the Reeder and i love it. Admittedly, it is the only grinder I have ever used but it is going on two years and I can't imagine what a more expensive grinder would add. Don and Greg are great to work with. They keep improving it and making new stuff. Regrets: 1- bought a 1hp motor. DO NOT DO THAT! I can stall that machine by looking at it too hard. I was lazy and cheap about putting in a 220 line. You may start out not needing the extra power, but you will certainly need it eventually 2- move up to the 5" drive wheel. I added a 6" and love the extra speed but it was an extra $80. I think that the 5" would have been fine. 3- buy a 3400 rpm motor so you won't have to over speed the motor (don't ask). This is IMHO and there may be push back from the motor geeks out there but my VFD customer service freaked when I asked them to help me double the speed. Again, its been two years and so far it still works fine. Lastly, if you want a great VFD at a bargain buy one with no shielding and build your own dist protection box. I a TECO L510 and paid a bout $100. I built my own shield enclosure in about two hours. Admittedly, it is a PIA but my office manager (wife) was not going to free up $300 for anything. I'll end with a warning- I can't keep my hands off my machines. I think about work in my shop all day. I walk into my shop "just to check on something" and three hours go by. My wife and I fight about my time there regularly. This stuff gets in your blood!
  14. Daniel Swanson

    Daniel Swanson

    Mar 13, 2018
    Building a hinged base for the grinder to turn it horizontal doesnt seem too hard either. Many people have done this. Mike from Ekim knives who does the videos demonstrated his setup on one of his videos, I believe it was in the video where he reviewed his Pheer grinder. He just used door hinges and plywood and he says it works great. I could imagine fabricating one out of metal too though. Dont make your entire decision just based on which one has built-in horizontal capability.
  15. Busto

    Busto KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 26, 2011
    As a hobbyist you will find your time in the shop limited if you have a full time day job and other home projects and life in general...I suggest buy a Cadillac straight up TW-90 everything you need in one package. You will be doing one or two knives at a time so multiple machine setups are not that necessary. It does not take long to switch out tooling compared to dealing with multiple machine maintenance. When you advance to more knives in a batch then you will know what additional equipment is needed.
    Josh Rider likes this.
  16. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    I don t think that you can stall 1hp motor on belt grinder .Most probably you have belt slip on drive wheel .If this is that grinder .....this grinder have small contact surface belt/drive wheel , not even half of dia. of drive wheel have contact with belt ?? There was a rule about that how much should ANY kind of belt ride on drive wheel or pulley ...I will try with stronger spring before I go to more HP motor .

    PS .If after some use of new belt you CAN NOT read letter on back side of belt , definitely you have belt slip on drive wheel . .. . .
    Tin.Man likes this.
  17. Josh Rider

    Josh Rider

    Sep 2, 2014
    Yeah, you can definitely stall a one horse. Mine did if I was hogging or laying the blade flat on the platen to “surface” it. Changed to a 2hp and direct drive and (minus a little incorrect wiring hiccup) eats steel now with no stalling or belt slip.
    I’d definitely go 2hp or more if possible.
    12345678910 likes this.
  18. Alan Davis Knives

    Alan Davis Knives Knife Maker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 28, 2010
    I would take one tw-90 over 2 of any other grinders. I have 5 grinders, a tw-90, a kmg, an amk horizontal, an outlaw 2 and a homemade horizontal. I would trade 2 of my other grinders for another tw 90. I wish I had bought two of them when they first came out and been done.

    The tw 90 is simply the best thought out machine imo and is designed and built by a knife maker/engineer. The ratchet system makes changing belts extremely fast and easy(saves a lot of over the years) The tool rest is supported only inches away from whichever attachment you are using be it the contact wheel, the small wheel attachment or the platen rather than an arm sticking out 10 inches from a receiver channel. The tool rest goes from tilted back to 90 degrees automatically. It is extremely easy to change attachments and to change tool rests, the small wheel holder holds two sizes at once and flips between each in only seconds. Another nice thing is the little square metal plate just above the belt by the ratchet arm, it will save your face when you break a belt. I have had my tw90 since 2012 and use it for many hours just about everyday, it still runs butter smooth, tracks perfect with most belts and is the machine I use for most of my work. I like my tw 90 so much, I would actually be willing to trade 2 of my other grinders for another tw 90.
    Busto likes this.
  19. butcher_block

    butcher_block KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2004
    looks liek most every thing is touched on so jsut a quick add. if doing 2 grinders having one that used 1750rpm and the other 3500 woudl be handy (when i get my 2nd grinder thats how i ll be set up)
  20. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    I somewhat both agree and disagree. I'm a hobbyist, but when I am in the shop, I want to maximize my time. That means a lot of batch work, and I do my best to minimize setup and tooling changes. I designed and built my own tilting grinder, and I also made it "tool free" so that changing to any configuration was relatively quick and painless, but there are still times I wish I could leave it vertical, and have another horizontal that I could immediately move over to. For me, this would even mean having two VFD's, so that I could keep machines running if I wanted.

    Granted, if I'm being really honest with myself, this "time savings" would only amount to maybe one or two hours of extra work time at the end of a month, which, in the grand scheme of things wouldn't amount to much, and take a really long time to get a return on, relative to the cost of the second machine (which also needs extra belts, maintenance, etc...)

    So yeah, for just starting out, I guess I'd recommend to buy the best you can afford, and THEN think about adding a dedicated machine down the road, if you feel like it's justified.

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