Cylindrical Wire Grinding (Including Centerless Grinding)

In an industry where precision, speed, and reliability are of high importance, selecting the right wire grinding method is imperative to ensure customer satisfaction. Before selecting a supplier, it’s important to understand the methods they use including benefits, trade offs, costs, and applications.

Because we’re in the wire industry, our speciality focuses on cylindrical grinders versus others like bench grinder and surface grinders. Within the topic of cylindrical grinding, there’s a lot to explore!

The Basics of Cylindrical Grinding

Cylindrical grinding does as the name implies, it shapes materials into rounded, cylindrical surfaces. Virtually any object with a centered axis and the intent be cylindrical in form are ideal for this type of grinding. Examples of items often created using this type of grinding are wire rods (which we specialize in), shafts, and bushings, but can include complex objects with holes and notches.

Cylindrical Grinding Process

A grinding wheel is set up with an abrasive material. The grinding wheel is moved towards and away from a workpiece, constantly rotating to remove material at a desired speed. The workpiece placement varies between the styles of grinding, but in any style the object is shaved down to its desired shape and finish with precision.

Centered vs. Centerless Grinding

There are two main categories of cylindrical grinding: Centered and Centerless. Both, as mentioned, involve a moveable abrasive wheel and differ based on their stationary components.

Centered Grinding:

There are a couple of ways to execute centered grinding, which makes this method slightly more versatile for complex objects and non-uniform shapes. Centered grinding includes outside grinding like Centerless, but is also often used for inside diameter grinding, plunge grinding, and other purposes. This makes it the optimal method of cylindrical grinding for things like camshafts, keyed shafts, etc.

Centered grinding is achieved by utilizing a grinding wheel in tandem with a spindle holding the workpiece in place, rotating but stationary in directional movement. In this method of grinding, it is critical for the object to be centered on the spindle to ensure accuracy and consistency.  This creates the downside for centered grinding in a lengthy setup process. For projects involving simple outside grinding, it can take longer to set up than to finish the piece. It can also create inconsistencies, should the spindle not be centered accurately each time a new project is put on the grinder.

Centerless Grinding:

In this process, the same grinding wheel is used but instead of a stationary spindle, another wheel is used in its place. This second wheel, called the regulating wheel, moves in the same direction as the grinding wheel but at a different speed. This regulation wheel is used to hold the workpiece in place while putting a rotation on its object.


Thus, this method is perfect for creating pure cylindrical objects like mandrels, pins, and rods. Various feed methods can be used to create slightly more complex objects like hourglass shapes. Because of its quick setup and consistent results, this is a great method for fast production of uniform objects.

At Western Steel & Wire, we use centerless grinding to achieve a variety of wire diameters for our customers. Explore our products and options on our website.

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