How to Build a 72 Inch Square Wheel Grinder (Plans) by Damien Gendron
In the words of Damien Gendron, knifemaker, machinist and designer of these plans:
This is one of the best belt grinders you'll ever use. I'll show you how to build one.
Note: Here is a little information on the origins of this design. Originally I was exposed to something similar made by Bob Loveless. He has made many grinders for his shop that are based on a 4 X 4 beam.
Apparently, it was Jim Ferguson who turned him on to the advantages of this sort of machine. Going back even further, Jim says Bill Herndon had one of these in his shop at one time.
These people are legends in the knife making world. They've inspired a whole generation of craftsman. Hopefully my updated version of this classic idea will inspire you too.
This project consists of 17 pages of drawings and 18 pages of well written instructions. These thorough drawings are printed on 11 X 17 paper, making them easy to read. Every aspect of this build has been explained and detailed, including 3 dimensional assembly drawings to show you where everything goes. You'll be amazed how quickly the job will progress when this much thought has been put into the instructions.
Before you, is the culmination of a year's work. Along with many hours of research, there were literally months of testing and development that went into this project. During the design process and the building of this machine, I drew from my many years of fabricating experience. This is one of the most solid, smooth running belt grinders I've ever used. It's easy to operate and very durable. Furthermore, I've spent considerable time choosing materials that I felt would be reasonably priced and easily acquired by the average person.
Although this machine would feel right at home in a professional knife maker's shop, the average home shop tinkerer will also find endless uses for this grinder. Hardly a day goes by that I don't turn it on at least once. In addition to using it for making knives, I've used it for general deburring, dressing mushroomed punches and chisels, dressing soft faced hammer heads, grinding HSS lathe tool bits, etc.
I was surprised to find how well it sharpens drill bits and wood turning tools. Because you're working with a sharp, flat abrasive surface, chisels look like they came straight from the factory when you're done with them. Furthermore, the 2" X 72" belts stay sharp longer than shorter varieties and cut cooler.
Although this project is not for a beginner, I kept the home shop machinist in mind as I went along. Make no mistake, anyone with modest equipment can complete this high performance machine.
This project can be built with minimal equipment. I built this machine primarily with a bench top Myford 7" Lathe, a drill press and a MIG welder.
I know you will love this grinder!
HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST?
Note from Artisan Ideas: a client emailed us asking approximately how much it would cost to purchase the items necessary to build this grinder. We in turn contacted the author of the plans, Damien Gendron, and asked him. Here's his reply:
"That's a hard question to answer. The materials used are very common. This should make it cheap to make just about anywhere.
For a basic model, I have heard anywhere from $300 to $600. A lot depends on the motor and controls. But I give instructions on how to go with a cheap motor (no variable speed).
I paid $600 just for my motor and fancy electronic control. This is not needed however.