How to Use A Tool and Cutter Grinder and When?

First things first – what exactly is a tool and cutter grinder? This equipment is designed to sharpen tool bits and cutters used for milling, as well as several other tools. It’s very versatile and is in fact used to perform many grinding operations.

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It can deal with surface, complex and cylindrical shapes. There are manual grinders and then there are Computer Numeric Control machines that make the entire process a lot more efficient.

How It Works

When you need a tool and cutter grinder, it’s important to know that the machine requires a high level of skill to operate. Mainly, you will need an understanding of the relationship between the metal being cut and the grinding wheel. You also need to understand tool geometry.

The large variety in types and shapes of machining cutters requires usage flexibility. A range of dedicated fixtures are integrated to allow complex angles and cylindrical grinding operations to be ground.

When Do You Need The Grinder?

CNC Machine

A new CNC tool grinder is equipped with tool loading capabilities and an automatic wheel pack exchanger. Most of the tool and cutter grinders today are a CNC machine with 5 axes, which makes step tools, end mills, and drills commonly used in industries like metal cutting and woodworking.

These modern tool and cutter grinders augment productivity because they have features like automatic tool loading and they can also support several grinding wheels.

Having a high level of automation, and being equipped with automatic in-machine tool compensation and measurement enable production without anyone manning the machine.

CNC-Machine

Major software advancements enable a wide range of industries to use CNC tool and cutter grinders. Many of these sophisticated grinders feature software that can design geometrically complex parts.


3D simulation is possible along with the detection of any possible mechanical collisions. Tool and cutter grinders can be made to adapt to specific manufacturing components. 

Such machines are referred to as the CNC Grinding System. These systems can produce parts for medical, aerospace, and automotive uses. Even extremely hard materials do not pose any problem.

Radius Grinder

radius tool grinder is a specialized machine that is utilized for grinding highly complex tool forms. Similar to the CNC grinder, the radius grinder may be used for grinding spherical surfaces among others. The tool is made up of three parts:

  • Grinder head
  • Holding fixture
  • Work table

There are 3 degrees of freedom in the grinder head: vertical movement, tilt and movement into the workpiece.

The holding fixtures are basically anything you can mount on a fitted table, but most companies use collet or chuck fixture with separate Y movement to enable precise depth setting as well as the sharpening of the endmill.

Radius-Grinder

The work table is essentially a T-slotted table (X-axis) attached on top of a radial fixture. This set up allows for accurate and complex radius grinds. The dressers that are utilized for these grinders are often really expensive, and are able to dress the grinding wheel as well.

D Bit Grinder

This is basically a tool bit grinder that focuses in D-bit cutters grinding specifically for machines used in pantograph milling. Pantographs pertain to a range of milling machines designed to create cavities for molding process dies.

D-Bit-Grinder

These are old fashioned machines which are now being replaced CNC machining centers.

How to Use a Tool and Cutter Grinder

I really can’t emphasize this enough. You need to have sufficient knowledge and skills to be able to operate a tool and cutter grinder on your own.


This machine is used to sharpen tools whose edges have gone dull over time. It is not a toy and you need to have special training in order to run correctly.

This machine is also a rather large one that are often visible in machine shops. If you have not used one before and have no idea how to, then it’s best to take your tools to a pro and let them grind your tools for you.


In any case, here’s a step by step guide on how a pro uses a tool and cutter grinder machine:

Cutter-Grinder
  • Prime the Machine: It is always recommended that you warm up the tool and cutter grinder before using it. If you use a cold grinder it will only produce rough cuts. Meanwhile a warm grinder disc will give you the best result. So let your tool and cutter grinder run for a few minutes before you use it. 
  • Take Safety Measures: A quick look at your tool and cutter grinder will make you conjure images of a medieval torture device. You see plenty of moving parts, rails and guides and even the disc seems intimidating. Make sure to wear work gloves before operating the machine along with a pair of safety goggles. The grinding disc is very abrasive and can cause small fragments of the tool to fly toward your face. You don’t want any of these superheated fragments in your eye!
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    Examine the Tool: It is vital to examine the tool you will be working on with your tool and grinder cutter. Look for angle of the tool, the curve of the blade, the cut of the edges and so on. In order to properly use your grinder, you need to know in which direction your tool needs to go. Failure to do this can cause damage to the tool. 
  • Proper Way to Utilize a Tool and Cutter Grinder: Always examine your clearance and the safety of the area where you will be working in. The setting of your machine will depend on the kind of tool you are using so consult the instruction manual each time. 

Switch on the machine and be as far from the grinding disc as possible. The shape of the tool you are sharpening must be taken into account and place it against the grinding disc in the correct angle. Opt for short movements until you are satisfied with the sharpness of your tool.

Wrapping Up

When you need a tool and cutter grinder, always take safety precautions and follow the steps we have outlined here. If you are unsure of what to do, it may be best to take your tools to a pro for sharpening.

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