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Help with grinder choice


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So first off, hello everyone. Life's crazy but I'm still around and still trying to get out in the shop as often as possible. I have decided to step up to a 2x72 from my 1/3HP Craftsman 2x42. I have some money saved and have narrowed it down to three choices. Oregon Blade Maker, Reeder Products Grinder and Ameribrade.I would love to hear pro, cons, personal experiences and recommendations.

I have concerns with each. The longevity of the Reeder since it's made of aluminum (says they have steel inserts at wear points). The construction of the Ameribrade is 1/4" walled tubing and uses it's own type of tooling arm. I guess with the OBM I just concerned with the price. Would I be happy with it and will it doesn't what I ask of it?

I'm still a hobbyist at this point and would like to keep the cost down but want something I can grow with for a while if I am able to put in more time. I like the thought of having two tool arm positions and the tension arm latch on the Reeder and Ameribrade are pretty slick. The bolt plate for the motor is nice but not a must. I'm pretty sure I have a line on a motor and my Dad says he may have a VFD, though I need to be sure it's suitable. Thanks for any input and as always, Thank You.

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I can't speak to the Reeder or the Ameribrade, but I own the OBM.  I love it.  

The one major drawback is that you have to align the motor yourself without any guides, which can be a bit frustrating.  The motor is not attached to the grinder body, so you have to eyeball making sure that the drive wheel is lined up properly.  But, once you get it properly aligned, the tracking is great.  The guide wheel is crowned so that helps with it.  The build quality is very good.  The parts are machined and watercut so they tolerances are very very tight.  The weld quality is good and not messy at all.  It is solid steel and once bolted down is super stable.  The tension arm uses a hydraulic prop and keeps the belt nice and tight.  All of the wheels are aluminum and the flat platen is adjustable, which is nice. 

I also own a second tool arm with a small wheel holder attached.  I also own the ball joint work rest.  Both are of excellent quality.  I will be buying a third tool arm soon, so I can get a 10" contact wheel, which I have been wanting.

I have a 1.5 HP motor and VFD with it, and with that motor size, it is possible to bog it down when putting your body in the grind so if you can afford a larger motor, do it.

 

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Check out the Moe's Grinder at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com.  Get the DVD and build it yourself.

If you get your VFD from your Dad make sure that it is dust proof (NEMA 4X) or has a proper enclosure to prevent grindings from getting inside and shorting it out.

Let me know if I can help you.

Wayne

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Thanks for the info Wes. I remember you talking about the OBM a while back, which is how it made it onto my list. It sound like a solid option and it is the cheapest of the three. They have a black oneye now that looks like it bolts together, not sure if there's anything else different. 

Wayne, thanks for the heads up on the VFD. I will keep that in mind. I'm looking for a pre-built setup but thank you.

I would love to hear from people that have at least tried the other two grinders.it would give me a more unbiased assessment. Thanks for your replies.

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45 minutes ago, Rod Hart said:

Thanks for the info Wes. I remember you talking about the OBM a while back, which is how it made it onto my list. It sound like a solid option and it is the cheapest of the three. They have a black oneye now that looks like it bolts together, not sure if there's anything else different. 

Wayne, thanks for the heads up on the VFD. I will keep that in mind. I'm looking for a pre-built setup but thank you.

I would love to hear from people that have at least tried the other two grinders.it would give me a more unbiased assessment. Thanks for your replies.

The black one is the one that I have, which I should have mentioned, so that is the one that is the only one I can speak to.  I do, however, know a guy (Valence Knives) that uses the yellow one and has spoken highly of it, so there you go.  

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I also have an OBM grinder, and am quite happy with it.  I think it has been almost 2 years now.  I would echo Wes's comment that 1.5HP is workable, but more would be nice.  However, I would take 1.5hp with a VFD over a bigger motor with step pulleys.

here is a video I did  quite some time ago of mine in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j61RprWPSr8

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I just bought a Northridge a few months back. Pricing was really good and super nice folks to deal with. It's a hell of machine in general. Attached is a picture of it mounted to a welded Uline table. 

IMG_1085.JPG

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I cannot offer any advice on those grinders, but I can address something you said.

On 4/19/2017 at 10:53 PM, Rod Hart said:

I'm still a hobbyist at this point and would like to keep the cost down but want something I can grow with for a while

My grandmother used to say "buy quality and buy once."

Hobbyist or not, buy a grinder that will last and retain some after market value.

Edited by Joshua States
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Thank you all for your replies! Wes, thank you for clarifying. I like how the black looks and if it's been good to you, I'm sure it'll be an improvement for me. It's honestly the direction I'm leaning towards at this point. It'd be nice if they made an alignment tool like the Ameribrade comes with. 

Brian D., I think you were actually the one I saw posting about the OBM. I told my Dad that I wanted no less than 2HP. Thanks for the +1 on the OBM.

Brian M., thanks for the comment. Another +1 for OBM.

Charlie, I really like the looks of the Northridge! I like how it and the Reeder have the motor bolt directly to the frame, saves some guess work and looks clean. The only issue I have is that it's hitting the higher end of what I want to spend but close enough that I may have to think about it. Thank you!

Joshua, I agree with your thought process. I do however think that there are machines favored by full time Makers that aren't what I "need". I could be served well by a quality machine that isn't as sought after and therefore doesn't warrant a premium. The reason I choose these three is because I can see the thought put into them, they have the features I want, and the price is where I want it. Thank you for making sure I don't blindly make a purchase without evaluating.

I truly appreciate all the valuable knowledge shared on this forum. Thank you.

Edited by Rod Hart
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So, they do sell a base plate that has all of the bolt holes for the grinder and a motor, so that may be something you could look into.  It would be nice if the motor could bolt to the grinder frame though.  Oh well.

@James Helm just bought an Ameribrade, so maybe you could message him, or he will see this and weigh in.

Edited by Wes Detrick
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Thanks Wes! I must've not been paying attention when I was looking at the OBM stuff. I'll check it out.

I'll have to ask James how he likes the Ameribrade. I was actually thinking about cutting the list down to the OBM and the Ameribrade. I like the features and the design of the Reeder but I'm not sure about longevity of the aluminum construction.

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Apologies for the slight hijack, but along the same lines: when getting a grinder, what is the difference between a slotted and plain wheel (other than the slots)?

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I don't have a whole lot of experience using a variety of grinders, and don't yet have much time running the AmeriBrade.  That being said, it is worlds ahead of the step pulley KMG I've been running up until now.  It has almost no vibration, and I would not buy a grinder that only has one tool arm slot these days.  It can hog the metal!  Which is what I mostly want out of my belt grinder.

I do have to say that their customer service has been awesome.  I had only bought a 12" contact wheel from them prior to ordering my grinder.  But with my dealings with them, they have treated me like I have bought 30 machines from them.

Whatever you go with, I would say to not try to cheapen out on buying a good quality grinder.  It's your workhorse.  Even if you're a hobbyist, it's going to be a lot less frustration working with a grinder with the power, control, and flexibility to make your skill be a bigger factor than working around tool inadequacies.  And if you're selling blades, at an average of $220, it would take 8 knives to pay for the kind of setup I got from AmeriBrade.

 

 

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Thanks for the info James! I really like the Ameribrade and it looks to be quality. A video just came across my Facebook feed of the guys at Ameribrade balancing a quarter on the tooling arm while grinding. Apparently they reduced the vibration. The main incentive right now is the ease of attaching the motor and it's one complete unit.

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That Northridge has a face mount for a C-frame motor :) that's fantastic. I'm modifying my KMG to run a 56C frame direct drive with VFD. Too bad KMG doesn't make a 56C adapter. I don't like the belt drive at all. The V-belts cause all kinds of low frequency resonance that makes its way right up into my arms. You can feel the waves of resonance crossing and modulating each other. Hope to eliminate any vibration by direct drive. 

The Reeder looks great, and it looks like it's made of 6061 Aluminum instead of hot rolled steel like most of them. I'd think that the AL would be much more expensive than hot roll, but the cutting and machining would probably be faster. The milling looks expensive compared to most grinders, which are just jet cut from HR plate and bolted or welded. 

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