Reciprocating grinding is the oldest form of surface grinding; with low depths of cut between 0.005 and 0.03mm (0.0002 to 0.0012inch) and fast reciprocating table movements of around 15 to 30m/min (45 to 90feet/min).
Reciprocating is a very cost effective method for easy-to-grind materials, low number of workpieces and low stock removals. Also, the initial investment for such a grinder is relatively low. These machines are typically found in tool and mould making shops.
There are, however, some serious disadvantages inherent in the reciprocating process. The low depths of cut prevent proper chip formation and rapidly lead to wear flats on the abrasive grit resulting in wheel glazing and a high level of friction. This generates excessive levels of heat often causing thermal damage and micro cracking. Low depths of cut result in short arcs of contact. This, in combination with hard grades of grinding wheels and low machine rigidity, may cause detrimental chatter and vibrations. Furthermore, with each reciprocating movement, the grinding wheel impacts on the edges of the workpiece and suffers an increasing loss of form. Valuable production time is subsequently wasted on redressing. Additional time is wasted on air-grinding at either end of each reciprocating table stroke.