The Blanchard Machine Company, founded in the late 1800s in Massachusetts, developed the first vertical spindle grinder in 1909 for a need within their own machine shop. Cutting machine costs and times was the goal of the endeavor and the grinding machine proved very worthy of that goal.
The ability to grind various materials and parts made the decision obvious to manufacture more machines for their customers. Within just over 10 years, the company had manufactured and sold over one thousand of the grinders.
As time marched on, Blanchard would develop and manufacture several more models like the first grinder they made in the early 1900s. Today, many of those grinding machines can be found all over world in manufacturing factories, machine shops, and grind shops.
Just like a Blanchard grinder, the material finish characteristics of other popular vertical spindle rotary grinders like Mattison and Heald is the cross-hatched design on the finished piece. This finish is achieved by the turning action of the grinding wheels moving counter to the rotation of the grinding piece on the chuck. So, even though the machine manufacturer’s name, Blanchard, has become synonymous with this process, it can be achieved with other brands of vertical spindle rotary grinder machines.
Rotary surface grinding is often referred to as Blanchard grinding because it removes large amounts of stock quickly and efficiently. While it is not usually referred to as a precision grinding process, it is an excellent surface finishing method often used for large pieces of material or parts. Through the years, the grinding machines, methods, abrasives, and coolants have developed to make the Blanchard grind process a very accurate one with close tolerances much more attainable.
What began in the early 1900s as a way to quickly grind ferrous material, through the years, many types of material including plastics and non-ferrous metals proved to be effectively Blanchard ground. Many customers request a Blanchard finish on their parts and material when sending work to their local grind shop to save themselves money on grinding costs.
While some feel a Blanchard grind finish is ascetically appealing, there are many applications that require a precision smooth finish. These requests will usually cost more at your local grind shop because of the labor intense process of attaining the desired smoothness. Again, proving that the Blanchard grind is the best cost option.
At Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc., we use our two Mattison and one Hanchett rotary surface grinders to provide that Blanchard finish when requested by our customers. Many times, so much stock needs to be removed from a piece, that it will be Blanchard ground first and precision finished on one of our two horizontal surface grinders. This is a two-step grind which could result in higher costs, but the Blanchard grind process will always save the customer money because of the speed of the material removal.
For precision grinding of small parts, we also offer Arter grinding with our rebuilt Arter Precision Grinding Machines in our shop. Arter grinders, like Blanchard, have a grinding method that has become associated with their brand name since their first machine in 1916. Many loyal Arter users proclaim that they cannot find a machine that can replicate the finish the Arters give to their materials.