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  • Writer's pictureBen Nordman

The ABCs of Obsidian Manufacturing Industries

Updated: May 9

With school in session once again for kids, we're taking you to school with the ABCs of #ObsidianMFG

School is back in session for most students and we thought, why not bring the ABCs to those that are probably done with school? Here are the ABCs of Obsidian Manufacturing, a list comprised of terms or products from our Magna-Lock USA, Arter Precision Grinders, and MagnaLift & Power-Grip lift magnet brands.

Arter Model A - First made in 1916, the Model A received many modifications through time. It also played a big part in Arter’s WWII effort.

Blueprint - A blueprint is a photographic picture that displays mechanical specifications and plans. They are used for all of our machines that we make!

Chuck - A holding device that keeps a piece in place to be worked on in some way.

Arter Model D – The Model D was produced in the 1940s. On these models, the spindle traveled, and the table remained stationary, different from other models.

Electromagnetism - A type of physical interaction that occurs between electrically charged particles. We use this in our electromagnetic MLUSA chucks daily!

Flame hardening - The process of hardening when high-carbon steel is heated on the surface, then rapidly cooled. The main point of the process is to form a hard casing on the material.

Grinding - The process of taking small amounts of the surface off a piece of material. A rough grinding wheel is used to get amounts down to 0.0001” off the piece.

Hitachi Magna-Lock - In 1974, the Magna-Lock Corp. was sold by the Hanchett family to Hitachi Metals American Ltd., forming Hitachi Magna-Lock Corp.

Iron - Iron is the most common element on Earth, right in front of oxygen. Not only is it found naturally and in the human body, but is the main element in steel.

Kip - A kip is a unit of measurement commonly used in civil engineering that equates 1,000 pounds-force. It is also less commonly used to represent 1,000-lbs.

Lift Magnet - A lifting device that is used to raise a work piece using the force of magnetism. These devices can be battery operated or electric and can lift thousands of pounds.

Magna-Vises - Magna-Vises are Magna-Lock USA’s clamping device for material. These clamps assist users in clamping non-magnetic materials to magnetic chucks.

Nominal Dimension - Outer dimension, inner dimension, or wall thickness of tubing specified by buyer after the first cut.

Obsidian - Rock formed from magma that previously erupted from a volcano. This rock was formerly used for many early forms of manufacturing, such as in cutting and piercing tools.

Parallels - Magnetic parallels allow for odd pieces being held to the magnet. They act as transfer pieces of the magnetism and can come in all shapes and sizes!

Quenching - The process of cooling a product rapidly. Typically, the piece is immersed in the quenching medium, which can be oil, water, or something similar.

Rotary Grinders - Surface grinders that feature a round workholding device. These
types of grinders can have both the spindle as well as the chuck rotating to grind the piece.

Stainless Steel - Stainless steel is a ferrous alloy, or a metal that contains mostly iron. It contains chromium, which gives it the property of not being able to rust.

Terminal Box - A box attached to a chuck that houses the electrical connections coming from the chuck. A water-tight seal is necessary so liquids do not short the chuck.

United States Manufacturing - Manufacturing in the United States has been responsible for many modern ways of living and produces over 11% of the overall economy.

Vacuum System - The system that provides the suction needed to properly hold a part on a vacuum chuck.

The basics of manufacturing come easy to most that work within the industry, but to others, the combination of terms and differing meaning for a lot of them can be difficult to understand. For more information about our products, check out

obsidianmfg logo

Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. is a Rockford, Ill. manufacturing company and is the OEM for Magna-Lock USA workholding, MagnaLift & Power-Grip lift magnets, and Arter Precision Grinding Machines as well providing surface grinding services. They are located at 5015 28th Ave. in Rockford, Ill. with a phone number of 815-962-8700. Check out more at

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