Turning Archive 2004
>There have been many posts recently about grinders - many decrying the 1) cost, 2) availablity.
One thing I did not see suggested (I did not read them all - my eyes blurred after a little while) is to make your own. This is one of the easiest ways to get the size and speed you want.
Pictured here is my grinder - $30 mandrel, $10 in pulleys, and a discarded 1/2hp, 1750rpm motor from my old drill press. Previously, this same setup had a 1HP 3450rpm motor that I then moved on to another use in the shop. The next motor was a 1hp VS motor like the one that I used on my lathe, but someone really wanted it to convert their mini-lathe so I sold that motor and put on the one pictured here.
The great thing with this setup, is that it is almost infinately variable. This one started live as a 6", 1750rpm. Then I moved to 8", VS. Now it is an 8" Sub-800rpm grinder. Some day it may be a 10" grinder if I want - though I see not advantage in it.
I here all the time about how great a 1750rpm grinder is - a sub 1000rpm grinder is even better - very controlable. Not only that, out of balance wheels are not much of an issue at 800rpm, and there is less need for a guard.
The only thing is is not great for is shaping a new tool, but I have a $39 gray stone grinder under the bench for when I need it, or I use my belt sander.
So, try building your own.