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What is centerless grinding?

atto abrasives centerless grinding

What is Centerless grinding?

Centerless grinding is an outer diameter grinding process. In centerless grinding the workpiece is not supported between centers, as is the case in the older cylindrical grinding. The workpiece is supported instead through contact with the grinding wheel, the regulating wheel, and the work blade. So what exactly are these three items?

  • Grinding wheel. A grinding wheel is a wheel composed of an abrasive compound and used for various grinding, and polishing applications.
  • Regulating wheel.The regulating wheel is an abrasive wheel. It is usually made from a rubber bond, its purpose is to hold the workpiece against the grinding wheel, cut pressure, and control the rotation.
  • Work Rest. This is a blade-like device that sits between the opposing wheels. During grinding, the force of the grinding wheel and the regulating wheel pushes the workpiece against the support.

How Centerless Grinding Works

During grinding, the force of the grinding wheel pushes the workpiece into the regulating wheel which operates at a much slower speed than the grinding wheel, and against the support. This is how the workpiece is held, by pressing it between the regulating wheel and the grinding wheel.

The regulating wheel then determines the workpiece’s rotational speed.This controls the speed at which grinding takes place. 

The regulating wheel is a critical element in the generation of roundness in centreless grinding, as the regulating wheel supports the workpiece and positions it during the grinding. The workpiece circumference should simultaneously be in line, contact with the grinding wheel, work rest blade and the regulating wheel. Therefore it is important for the regulating wheel to provide grip to ensure that the workpiece is in the correct position.

Where is centerless grinding used? It is perfect for finishing the outer diameter of small cylindrical metallic parts. Therefore it is used in a range of different industries where this is necessary. These include: 

The automotive industry, for the finishing of high-volume automotive components, such as: valve spools, control rods, camshafts, crankshafts, pistons, sleeves and rollers.

The medical device industry,  for the manufacturing of amongst others: hypodermic needles, cranial drills, cannula, dilators, balloon catheters, catheter shafts and specialty guidewires. 

The aerospace industry, for the manufacturing of titanium and steel rods as well as aerospace fasteners.


Why is centerless grinding used? It is used across many industries as it is great for achieving roundness in metallic parts. It is ideal for finishing the outer diameters of small cylindrical metal parts, for example: fasteners, needles , steel rods etc.

One key benefit  is that due to low set-up and loading times it is great for high volume applications. It is an efficient and productive process for external grinding of cylindrical parts.

Different Types of Centerless Grinding

It has evolved to include three different forms:

thru-feed, in-feed and end-feed centreless grinding & polishing. Our next post will address these different grinding forms.

åtto Abrasives is a long-established manufacturer of abrasive wheels for all grinding applications. This month we are running special offers on our steel cored regulating wheels as well as  our 12″ x 6″ x 5″ rubber bonded regulating wheel (see below). Our range also includes;

  • Work Wheels: in rubber & cork specifications for Grinding & Polishing Applications
  • Regulating (Control) Wheels: to control the rotation of the workpiece
  • Steel Cored Centerless Work Wheels

You can see our centerless grinding range and special offers here at: atto abrasives centerless grinding  

If you have questions regarding centerless grinding, grinding wheels, regulating wheels or any atto abrasives products you can email us here: