I was thinking about making my own linear rails and started looking into how they actually make them. One thing I saw was using a Blanchard Grinder to precision grind steel into a rail.

There's only a few guys in the Central Florida area that have Blanchard Grinders - so I went and checked one out. I went to RPM Machining here in Largo and checked out their Blanchard Grinder

Wow - what a machine! Rick (the manager of the shop) told me the thing weighed in at something like 14,000 pounds! I don't think I've ever seen (in person) a machine that massive - very cool stuff!

RPM Machining also has several CNC machines, manual mills and lathes, and of course the Blanchard Grinder

Rick told me that basically the grinder rotates material in one direction and the grinding wheel in another and quickly removes stock from just about anything you need - and it's also very precise. Unfortunately he didn't have any jobs to run on it at the time - but we spent some time watching his other CNC machines make parts - it was also very cool to see an actual CNC machine at work too :)

Yes I had machine envy LOL

Well that was my field trip Sunday and here's a link to RPM's Blanchard Grinding page that explains a little bit about it too - Blanchard Grinding