“Made in Germany.”
Now, that kind of says it all, right? Well, the Deckel SO cutter grinder doesn’t disappoint: they’re extremely well-made, will last for decades, and are very precise.
On the other hand, back in the day I bought an old Mercedes convertible…nice car, but kind of weird at the same time. I mean, who thought it was a great idea to use compressed air to operate the door and trunk locks? You’d put the key in the door to unlock it, and you had to wait for a little “pffftt” sound. Sometimes, it didn’t happen…so there you sit in a parking lot with your movie-star car waiting for the door to fart so you can get into it. “Made in Germany” can have its quirks.
Well, the Deckel SO grinder is a little “quirky.” With its art-deco styling and way too many knobs, levers, and do-hickeys hanging off of it, it’s pretty darn hard to get proficient with one unless someone like me holds your hand for a few days. Like anything else, the right instruction makes it easy.
Here’s the lowdown on the Deckel SO if you already own one, want to sell one, or want to buy one:
In my humble opinion, these are selling for waaay too much money. Yes, they still make them and a brand-new one will cost you about $11,000. But, they’re a real “specialty” item.
I think the reason for the high prices in the “used” market is because people think that it’s a fully functional cutter grinder, and when they realize that it isn’t, they put it back up on Ebay and another person buys it thinking the same thing. That, my friend, is the “circle of life.”
Deckel SO cutter grinders are made to grind single-lip cutters only. Period. You won’t be re-sharpening your drills, or regular end mills with one. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that it’s a wonderful machine for making your own end mills, with any size corner radius you desire, or any diameter you desire, or even tapered end mills with a radius.
Need a .215 diameter cutter with a .020 radius on the end? Got it.
Need a .425 diameter ball mill? Got it.
Need a 3-degree cutter with a .045 radius on the tip? Got it.
And…they run on 110 volts. Yep, you can unplug your toaster and grind end mills in your kitchen if you want to.
The only difference between single-lip cutters and the end mills that you normally use is that they aren’t for roughing. So, you “rough out” your work first, and then use the single-lipper to cut the radius.
One last thing: the maximum diameter for Deckel grinders is .500. I think they might make a “special” collet for .625 diameter, but am not sure as I am getting older.
One last-last thing, sorry: these grinders were originally made to sit next to Deckel engravers and copy machines, which are mechanically-operated and require a single flute cutter to accurately duplicate and copy templates and models. That’s why I said they have limited use…no more tracing and engraving work out there. BUT these grinders are still a great addition to any shop, IF you know how to use them.
To me, a fair price for one of these is somewhere around $1,000. That should include all of the collets (1/8, 3/16. 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, and 1/2″ diameters), the wheel wrench, a few belts for the spindle, and a few wheels would be a bonus.
I used to own three of these bad boys…all sitting next to my KF-12 Deckel copy mills… used them for over 20 years, and I can’t wait to get my hands on one again for this complete training class.