Cylinder head resurfacing: grinding or milling?

Cylinder head resurfacing: grinding or milling

We know very well that technique of cylinder head resurfacing can be done with grinding or milling.

Let’s look to analyze the two proceedings to understand better which are peculiarities that differentiate them.


Use of tools provided with sintered inserts, called PCD and CBN, has been widespread in latest years, becoming thus an alternative to classic processing to grinder or abrasive sectors.

PCD and CBN inserts are obtained thanks to sintering of Polycrystalline Diamond or Boro Cubic Nitride, on a metal matrix.

Fundamental property of PCD and CBN is extreme resistance to usury that allows a duration up to 30 times longer than traditional inserts in Widia or High Rapid Steel HSS.

Technique of processing also allows a high cutting and advancement speed and allows a deep removal of material, impossible to achieve with traditional system to abrasive grinder.

PCD and CBN inserts of ½″ and ⅜″ for cylinder head resurfacing
PCD and CBN inserts of ½″ and ⅜″

Grinding wheel and abrasive sectors

Grinders and abrasive sectors, however, are usually made for sintering of corundum or silicon carbide that present having different hardness and grain properties.

Another feature that makes grinding or milling different, it’s use of coolant liquid during leveling phase.

In fact, if use of abrasive makes necessary use of refrigerant during material removal, this isn’t necessary in case of PCD or CBN that work dry.

Grinding stones of different grain and shape
Grinding stones of different grain and shape

It’s better grinding or milling for cylinder head resurfacing?

Therefore, question if it it’s better a grinding or milling for cylinder head resurfacing, it’s legitimate than ever though misleading.

In fact, it isn’t possible to compare 2 apparently similar techniques of processing, but so different in substance.

However, we can say that processing with tool PCD or CBN is mainly indicated to those that level heads in a continuous and intense manner.

In fact, speed and depth of treatment allow to accelerate times of execution.

Widespread in America, leveling with tool it’s spreading considerably also in Europe.

American DCM Tech HB 3810 resurfacer with cutting plate for PCD or CBN for cylinder head resurfacing
The American DCM Tech HB 3810 resurfacer with cutting plate for PCD or CBN

For those that make a use more sporadic of their leveler, it’s advisable a processing with grinder or abrasive sectors.

In spite of longer times, due to lower removal depth and slower speed of advancement, costs of abrasives are considerably lower than PCD and CBN.

In addition, dressing that must be frequently done on grinders and sectors, allows to extend its existence until abrasive material it’s exhausted.

STC 330 head grinding machine
BO Machine Tools STC 330 cylinder head resurfacing machine can be equipped either with grinding stones or PCD/CBN insets.


Then, say what’s better or worse it’s very complicated.
What is to be considered it’s above all use that operator wants to make of his cylinder head resurfacing machine.

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About the author

Carlo Carniel

Grown up working in Comec, he’s every since introduced in automotive business. Today he collaborates with with various companies in the industry as Area Manager and Marketing Manager. He’s also the promoter of The Ultimate Tooling project that he personally follows. 

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