RKS Arkadia Surface Grinder
Little-known and seldom encountered, the RKS Arkadia hand-operated surface grinder appears to have been built by the RKS Precision Engineering Works in Croydon, to the south of London. Looking somewhat similar to the Mk.2 Eagle, the RKS had a table 18" x 6.5" with a longitudinal travel, using rack-and-pinion gearing, of 14.5 inches and in traverse, by a feed screw of 6.3 inches. The top was surface ground and machined with three T-slots to take 3/8" T-bolts.
The spindle ran in R & M greased-for-life angular-contact and roller bearings, these being held in a cast-iron block and non-adjustable. If the drive V-belt needed changing, it was not necessary to disturb the bearings. Two spindle speeds of 2910 and 2320 r.p.m. were available, the drive coming from a 3/4 h.p. 3-phase 1425 r.p.m motor held within the heavy cast-iron cabinet stand and switched by a safety, No-Volt release push-button starter.
Each RKS grinder was run for 24 hours before dispatch and was claimed to exceed the limits laid down by the Schlesinger testing schedule.
Until the 1960s, the hand-operated surface grinder market was a rather crowded one in the UK with competitors including the very similar Capco, Superior and Herbert.
For the smaller workshop, a hand-operated surface grinder can prove a useful investment. They take up little room and are both cheap to operate and maintain - there being little to go wrong (apart from the main spindle) that cannot be fixed by any owner with reasonable mechanical skills..