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Thread: One man's junk..

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    C-Bag's Avatar
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    One man's junk..

    I'm hoping my junkyard dog self hasn't bit off more than I can chew.

    I found some great scrap metal on CL yesterday on a piece of solid 1 1/2 X 1 1/2" bar and the guy had another piece that was 9"x4"X1 1/2" . Said it was possibly a die as he said there was some holes and a pattern on it. It was so rusty I was dubious, but it looked like it would be a good chunk for a project so I gave him $5 for it. Got it home and I'm not sure what it was used for but there is a hint of a pattern on it. But the main problem for me is its certainly hard! A file or hacksaw won't mark it, doh! Can I somehow anneal it so I can repurpose it or do I have a anvil/paperweight?

    One man's junk..-image.jpg

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    Your hard metal joy

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Bag View Post
    I'm hoping my junkyard dog self hasn't bit off more than I can chew.

    I found some great scrap metal on CL yesterday on a piece of solid 1 1/2 X 1 1/2" bar and the guy had another piece that was 9"x4"X1 1/2" . Said it was possibly a die as he said there was some holes and a pattern on it. It was so rusty I was dubious, but it looked like it would be a good chunk for a project so I gave him $5 for it. Got it home and I'm not sure what it was used for but there is a hint of a pattern on it. But the main problem for me is its certainly hard! A file or hacksaw won't mark it, doh! Can I somehow anneal it so I can repurpose it or do I have a anvil/paperweight?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Heating this to a yellow orange heat (forge or rosebud torch), pack in sand and let cool slowly!!! Now its annealed. Project idea, polish the area outside the pattern so as to have an interesting line pattern, and polish the center area to a mirror gleam. Spray with a clear finish to prevent rusting. Drill two holes to mount pen holders (stationary store), one each side of the center design, and glue a piece of old mouse pad on the bottom and you will have a kick-ass desk accessory that will not slide around on your desk and keep pens (or drafting pencils) to hand. Perfect for the man cave, or shop desk.
    Diapers and politicians need to be changed often...and for the same reason!

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    looks like this has been a plate behind a steel punch, could explain the hardness of the metal and the indentation. By the way, You paid a fortune for it as a piece of scrap. If i were to posses such a piece of metal i would put it back to work in its original capacity. Build a hydraulic press and some dies. Its nice to see stuff being up-cycled, its such a shame things are getting harder to find and the dreaded Ebay is turning to expensive poop. I have just spent two weeks depressed as i gave an old overhead milling attachment off my Chinese lathe to the scrap man years ago as it was useless as a miller on the lathe and took up space, I have now realised i could have made and engineers floor standing pillar drill with it - with an MT3 Taper for big drills. i had need of such a drill two weeks ago. (I thought poop and fatherless child to myself). looking at pillar drills or in fact any old machine shop machinery in the UK now is a very expensive game, even second hand. hence my advice on your find - don't be in a hurry to disassemble it.
    Smoke makes electronics work, if it escapes the equipment breaks.
    Got to keep the smoke in.

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    I agree totally with your observations and am always trying not to shoot myself in my future foot. It's been a big change for me to move to a mostly tourist area. There is small industry but not a lot of heavy manufacturing. So metal supply, especially small pieces are hard to find. I'm still trying to make connections as there are few welding shops, even fewer machine shops. Everything starts at 5' long at the closest dealer so I would had to spend over $150 and then would have to sit on the rest of it.

    I don't have a hydraulic press or do any punch work. I have a 3tn arbor press that so far does what little press work I need. But I do have a project in mind for this chunk. A mod of the current Tony Faole ball turner. The trick is to anneal it so I can work it. I have a small set of tanks so I don't think the rosebud would work, and I don't have a forge. But maybe it's time to rig something with charcoal, a brake drum and a blower?

    I have an easy time acquiring, but a hard time selling. So I've not had that problem yet of selling something then regretting it. So that makes me more likely to repurpose like with that drill head you mentioned. As the industry that is here is gutted and the old guys retire stuff comes up and it's sometimes amazing. I'm very limited in my space which is by design as I would have dragged home somehow some behemoths. The old industrial size machines are sometimes achingly cheap. Like an old Index vert mill and a huge old American horizontal mill for $450 ea. Luckily I couldn't even move them, much less get them in my garage My brother sold his Hitachi mill for $1,000(direct knockoff of a Cincinnatti) because nobody except this outfit could move a 8,000lb mill.

    Hobby size stuff is another matter. If it will fit in a garage and says Atlas or South Bend then you could swear it's made out of gold. I got my '90 Chinese lathe and '87 Tiawan mill/drill for $1000 total with some tooling and both suffering from multiple hobbyist owner ignorance induced problems. So it's been a two way street as my need of more precision goes up I fix and mod the old machines and we both are the better for it.

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    MeJason T is correct the plate does have the appearance of having been used as a bolster plate. As for paying too much well .33 cents a pound in today's market is not out of the range for used steels or cut off drops I visited a metal place a while back and thye had gone to .60 for drops and $1.00 for any cut shapes they thought folks might want.
    Trike road poet is on the right track for annealing however this process is not quite as simple as just heating a hunk of metal to 1650°f and packing it in sand. while the method does work it sometimes is not optimal for thicker or larger pieces of steel.
    First off the metal needs to be heated evenly and slowly all over then held to a specific temp for a period of time. The length of time depends on shape , size and type of steel. A good starting point when the grade is unknown is to bring the steel up 50 to 100°f per minute in an oven until the desired temp is reached then held there for at least half an hour per half inch thickness then turn off or remove the heat source form the oven and leave it in the oven until the temperature is below 450°f remove and allow to air cool. this will fully and evenly anneal most medium carbon steels
    However most of us do not own or have access to an oven for this process the next best would be a charcoal grill build a large fire in the grill as if you were going to grill a 72oz Amarillo TX sized steak. let the bed of coals get fully red put the steel directly on the coals and cover it with more burning coals close the lid making sure to have really good air circulation to keep the coals burning and forget about it until tomorrow.
    The last resort method would be to use a #10 or larger rose bud torch act. or propane actually propane is better for this because it is cheaper make the flame as large as is sustainable with a minimal oxygen leaving a long neutral flame blue feather not orange place the metal on another thick steel surface or support it on small diameter pins about 4 inches above a steel surface or fire bricks so you can apply heat all the way around if placed directly on the surface be aware that this surface is also going to be heated very hot if this is a work table the table may become warped even if as thick as 1/2" Wave the torch all over the part and slowly bring it up to 1650° or just becoming almost orange all over keep it at that heat for at least half an hour after the color has stabilized all over. then place a 4 sided structure around it and fill with heated sand or lime, forget about it until tomorrow. Your steel will be as workable as can be.
    There are some short cuts to either of these processes when the grade of steel is known.
    OR if you want to leave it as is just surface grind it to smooth flat and square on all sides and have a nice block of steel for what ever you need to use a square block of steel for.
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    Thanks Frank. I was hoping you'd join the discussion. Especially because I knew you'd have several options for getting 'er done. Sounds like my best option is the neighbors huge homemade BBQ grill. He was very receptive to doing your process for seasoning our cast iron pans in it so doing this for annealing this should be ok.

    So, like a 10lb bag of charcoal would be enough? Or 20lb?

    Interesting that not too long ago I saw a heat treating oven on CL, don't remember how much. But I thought "what would I ever use something like that for?" Now I know.

    Oh, and thanks for not making me feel so bad about paying $5 for it.

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    I forgot to mention that you will most probably need a small forced air source at least to get the hunk of steel up to temp. and once at temp just pile on more charcoal over the top of it you should them be able to remove the forced air a common hand held hair dryer should be enough you don't need to try and make it bright cherry or near white hot since you probably are not going to re shape it.
    Yeah I missed out on a 3 cubic foot heat treating oven a while back from a University of Texas A & M surplus auction, I had a bid in at $200.00 but in the last few minutes the price jumped over my max bid to end at well over $600.00 I can only buy at where I can afford things if they go over what I think I can afford even if they are still a good value I cannot justify spending more than I feel is within my means. Gone are the days when I would simply write the check then call the bank and say cover it for me I'll come in and sign the loan papers when I get a chance. I don't borrow so I don't have to worry about how to pay it back. I haven't bought anything on credit not even a credit card in 20 years. But I sure have accumulated a lot of stuff in the past 4 years
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    My only addition would be to NEVER use an iron worker on it. A guy brought in some metal and he just needed a hole punched in it. A minute later we were trying to see if the center part that moves up and down could be replaced as his metal was hard and broke our machine... It was less than a 1/4" thick, but it was harder than the 3" inner spine of our Edwards Jaws 5 Ironworker... It has been years, but I think it cost like $1500 to replace. Needless to say we now do not allow customers to supply metal that goes through the Ironworker or the Cincinatti Pressbrake.

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    JeffEck I can relate to that I had a worker one time try to shear off a 1.5" diameter induction hardened Caterpillar cylinder rod in my 120 ton Piranha after the bang and the ricochet noise stopped I found 2 guys in need of the EMTs and a major part of my machine out of commission for weeks waiting for replacement parts
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
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    Frank, it hurts to just read that.

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