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Thread: What steel?

  1. #1

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    Angry What steel?

    Hi guys,

    A little basic help please.

    I run a small repair shop (Lathe, Drill-Mill, Press, grinders, welding, etc.) to make parts and to service and repair Dairy Homogenizes. The only material I use is Stainless Steel (316 & 304 usually). I know very little about the 'stock' material that a lot of the parts/tools listed in this forum are made of

    But! Seeing some of the members designs I see a lot of stuff that can help me in my shop - Tool-Past Grinders, Mechanic's Jacks, etc. But I don't know What materiel to use (they say 'a piece of stock'). What the hell is a piece of stock? It's obviously a piece of some sort of steel that they had laying around.

    I hope I'm not being stupid - It's just that I don't have any 'usual' or 'general' knowledge of the type of material that one would have lying around. Is this a dumb question?

    Cheers,
    Neville

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    Never a stupid question is asked the only stupid questions are those which never get asked.
    When most refer to a piece of stock they are simply stating that they are using some type of metal which they probably have lying around depending os the tool or part they are making this actually could be just about anything. sometimes even plastic or wood. But often in their posts you will be able to read little subtle hints as to what metal they are referring to.for machinist jacks those can be made out of just about any material you are comfortable with or a combination of metals like using a common bolt for the jack screw then brass aluminum mild steel cast iron Stainless steel or even keeping it real simple just use an elongated nut commonly called a coupling nut.
    for other tools such as say a mount for a tool post grinder again most any type of machinable material may be used many prefer to use aluminum simply because it is easy to machine.
    If any tool or fixture is going to require welding then mild steel is often used but not an absolute as there are welding and bonding processes for almost any type of metal some more complex than others. Joining dissimilar metals ca also be accomplished across a wide range of metals but not all Obviously one would not want to try and weld stainless or other steels to aluminum.
    when making things like punches dies and cutters you need to use metals which can be annealed if need be,for processing then hardened.
    f\for making clamping tools I find that when ever possible I chose metals with high tensile strengths but still machinable and not so hard as to be brittle
    Hope this helps I'm sure there will be others who will add more input and welcome to the the best place to feed TAS ( Tool Acquisition Syndrome) may it become an addiction that you will never want to be cured of.
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  5. #3
    Jon
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    That's actually a very good question; I'm going to add this to our newsletter today.

    Besides metal stock selection, other similar important questions surround the issues of wood selection, motor selection, and fastener selection.

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    Great Jon: only remember this could turn into a rabbit hole in addition to the afore mentioned, there are categories such as when one type of cutting tool is preferable over another for a given material type being processed. adhesives, build up resins, bonding release agents, abrasives, coatings, cleaning agents, and penetrating solvents, just to name a few, both home brew and commercial in many of these categories
    In the short year and a half that I have been on these forums I've read 100's of threads offering alternative thoughts for processes and materials selections on just about every build project imaginable.
    Unlike other sites where clicks form within the forums and if you are not privy to their secret eye roll, professionals and noob's alike are treated as if they just grew a 3rd ear should they be so brave as to ask a question.
    Here anyone from the greenest novice to the well seasoned professionals can or should feel a seance of welcome.
    Never try to tell me it can't be done
    When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/

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    Neville - I think when someone says he made it out of "stock" what he is saying it is some unidentified material that he had that could only be identified by outward appearance, i.e. steel, brass, aluminum, copper or what ever the size and shape or some other appearance or history suggests.
    Usually when you make something you pick a material that offers specific features your ganeral application requires, primarily resistance to the chemical and mechanical environment of the use, and size, shape and cost that make the fabrication job easiest. What would be "stock" in your shop would be scrap, leftovers and offcuts of the material you most commonly use. The stainless steels you mention are pretty common in most parts of the world. They may be the only types stocked by dealers in South Africa where you are well away from most highly industrialized areas of the world.
    Here in the USA your customers' type of "sanitary" application requires easy to clean surfaces and a combination of structural durabillity to survive the production environment. Some reasonable light weight is also needed to allow economic handling of portable components or parts that require frequent disassembly for cleaning. 304 (18-8 composition) probably has all the needed corrosion resistance, is easy to weld especially in low carbon grades, and availabiity in sheet form with nice surface finishes. 316 offers better strength to weight ratios, is more expensive and harder than 304 to fabricate. Again, a low carbon version of 316 means more reliable welds. The presence of commercial fishing on your local coasts suggests there may also be some nitrogen strengthened stainless steels of composition similar to 304 but strength properties well above 316. In the USA they are known by the brand name "Nitronic" followed by a number like 40 or 50. A common use is in propellor shafts for fishing boats operating in heavy sea conditions.
    Another common stainless steel in the USA is 17-4ph known as a "precipitation hardening" stainless. We have foundries here that make beautiful 17-4ph investment castings with surface finishes that are smooth enough to invite secondary polishing. This technology may well be applicable to dairy equipment. There are also foundries that do 17-4 investment casting in China 17-4 selling product into American specialty automotive equipment market through US retailer/importers. 17-4 ph has a corrosion resistance somewhere between 304 (and CF8M the casting alloy) and the 400 series chromium stainless steels. Note also that 17-4 ph is shipped in its maximum strength state called "Condition A". A simple premaching heat treat to what is called "condition H1150" makes it easier to machine and this retains most of the desired strength properties of the alloy.
    There are also "free machining" versions 416 and 303 which can't be properly welded, give away some acid corrosion resistance and may have alloy constiuents like selenium unacceptable for food processing at least where product contamination is a possibility. These alloys may be useful for specialty fasteners and and other small machned parts where the strength and thread galling resistance are needed but product contamination is not an issue. And on the subject of galling resistance between surfaces that move relative to each other and sustain loads the Nitronic alloys have proven highly resistant to this failure. If you have failure prone shafts running in bushings or cylindrical pieces that must be assembled with tight fits the Nitronic steels may be worth the cost of purchasing from afar and international shipment.
    I know this is specialized data dump; but I wanted to share some of my own mechanical engineering experience with folks who work out in the far reaches of technologies most of us take for granted.
    Ed Weldon, Los Gatos, California

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    Astounding, simply put. Pose a question and myriad responses occur as if by magic. They vary more than quantity of contributors alone; multiplied by experience, locale, vocabulary, advancements, and intuitive sleuthing.
    In this field, [or any with incredibly faceted processes, techniques, and save-the-day fixes] no stupid questions exist.
    In no way could ANYONE know all this. There are some that know an incredible amount. I'd warrant they achieved a portion of that by asking. ? Because answers reveal more questions. And they continue to ask...

    Hopefully, unasked questions are held by lurkers; digesting 'our' terminology so they can ask too.

    Brainstorm along with us!
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    wizard69's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by Neville Young View Post
    Hi guys,

    A little basic help please.
    Hopefully we can help.
    I run a small repair shop (Lathe, Drill-Mill, Press, grinders, welding, etc.) to make parts and to service and repair Dairy Homogenizes. The only material I use is Stainless Steel (316 & 304 usually). I know very little about the 'stock' material that a lot of the parts/tools listed in this forum are made of
    Think of stock as stuff you have on hand. How suitable yours stock is for a specific project depends upon that actual stock. Often the material is "mystery steel" to the author, that is he has no idea what he used to create his project.

    This actually highlights a big problem in many shops, if you buy a know piece of stock, say 1018 cold rolled you need to mark it immediately and anytime you trim off the markings. Otherwise it eventually becomes mystery material.
    But! Seeing some of the members designs I see a lot of stuff that can help me in my shop - Tool-Past Grinders, Mechanic's Jacks, etc. But I don't know What materiel to use (they say 'a piece of stock'). What the hell is a piece of stock? It's obviously a piece of some sort of steel that they had laying around.
    Well this is a learning process, eventually you will get a handle on the various alloys used in the machine shop. I like to think of stock as three major variants, they would be Cold Rolled, Hot Rolled and special steels. Within those groups there are a number of recipes yielding specific features.

    I hope I'm not being stupid - It's just that I don't have any 'usual' or 'general' knowledge of the type of material that one would have lying around. Is this a dumb question?
    it isn't dumb at all, I learn something new shop related almost every day!
    Cheers,
    Neville
    The best advice I can offer up is two fold.

    First read up on the many different alloys sold by the common suppliers. It really pays to bone up with info from the horses mouth so to speak. The reason I say this is that sometimes online advice from the various forums can be very bad advice or simply the result of a misunderstanding.

    Second if you have a specific project coming up ask for advice. Just understand that I'm many cases there is no right answer. You could easily get one guy suggesting 1144 and another 4140 for a shaft.

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