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Argh, the cost of brass!

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patmat2350

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#1
Why does engraver's brass cost what it does, yikes!

I'm thinking of a clock-like project, and love the traditional brass... but the cost is crazy.... well over $100 for a 12x12 plate of 1/8" C353.

I've seen some discussion here and elsewhere about using aluminum for frames and gears... I'm sure the old clockmakers of yore might have considered it if it was available then... but brass just looks and wears better.

What to do, what to do...
 

wawoodman

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#2
For the time and love you will invest in the project, why cheap out on the materials?

Go for it!
 

pstemari

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#3
C260 cartridge brass is quite a bit cheaper at Online Metals, not sure why, about $70.

McMaster has the C353 for $86.50 for a 12x12x1/8 piece.
 

Silverbullet

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#4
If your doing the job and you want brass buy it , maybe shop around a bit but don't scrimp out unless you can't afford it.. I go cheaper because I have to , don't like it but it's finances.
 

dlane

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#6
fixing my pressure washer I discovered the pump is brass, I'll never throw a them away again.
 

ch2co

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#7
I have a turntable (yes I still love to listen to vinyl) that I bought back in 1962 that is made of solid aluminum and was brass color anodized. It's been a fantastic machine and has been used A LOT, but very well cared for. Other than an SME tonearm that I added in the '70's the finish has held up quite well except for the outer edge of the ~ 1-1/2 thick platter. The rubber drive belts rapidly discolored the anodizing which didn't look like it matched the quality of the rest of the beautiful finish. OK I'm being picky, but I thought that it looked like xxxx. During a service tune up when I replaced the old tonearm with the SME arm and a good cleaning and re-lubing of the spindle, I decided to clean up the outer edge of the platter. Nothing worked. I finally ended up laboriously and carefully removing the brass anodizing from just the flat outer edge of the platter with abrasives which after a lot of elbow grease looked (and still does look, in my humble opinion) infinately better, and matched the new bright aluminum tone arm. The rest of the turntable is still the original good looking brass color. What I'm trying to get to with all this this is that brass colored anodizing although pretty tough and hard stuff isn't brass. I've found on many occasions that anodizing stains. Now maybe newer anodizing techniques are better and don't stain as easily. If I want brass I use brass. I can't see making a clock mechanism from anything else than brass. I have a 1923 mantle clock on my piano that has run almost continuously with only cleaning and oiling and still runs perfectly. Would aluminum, even anodized last this long?
Sorry for the run on, it's what happens when you' re a

Grumpy old man.
 

David S

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#8
You could use aluminum plates and install brass bushings. If you use the KWM or Bergeon bushing system then it will be an easy replacement in 25 years when they start to wear out.

David
 
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WMello

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#9
I'm building a large clock. Starting with 14 x 8 x 3/16" plates.

Would not use aluminum, but could not justify the cost for C353.

So I'm using C260 for plates and C360 for rods.

Wagner
 
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WMello

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#10
And about the high cost, I blame the Steampunk crowd.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#11
Maybe its time for somebody to learn how to bring hard anodizing into the home shop arena. Regular anodizing is pretty tough, but there are some hard anodizing processes out there now that are incredible.

Remember that anodizing causes your parts to grow a little. If that was it then it would be no big deal, but the fellow who owns Taig Tools told me he had issues with T-slot tables in that the ends tended to grow slightly more than the rest of the piece.
 

Silverbullet

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#12
fixing my pressure washer I discovered the pump is brass, I'll never throw a them away again.
Don't be to sure , some are coated. I've repaired and replaced more then 500 over the years. Some really are brass but not as many as there use to be. The biggest problem with pressure washers is the owner. If taken care of even just a few minutes would save 90% of breakdowns. Frozen and cracked is tops usually .
 

Silverbullet

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#13
For the high cost and inability to find , it's the companies who do the commodities market. Raise prices by not producing its worked forever , remember the gas shortage in the seventies. My best friend worked for Arco then , inside right he told me they had barges full off shore in pinegrove where they produced petroleum . No shortages now and there profits and prices control our driving and more . When a senator needs a raise of backdoor finances ,you get the drift. Follow the money.
 
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