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Old Axle Shaft Material Makes Great T-slot Cutter!

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cathead

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#1
A week or so ago, I cut off a chunk of old truck axle shaft and annealed it in the wood furnace
over night. In the morning it was relatively cool and I found I could abrade it with a file.
This morning I machined the end of the axle to 0.5 inch for about an inch and a half and also a 3/8
inch wide band of 1 inch diameter before cutting it off. It machined beautifully. Then it went
into the mill using a spin index and teeth were cut every 30 degrees giving 12 equally spaced teeth.
After that, the part was heated to a nice cherry red and waved in a tin can full of used
compressor oil. The file would not touch it now. A trial cut gave excellent results to I can
see that making more tooling will be in the offing. The photo shows the raw material, a test cut
and also the cutter itself. The machining process took less than an hour. IMG_0575.JPG IMG_0577.JPG
 

tertiaryjim

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#2
A week or so ago, I cut off a chunk of old truck axle shaft and annealed it in the wood furnace
over night. In the morning it was relatively cool and I found I could abrade it with a file.
This morning I machined the end of the axle to 0.5 inch for about an inch and a half and also a 3/8
inch wide band of 1 inch diameter before cutting it off. It machined beautifully. Then it went
into the mill using a spin index and teeth were cut every 30 degrees giving 12 equally spaced teeth.
After that, the part was heated to a nice cherry red and waved in a tin can full of used
compressor oil. The file would not touch it now. A trial cut gave excellent results to I can
see that making more tooling will be in the offing. The photo shows the raw material, a test cut
and also the cutter itself. The machining process took less than an hour. View attachment 96504
Thanks for posting.
What a great use of materials and fine machine work.
Information like this helps us all keep a better eye out for usable materials.
 

randyc

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#3
Very, very clever !
 
A

Andre

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#4
Why did you make it LH?

Seems like it worked great, I wonder what material the axle was made from.
 

cathead

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#5
Why did you make it LH?

Seems like it worked great, I wonder what material the axle was made from.
No reason for it being left handed. I'm left handed so maybe that was why...
Axle shafts are 4000 series steel from what I could determine on the web.
 

basildoug10

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#6
Brilliant, a good exercise to learn from. 10 out of 10.
Regards Basildoug10
 

gt40

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#8
Outstanding...
 

Chip_per

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#9
I'm glad something was posted about an old truck axle, I have about 20 of them and didn't know what to use them for. Thanks cathead.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#11
Bravo!!!
excellent use of materials!!!
:clapping:
 

cathead

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#12
I'm glad something was posted about an old truck axle, I have about 20 of them and didn't know what to use them for. Thanks cathead.
I'm glad something was posted about an old truck axle, I have about 20 of them and didn't know what to use them for. Thanks cathead.

Chip_per,

You are welcome! Thanks for reading my post. You will find this is a great site for hobby machinists
and everyone is very helpful here so you can feel right at home. I have the other axle yet so will be eventually
be using it in my projects. The hardest part is cutting off a chunk to process so maybe the best way
would be to anneal the whole axle and then band saw it into pieces. A carbide cutter would not touch it
in its hard condition. I used an abrasive wheel in my angle grinder finally to cut off a piece. By the way
welcome to The Hobby-Machinist site! I see you are new here. If I can help you in any way, feel free to
contact me. This goes for everyone.

Burt
 

Billh50

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#13
from research I did about a year ago, axles are made from 4140. I have a couple truck axles in my stock pile.
 

cathead

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#14
IMG_0614.JPG Today I am annealing a truck axle in a big wood fire. It will cool down slowly and then be
ready for the next phase which will be dicing it up into some usable sized pieces. The fire
danger is high here these days so am doing this in the wood stove. You can see the end of
the axle roughly in the middle of the photo. The furnace has a blower on it so I expect it
will get pretty hot...

IMG_0614.JPG
 

barlow l

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#16
it has never occurred to me to save axles for good quality material.

Say I wanted to make a bucket pin from an axle with the right diameter, but need a snap ring groove, can just the end be annealed to machine and then re heat treated?
 

cathead

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#17
I'm sure that could be done. It might be more uniform however if you anneal the whole shaft,
machine on it, then heat and quench for best results.
 

Ed ke6bnl

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#18
I just brought down an old axle and his it with a file and thought this will not be of use to me, My just cut it up like you did with my abrasive say and we are expecting some cold weather this weekend and will throw it in the fire. and do as you did. I quess you then can turn it mill it and the harden and temper. sound like a good time to learn. thanks Ed
beats using them for giant tent stakes.
 

benmychree

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#19
I made a B&S taper milling arbor out of an old (really old) truck axle, it was fairly hard on the OD, but softer inside, it worked fine and did not have to be annealed or re heat treated. I was able to key it with HSS tools and finish ground it, and it was stable so far as creeping out of concentricity with age, this was back in the 1970s, and its still in use.
 

john.k

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#20
in the case of Rockwell axles,in the sixties,seventies axles for up to around 4 ton trucks were 1040,bigger axles were 4140..........in the case of old English trucks,with worm drive,axles were nearly always 3% nickle steel...........the cap face and spline s were generally cut after heat treatment,so the axles ,while hard and tough ,can be machined with HSS...........some older car axles had rollers run direct on the shaft ,and were case hardened.....................never use a broken,or twisted off truck axle,as it will have multiple small cracks in it.
 
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