[4]

Printer rod alloy

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!

martik777

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
350
Likes
35
#1
Anyone know what laser, bubble jet printer rods are made of?

They don't rust so some kind of stainless? They are so easy to machine unlike 303 or 308 so I was thinking 12L14 but that rusts.
 

whitmore

Active Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
345
Likes
198
#2
My main reference (McMaster-Carr website <https://www.mcmaster.com/stainless-steel-shafts>)
offers stainless steel linear motion shafts in 440C stainless (magnetic, surface hardened)
as well as in 17-4 PH (precipitation hardened) stainless.
If you want to machine 'em, you probably don't need
the accurate dimension or hardening, and maybe (with plastic glides) dotmatrix printers don't need hardening either.
 

BaronJ

Brass
Registered
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
660
Likes
334
#3
Anyone know what laser, bubble jet printer rods are made of?

They don't rust so some kind of stainless? They are so easy to machine unlike 303 or 308 so I was thinking 12L14 but that rusts.
All the ones I've played with have been chromed or are leaded steel. But as you say, nice to machine.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
4,486
Likes
4,853
#4
This has been asked for quite some time and, to my knowledge, nobody has identified it. I agree that it appears to be some kind of stainless alloy or some rust-resistant alloy that is accurately ground. I've machined a lot of it and it is for sure not 303 or 416. It is really soft so you might suspect it is leaded or possibly have some sulfur or selenium in there but nobody seems to know.

Tell you what, though. No discarded printer is safe from me - if I see one, I grab it to harvest the rods.
 

middle.road

Actively Learning...
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
1,561
Likes
843
#5
This has been asked for quite some time and, to my knowledge, nobody has identified it. I agree that it appears to be some kind of stainless alloy or some rust-resistant alloy that is accurately ground. I've machined a lot of it and it is for sure not 303 or 416. It is really soft so you might suspect it is leaded or possibly have some sulfur or selenium in there but nobody seems to know.

Tell you what, though. No discarded printer is safe from me - if I see one, I grab it to harvest the rods.
Yep, yep. whole drawer full.
I let two big Xerox 6250's get by me this past summer. Those would have made for a nice harvesting.
 

MrWhoopee

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member ($10)
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
532
Likes
347
#6
If it machines that nicely, it could be 12L14 that's been chrome (or hard-chrome) plated and ground. Can you take a really light cut (less than .005) or does it chip?

Making me think about tearing into that old Brother MFC that's sitting on the bench.
 

martik777

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
350
Likes
35
#7
Hard to tell if it's chipping or not but even when cut it doesn't rust. It is also weldable.

My best harvest was a Lexmark color laser 13 long rod, mostly 1/2". Don't forget the laser cartridges, they have a couple too and a nice metal tube.

You can buy the 3D printer rods on ebay which I think are the same material. They describe them as chromed carbon steel:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/8mm-CNC-3D...0-500mm/192537955768?var=&hash=item2cd4280db8
 
Last edited:

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
4,486
Likes
4,853
#8
The stuff I've used does not chip. It cuts like butter and will take a very fine cut and produces a really fine finish, especially with a sharp HSS tool. I've turned a lot of 12L14 and this stuff turns even easier and it doesn't rust like 12L14 does. Hence the mystery.

Martik, chromed carbon steel from China - have you tried to turn it before? Is is the same stuff? I think the reason most of us want to know what it is is so we can order it in larger diameters and quantities. At least I would.
 

martik777

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
350
Likes
35
#9
It looks exactly like the rods I used to make my 3D printer. I just machined one and it does appear the same. Not cheap at $3.99 / ft on ebay though.

Alibaba may be under $1/ft I sent them a quote request - will share when they respond

https://www.alibaba.com/product-det...l?spm=a2700.7724838.2017115.23.11d762fe6VBRt5

If you're looking for material easy to machine, try some 1144 stressproof, it's become my favorite. onlinemetals sells it reasonable. Not suiitable for good welding due to high sulphur content.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
4,486
Likes
4,853
#10
Yeah, I like 1144, too, and I use it a lot but it is much harder than printer rod. I wonder what they mean by carbon steel - sort of a generic term, no?
 

martik777

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
350
Likes
35
#11
Yeah, It's a common error
 

martik777

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
350
Likes
35
#12
I got a quote from that alibaba link for 15M (45ft) of 8mm rods of $3.20/M and $42 shipping UPS - works out to $2/ft.

It would be cheaper if a larger qty was shipped.
 

mikey

Active User
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Joined
Dec 20, 2012
Messages
4,486
Likes
4,853
#13
Looked that rod up and it is AISL 52100. This is a high carbon chromium steel with a Rockwell C hardness of over 60 as supplied. So, it might work well for a 3D printer assembly but it is NOT the stuff you find in your discarded ink jet printer at the curb.

And the mystery continues ... ;)
 

martik777

Active User
Registered
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
350
Likes
35
#14
Hmmm, the rod I removed from my 3D printer machined the same as the ink jet/laser printer rods. Definitely not Rockwell C 60, more like 10-15.

But you are right their description does say AISL 52100
 
Last edited:
[6]
[5] [7]
Top