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repurposing metal stock for the lathe...

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rambin

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always looking for some decent material for projects.. hot rolled round is easy to find but doesn't seem to be the best finnish… nice but not great.. found an old cv joint thought It might be good quality steel but all I got was sparks when I put it in the lathe. and not much of a finnish. im guessing it must be hard as hell? would axle shafts be good material?
 

Bob Korves

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Test your work for hardness before you start cutting it. A file will tell you what you have. If the file skates and does not cut, it is too hard for normal machining. You learn to tell hard from soft metals pretty quickly using this method.
 

Flyinfool

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Most axles are pretty hard. File test it before you go through the effort to set it up and toast a lathe cutter.
 

ericc

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I was successfully able to use a FWD axle as lathe stock. I used it for some taper tooling. First annealed it in a fire, then it cuts fine with file, hacksaw, HSS. Just heat to non-magnetic and cool slowly. Even as-forged or normalized is OK.
 

rgray

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I use front drive CV shafts quite a bit. They are not to hard in the center section ,but the splined ends will be hardened.
As mentioned file test it first.
 

gonzo

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I have made numerous things out of an old ford tractor implement drive shaft.
 

Janderso

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I cut a piece of solid 2" x 2" 12L14 that had been in a fire.
It cut like aluminum. Worked out great for the project but boy was it annealed!
Most scrap I get is mystery metal. Yes, a file works great to help identify.
Aren't most axles and hydraulic shafts close to 4140? Usually hardened on the business end?
 

rambin

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I use front drive CV shafts quite a bit. They are not to hard in the center section ,but the splined ends will be hardened.
As mentioned file test it first.
I tried cutting the bell section (outside shell of where the balls ride) and as I said made lots of sparks, it did cut but nothing nice.. I didn't try the spline end. annealings a thought but a lot of effort and I don't really wanna light the wood stove its july I can find softer metals!
 

rgray

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I tried cutting the bell section (outside shell of where the balls ride) and as I said made lots of sparks,
I have not tried that part. May be different material. I use the outers as seal drivers, they work pretty good for that.

I've just machined the shafts. I usually end up cutting the splines off.
 

Downunder Bob

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I tried cutting the bell section (outside shell of where the balls ride) and as I said made lots of sparks, it did cut but nothing nice.. I didn't try the spline end. annealings a thought but a lot of effort and I don't really wanna light the wood stove its july I can find softer metals!
If you've got a wood stove, save up the hard stuff for winter then toss them in the firebox, leave them there until the fire burn sout and cools take them out they will machine beautifully, you've always re harden if needed. Discarded axle shafts are also great steel, can usually be machined with carbide tools except for the spline ends.
 

Latinrascalrg1

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I tried cutting the bell section (outside shell of where the balls ride) and as I said made lots of sparks, it did cut but nothing nice.. I didn't try the spline end. annealings a thought but a lot of effort and I don't really wanna light the wood stove its july I can find softer metals!
I find inviting some friends over to share tales around a campfire to be the perfect excuse to soften some metal for the upcoming projects in that it kills multiple birds with the same stone or fire in this case!
For instance......The social time with friends and family earns me them Quality brownie points with the Significant Other......Which in turn make me feel less guilty when i slink away to the workshop for some me time (yeah i know that may sound a bit selfish).......plus I get needed material ready to be used while I sit back and enjoy a nice fire with people I Like being around.
 

ericc

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Sounds good. Nothing like a little heat. You don't even have to reach austenitic (magnet test), since these medium carbon steels really respond to a sub critical anneal. I took that scrap axle to the forge and put it at the edge of the fire pot the last time I did some blacksmithing. I hot filed about a third of the splines off and left it to normalize (air cool). After it cooled, everything cut just fine with a file. Splines, removed splines, no splines, which meant that they were probably just induction hardened and not chemically treated. So, HSS should cut them off just fine, and I can make another MT3 mill arbor.
 

nnam

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Hard stuff are good source, in case one wants to harden it up again.
Use a cheap propane torch and firebricks to make a tunnel. Around me, I gave away a free electric kiln, and people keep promising, but didn't show up. That would make a good source for large fire bricks.

Charcoal stove can be made pretty easy also with fire bricks and a drilled out steel pipe connected to a hair dryer. About 5 minutes and non-magnetic would be achieved.
 

jdedmon91

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I’ll vouch for the fire pit method. I had a old thread mill shaft that was gifted me. It was too hard to machine so I had a bunch of scrap wood to burn up so I put the shaft in the bottom of the fire and lit it up. After the wood burned up the shaft was easily machinable.


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MontanaLon

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I am fond of railroad spikes, they are free is you talk to the guys running the TRT. Of course turning a square round can take a little time but it is good working steel. And in some situations it is pretty cool to leave part of them recognizable. This is more of an artsy kind of thing and less a precision metalworking thing. I have a knife made out of one that works pretty well as a letter opener.
 

ericc

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I have another thread under the Questions section. It contains a photo of a lantern tool that I made for my South Bend lathe. If you squint hard, you will see that the lantern is made from a railroad spike. The head was forged back to center, and the middle was slot punched. The base was turned and faced (necessary), and the post section was turned (cosmetic).
 

Illinoyance

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I get most of my raw material by dumpster diving. Usually I can ID the material because I know what the company makes. If I am making anything where the properties are critical or if it needs to be heat treated I buy new from McMaster.
 

jdedmon91

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My other sources of materials is repurposed soft steels from flea market items. But my number 1 source is buying out of the local Metal Supermarkets scrap bin. Our local store let’s us rummage through their bins and it has been a good source of material


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