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IndustryArena Forum > Mechanical Engineering > Linear and Rotary Motion > What's the difference between "drill rod" and "plated steel rod"?
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  1. #1

    What's the difference between "drill rod" and "plated steel rod"?

    What's the difference between "drill rod," like this: Enco - Guaranteed Lowest Prices on Machinery, Tools and Shop Supplies, and "plated steel rod" like the stuff at Lowes?

    Would one be better than the other to use for rails?
    My hobby website: www.roboticsguy.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Drill rod is high in carbon and is intended to be hardened but it doesn't have to be. It is rated such as W (water), O (oil), and A (air) for how you indend to quench it during the hardening process. It is a littler tough to machine but still does well as it is in it's soft state so to speak.

    The metal at Lowes is most likely a low carbon metal such as 1018 with a protective coating to retard corrison. It can not be hardened and the protective coating would make it a poor candidate for case hardening if necessary.

    Best Regards.


    By the way, drill rod is ground so it has closer tolerances than the plated material. So it may be a better choice if you're looking for accuracy even if you don't intend to harden it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Drill rod will normally be a lot closer to nominal in tolerance..

  4. #4
    Thanks for both your replies! It sounds like I should go with drill rod, since it has higher tolerances.

    How hard would it be to drill holes through drill rod? Would this be possible to do with a drill press?
    My hobby website: www.roboticsguy.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Drill rod is very easy to machine. Holes are easily drilled through it.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    For rail usage....I would not use either and would instead use Thomson 60 linear race shafting.

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