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IndustryArena Forum > MetalWorking > General MetalWork Discussion > What steel would you machine these from?
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  1. #1
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    What steel would you machine these from?

    Hi

    First I'm a newbie so I've tagged this post as such.

    I bought my first CNC lathe and mill. They came from surplus and are missing a few parts. I'd like to make them. Note, this is a long term plan. I don't plan to make them as my first project(s) as I need to begin much simpler but I am curious as to the general practicality of the task.

    - The first is a tooling plate. It attaches to a rotary changer. Mine came missing the plate. I bought an entire new changer with plate but I'd like to make a replacement plate.

    - The second is a tool holder for a mill pneumatic automatic tool changer. The holder is no longer in production. I was able to find one. I realize it's probably easier to adapt a different holder still in production such as a Tormach but I'd like to try making replacements.

    My questions:

    - What material would you make these from? Some kind of tooling steel? Or is that unnecessary for work holding? Can anyone recommend a good resource that discusses the basics of material selection for particular tasks? Obviously it's a wide ranging topic that could rapidly get complex for very specific tasks.

    - For the blackening I assume they dipped them and then did a thin cut to selectively remove?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails holder.jpg   plate.jpg  

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    For the tooling plate I would make that from 4140 or 4340, or at least one of the 4xxx series of steel. Good strength and reasonably easy to machine. Can be heat treated if desired.

    For the tool holder, I would use 4150, or maybe a heavy truck axle or hydraulic cylinder rod if you can find one at a scrap yard. Since you are local, Clackamas Steel has a bunch of hydraulic cylinder rods on the shelf at reasonable prices, to the left of the drive through. But before I went through the work of building one from scratch, I would see if it's possible to modify an existing holder.

    In this case, the blackening is most likely an artifact from the heat treatment, prior to finish grinding. There are several methods of blackening steel if you want to do that, I personally use gun bluing for my projects.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  3. #3
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazybrit View Post
    Hi

    First I'm a newbie so I've tagged this post as such.

    I bought my first CNC lathe and mill. They came from surplus and are missing a few parts. I'd like to make them. Note, this is a long term plan. I don't plan to make them as my first project(s) as I need to begin much simpler but I am curious as to the general practicality of the task.

    - The first is a tooling plate. It attaches to a rotary changer. Mine came missing the plate. I bought an entire new changer with plate but I'd like to make a replacement plate.

    - The second is a tool holder for a mill pneumatic automatic tool changer. The holder is no longer in production. I was able to find one. I realize it's probably easier to adapt a different holder still in production such as a Tormach but I'd like to try making replacements.

    My questions:

    - What material would you make these from? Some kind of tooling steel? Or is that unnecessary for work holding? Can anyone recommend a good resource that discusses the basics of material selection for particular tasks? Obviously it's a wide ranging topic that could rapidly get complex for very specific tasks.

    - For the blackening I assume they dipped them and then did a thin cut to selectively remove?
    What are the Machines that you can't get tool holders for, some photo's of the machines would be good.
    Mactec54

  4. #4
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    What are the Machines that you can't get tool holders for, some photo's of the machines would be good.
    Light Machines Prolight. I can use other brands (like Tormach) if I make new dogs for the changer (I said in the initial post that I knew this). My question was about making my own. Everyone has a differing ideas on how to spend their time, value of their time ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Since you are local, Clackamas Steel .
    i refuse to go there. They suck. If you read their reviews I am far from alone in this opinion.

  5. #5
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazybrit View Post
    Light Machines Prolight. I can use other brands (like Tormach) if I make new dogs for the changer (I said in the initial post that I knew this). My question was about making my own. Everyone has a differing ideas on how to spend their time, value of their time ;-)
    Yes by all means make your own parts / Tooling, I do it all the time, material can almost be anything, depending on how long you want it to last, From 1214 free machining mild steel to prehard P20 which machines ok, and is already heat treated makes good tooling with no other treatment needed.
    Mactec54

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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    Yes by all means make your own parts / Tooling, I do it all the time, material can almost be anything, depending on how long you want it to last, From 1214 free machining mild steel to prehard P20 which machines ok, and is already heat treated makes good tooling with no other treatment needed.
    Are there any good resources that discuss different types of steel and methods of heat treating that are suitable for the hobbyist?

  7. #7
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazybrit View Post
    Are there any good resources that discuss different types of steel and methods of heat treating that are suitable for the hobbyist?
    That is why I said P20 would be a good choice as heat treatment is not needed.

    01 is another steel used for lots of parts, and is easy to heat treat, with a torch for heating it up then quench in oil, ( Canola oil works very well ) then temper in you toaster oven

    If you want to learn about heat treatment and different steels, eBay has this that may help, eBay # 162544948596

    Some heat treating you would have done by company that specializes in Heat Treater
    Mactec54

  8. #8
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Answering my own question.

    Heat Treatment, Selection, and Application of Tool Steels 2E 2nd Edition (2009)
    by William E. Bryson

    In addition to lots of info about heat-treatment, chapter 20 is dedicated to tool steel selection

    "What you’re about to read in this chapter is a method of selecting
    tool steels with today’s most popular grades in mind. However, there are
    also some steels discussed here that have lost much of their popularity
    in the past few years and are becoming more and more difficult to buy
    in the marketplace"

    While I'm sure lots of old info on that eBay DVD still applies, I was hoping for something more recent and this seems to fit the bill.

  9. #9
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    Re: What steel would you machine these from?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazybrit View Post
    Answering my own question.

    Heat Treatment, Selection, and Application of Tool Steels 2E 2nd Edition (2009)
    by William E. Bryson

    In addition to lots of info about heat-treatment, chapter 20 is dedicated to tool steel selection

    "What you’re about to read in this chapter is a method of selecting
    tool steels with today’s most popular grades in mind. However, there are
    also some steels discussed here that have lost much of their popularity
    in the past few years and are becoming more and more difficult to buy
    in the marketplace"

    While I'm sure lots of old info on that eBay DVD still applies, I was hoping for something more recent and this seems to fit the bill.
    Yes there are many books just like this, even an App for your phone, :banana: Heat treating practices have not changed no matter how old the information is, Tool Steels are just the same and the process for Heat Treating them, is much older than you are, so any information on Heat Treatment would be valid information

    The parts you show in your post are not made from Tool Steel, and would never be made with Tool Steel, they are made from high carbon steel, En32 or EN36 or similar brand name Steel, they are just case hardened parts, so knowing about how to Heat Treat Tool Steel, won't do you much good. you need to know about Case Hardening and Core Refinement, and then be able to Grind the parts after Heat Treating
    Mactec54

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