Thanks in advance. I have spent the last year playing with sheet metal and
welding and have accumulated many books and references relative to these. I
can generally look up what I need within my limited skills and needs. Now I
have bought a mini lathe to play with and I have realized that I know
nothing about materials relative to machining. Can anyone point me to a
site or reference that would discuss machining properties. I don't know
what can or cannot be machined. I would be interested in steel and aluminum
since I work with both. I know this is an incredibly basic question but I am
just starting. I would like to buy some material to play with but really
don't know what to get. Google did not help me though I know that generally
means I am entering the wrong terms.
Barry , where are you at , have you checked for a local metalworkers group
in your area ?
might also consider getting a bunch of home shop machinist and machinist
as well as a copy of Southbends How To Run A Lathe , you can find all of the
above on ebay , and abes books
I can't recommend any particular books, but you'll be pleased to machine any
of three grades of aluminum. 2024, 6061 and 7075. Buying them in the aged
condition makes them all the nicer to machine. T351 or T4 for 2024 and
T6 for both 6061 and 7075 are good choices. You can weld on 6061, but it
loses it's heat treated (or aged) properties and is very soft after welding.
It can be restored, but must be solution annealed before it can once again
be aged. . Neither 2024 or 7075 are considered to be weldable.
It's a real broad world where ferrous alloys are concerned, and heat treat
tends to spell the difference between machining, or not. If you're
interested in simply taking some cuts to familiarize yourself with your
lathe, it's hard to beat any of the free machining steel grades.
Included in that category would be 1213, 1215,12L14, and 11L17. Most
materials lend themselves to machining, just some present more problems than
others. Stainless can be challenging, but there are a few free machining
grades that are a pleasure to work with. They are 303 S, 303 Se, and 416.
The 300 series is non-magnetic and can't be heat treated. 416 is magnetic,
and can be heat treated. There are many other alloys of stainless, but
the ones mentioned should get you at least familiar with how they look and
machine. Choosing any other of the 300 series for machining than those
mentioned can be an interesting experience if you're not experienced.
They are difficult to machine and tend to ruin cutting tools of all kinds.
I'm sure someone will recommend a book that will serve you well. I worked
in the trade, so I got introduced to the vast majority of the materials on
the job, more or less the school of hard knocks.
I'd reccomend my college text for machine shop 101. My son used the same
book when he took the course 20 years later. "Machine Tool Practices" Lots a
pics and step by step how to on many operations. I see its pricey, new. I've
got the 2nd edition, the new one is the 7th.
"Barry" wrote in
Probably the single most important book to a machinist: The Machinery
Handbook. It's an investment, but if you need to know it relative to
metal, or metal cutting, the answer or formula can usually be found in
Yellow brass is also fun to turn. There are a bazillion different
brasses, but if it's yellow it'll probably turn OK. I have no idea
what the composition might be of the various brasses in my rawstock
collection, but they all machine nicely. Bonus: polished brass is
Man, are you in for an education! :-)
Manganese bronze is yellow, as is aluminum bronze. Each of them are an
experience you won't soon forget. The only thing they have in common with
the brass you speak of is the color. Naval bronze can also be trying,
although far more forgiving than manganese or aluminum.
The nicest material I've ever machined, *ever*, is leaded phosphor bronze.
It cuts freely, and leaves a wonderful surface. Leave out the lead,
however, and it's a bitch.
If you ask around (neighbours, friends etc.) spending an hour or so
with some one who's been on the bench for a while (you supply the
beer/coffee/doughnuts) they can impart a wealth of imformation and
safety tips that could take days of reading to aquire. This is not to
say you shouldn't do your reading and theory too, but ther is no
substitute for experience.
A day without education is not a good day, and I thank you for the
tip. I guess I've not encountered those materials in my scrounging
for rawstock. All of the mystery yellow brass I've machined has
been very nice.
As is the typical red brass one encounters. The lead included in these
alloys make them a pleasure.
There are several copper alloys that are as ignorant about being machined
as some of the tough stainless alloys.