I am sure you are familiar with them. The flat black (sometimes otherwise
coated) wrenches that come with a lot of power tools for changing blades, b
its, discs, etc. They look like they are stamped out of sheet. I am certa
inly not going to make a stamping die for one wrench, but I am sure I could
cut one out of flat stock on the mill when I need one and a regular mechan
ics wrench won't fit. The thing is I don't know what steel to use.
How about an inexpensive alloy that might be easily heat treatable. I don'
t think surface hardening would help for a wrench or a spanner as the cross
section would still be softer, but maybe somebody who knows better could s
Most any alloy that can be hardened (which is most) would work fine. You
can bet your bottom dollar those "included" stamped wrenches are made
from the cheapest stock they can muster.
The real issue is how much use it will get. If you plan to use it
frequently and a lot, invest in some real tool steel. If not, shrug...
I like to have dedicated spanners for some tools and get the forged
single ended ones. Plenty of people selling them on ebay in a range of
sizes in metric and inch. Searching for "single ended spanner" (in the
UK anyway) or "DIN 894" after the DIN standard for them finds plenty.
On Thu, 8 Aug 2013 08:12:16 -0700 (PDT), Bob La Londe
Those things are almost always made of plain carbon steel. 1070 is
common for tools and other odds and ends that need strength with a
moderate amount of ductility.
You'd be suprised how *few* things that we think of as high-strength
are actually made from alloy steels. For example, the piston rods on
shock absorbers and struts: Plain carbon, 1070.
Quality wrenches often are made from a proprietary grade of
chrome-vanadium alloy. But the advantage in most practical uses is
On Thu, 08 Aug 2013 11:40:27 -0400, Ed Huntress wrote:
That depends on what you see as "practical use". If it says "chrome
vanadium steel" on the outside, and that makes the wrench sell more
without you getting sued for false advertisement, isn't that a highly
practical use from the "let's make lots of money" point of view?
Man, you're a cynic. <g>
I don't know what they're using now, but 30 years ago, quality
hand-tool makers -- Williams, Sears, Snap-On, etc., used either an
alloy like AISI 6118 (SAE J1268) or a similar proprietary, custom
The advantages are that they develop more hardness and strength with
less carbon, and they retain some ductility, or at least resistance to
brittle failure, even with high-strength heat-treatments.
But, again, those advantages are only meaningful in some
circumstances. If you're ham-fisted and you abuse and overstress your
hand tools, the alloys may save you some grief. But really, for most
uses, plain-carbon steel wiill give you plenty of strength and
On Thu, 08 Aug 2013 13:17:30 -0400, Ed Huntress wrote:
My understanding of the whole alloy-steel thing (which may be faulty) is
that the alloys don't really change the ultimate strength to which you
can heat treat in a thin section, but they make it easier (sometimes
vastly so) to attain that strength in a piece where you can't get fast
So things that are fairly constant sections, and get made in massive
enough quantities that you can afford to really fine-tune your heat-treat
process, can get made with plain high-carbon steel.
Forged wrenches, OTOH, have massive sections sitting right by thin
sections, and would benefit from some alloying.
Well, that's one type of alloy steel, or a range of types, which are
formulated to harden at slower quench rates -- the slowest being the
air-hardening punching grades, like the A-Series.
There are many reasons for alloying steel. That's why there are so
many types. But your basic idea that many of them are no stronger, but
are easier to quench without damage, is correct. Carbon steel will
achieve hardness and ultimate strength that is as good as those of
most alloys, and fairly close to those that are formulated
specifically for maximum hardness and tensile strength. But if you
have to harden a piece that varies markedly in thickness --
particularly something like a stick punch -- it can crack right off
where the thickness transition occurs, just from quenching it. This
was a big problem in the early says of press-tooling manufacture, when
there wasn't much else besides what is, today, the W-Series of
water-hardening, plain-carbon steels.
Steel metallurgy is a very involved subject, and the field is full of
Generally true. It's also true that carbon steels are typically a bit
more tolerant of imprecise temperatures for initial heating to the
transition temperature, and they'll do different things,
satisfactorly, through a range of tempering temperatures. IOW, they're
*usually* a bit more forgiving of imprecise heat-treatment.
Any steel will suffer damage if you quench it too fast. The thing
about plain carbon is that you MUST quench it fast, or it doesn't
harden. O1 can be quenched more slowly. A1 can be quenched by just
letting it lay on the bench, cooling in ambient air. That is, if it
isn't too thick.
No doubt that's part of it, but the big issue is the inherent
ductility of the alloy -- or its impact resistance, or other ability
to withstand overloading.
I've seen some pretty dubious tools with markings like this.
finish quality is a pretty good sign of what you're dealing with. If the
nickel plating is flaking off and the thing has never been used, you can
bet the rest of the thing is no better.
I make custom flat-stock tools from car leaf springs or dull circular
saw blades, annealed and hardened in the wood stove. A carpenter
friend gave me a stack of old blades when he cleaned out his truck.
Cold-rolled sheet is reasonably hard and machinable.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
If you are an alarm wizard, who sells a good, reasonably priced
pan-and-tilt outdoor surveillance camera?
I'm hardly an "alarm wizard", but you get good or cheap... not both.
I found some very servicable pan and tilt, IR night vision, wired
ethernet AND wireless outdoor cameras from China. The original brand-
named one is called "Foscam", and they sell for $30-$50 more than the
clones. The clones are called the "B-Robot" cameras (sometimes 'model
541'), and they sell - with shipping - for about $40.
They also offer for free download a bunch of utilities including a multi-
cam viewer, network helper utilities, and a lot of other stuff.
Good AND reasonably priced huh? Can we go with good OR reasonably priced?
Seriously, my standard weatherproof PTZ sells for around $2k. (+/-)
depending on the exact model. I have a number of commercial sites that use
them for safety, surveillance, and process management both indoors and
outdoors. That being said there are a number of pretty cheap PT (no Z)
cameras for sale on Fleabay that have a limited IR illumination range. I
use one in my back shop for a buddy in another state who I'll talk with on
the phone while I show him how to do something. I think it was around
$100-150. I have seen a few in the couple hundred range that claim to be
outdoor rated. Some claim to be PT(Z), but the Z is digital, not optical.
Might be ok for some uses, but if you really need zoom then you want optical
zoom. This drives up the price as it requires more expensive optics, and
I think if you buy something within your "disposable" price range off
Fleabay or Super Circuits or SCD or Amazon or someplace like that you have
a pretty good chance of getting something that meets about 50-60% of its
claimed specs out of the box, and may last for a year or two.
"Wireless" megapixel+ IP cameras with an internal card slot are a good bet
for a lot of people. The higher the resolution the better chance you have
of getting useable video. One 3.1MP camera I have used (fairly expensive
for the one I use) will view an area of 2 gas pump islands with 2 pumps
each, and have enough resolution to read a license plate. Its not available
on Fleabay for a couple hundred bucks though, and its not even a Pan Tilt
model. Its fixed.
Notice I put wireless in quotes? That because wireless is not a magic cure
all to installation headaches. Wireless WiFi has a very limited range, and
it still requires power. There are also some very long range (not WiFi)
wireless solutions. I have one installed in Mexico that is shooting
standard composite video about 1.2 miles. (Sorry, my Mexican work visa has
expired so don't call me for those jobs guys. LOL). It still requires
power, and it was a fairly expensive point to point system.
For something in between for outdoor use I have often recommended simple
cable lockable game cameras. Low power. Limited video clip length.
Effective on spot trouble locations. Modestly inexpensive. Easy to
install. You just need to change the batteries regularly. BLM uses
variations of them in various camoed installations with large batteries to
prosecute vandals, dumpers, litterbugs, and other criminals in unmanned,
historic, camping, and remote trouble sites. Bear that in mind before you
bend your girl friend over at some remote Indian writings historic site for
a quicky. You just might be giving a BLM ranger an eye full. LOL.
If you want to chat about your application I'ld be glad to give a few
minutes of directed thought. (928) 782-9765. I assume all out of town
callers and unknown numbers are telemarketers until proven otherwise so I am
short with those calls when I answer.
A trail cam hasn't detected anyone but me, so I can't justify spending
a lot. I just want an idea of the tradeoffs and possibilities. I've
challenged a few neighbors to locate the (nonexistant) cameras up on
trees to keep them and their drinking buddies honest.
I've made a few open end wrenches. A couple for the spindle on my
horizontal mill (1", 1-1/4 or so). I just used 3/16 mild steel.
They're about 8 - 10" long, so it's not possible to put a lot of torque
on the jaws. But on occasion I've whacked one with a lead hammer
without ill effect.
YMMV, of course.
On Thu, 08 Aug 2013 21:02:38 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I have a whole 'set' of those, including a 4" long 12" crescent
wrench. I prefer using a 7" angle grinder over a rotary grinder for
thinning open end wrenches. They're quicker and it's easier to keep
the result flat and parallel.
In another life, I made a Chebby distributor wrench from a 1/2"
Chiwanese box wrench, some 3/8" barstock, and a coat hanger (rod), and
a car battery. T'warnt purty. ;)
(Jus'cuz it was all available and nobody was open Sunday night.)
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight
very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands.
Its funny. I grew up in a rural area and my dad owned a country hardware
and autoparts store. I could get anything there from fish hooks, to spare
ammo, to nuts and bolts, to plumbing for just about anything, to power
tools, to whatever. Now that I live in town I find myself having to visit 5
different stores for a single project, and then still having to order
something that I think should be a stock item in order to finish a project.
What really kills me is the bulk bolt bins in all the stores are grade 2 at
best, but our main bulk bolt bins were all grade 5. We only stocked a few
grade 2 in certain sizes for farmers that used them as shear pins on
equipment. We also had bulk bolt bins of grade 8. Every time I see the
fastener aisle in a big box store all I can think is Hillman sucks.
I've made a boatload of wrenches and such from O-1 ground stock. I'll
harden the working area and draw it back to very dark straw to blue. I
can't remember breaking of deforming one in decades. Easy and cheap!
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