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View Full Version : How to cut 4'X8' sheet of 1/2" Navy roll brass ?



gwilson
01-06-2010, 11:53 PM
The title says it all. I've had this piece of 1/2" Navy roll brass laying around for many years. It is very tough stuff. I tried cutting it with a new jig saw,but several inches took too long to be practical. This sheet weighs about 800#.

Any portable Skil saw type blades that would work without shedding teeth? Other ways to cut?

1937 Chief
01-07-2010, 12:41 AM
Probably a good size band sawshould work, but you have all that weight.I think if it were mine I would take it to the nearest scrap yard. With the money you receive you can buy what size you need. How did you end up with a piece of brass like that? Stan

Ries
01-07-2010, 12:47 AM
plasma,
waterjet,

possibly multiple passes with a router, using a fence, wearing lots of protective gear (like maybe a phone book inside your shirt)

what alloy are you calling "navy brass"?

Is it C482 or C485?

If so, you might even be able to cut it with a skil saw with a carbide blade- I would use wd 40 or beeswax for a lube, and, again, lots of protective gear, face sheild, ear protection, long sleeves and gloves.

RB211
01-07-2010, 12:47 AM
Probably a good size band sawshould work, but you have all that weight.I think if it were mine I would take it to the nearest scrap yard. With the money you receive you can buy what size you need. How did you end up with a piece of brass like that? Stan

I was about to say the same thing.
+1

Evan
01-07-2010, 12:48 AM
Plasma cutter if that stuff is at all hard. Skil saw isn't a good idea. It might work with an abrasive cutoff blade though.

chipmaker4130
01-07-2010, 12:59 AM
Evan, don't you think an abrasive blade would 'load up' rather quickly with any type of brass? That's my experience anyway.

Paul Alciatore
01-07-2010, 01:22 AM
Where DO you guys come up with these hunks of metal? That brass has just got to be worth a pretty penny. Was it somehow thrown out? By whom?

RichardG
01-07-2010, 01:55 AM
Hi,
You might try a skillsaw but use a 5 inch carbide blade instead of a 7 1/2 will lower the surface feet enough that it should work I would use some type of cutting fluid wd 40? I have done this quite a number of times. The carbide blades are c4 carbide perty tuff stuff , by all means use eye protection.
Richard

Ian B
01-07-2010, 02:16 AM
Maybe one of these:

http://www.evolutionpowertools.co.uk/uk/evolution_build.html

I bought one - paid the same for it as a 7 1/4" Makita wood saw.

They sail through flat steel bar like butter - the manufacturers would probably tell you what they're like with brass.

Ian

boslab
01-07-2010, 02:38 AM
get one of the evolution rage saws Ian recomends, and 2 straight edges, one each side of the saw, woods fine, it will go through it nicely, watch the chips, hot, make sure theres plentu of support as you dont want it pinching, ive recently done some 1/4 and 3/8 admiralty 1/2 hard [it must have been the grog!], still on the same blade, but i have another blade for steel as i dont like mixing, i use the new blades for non ferrous till they dull, then on ferrous till they die [well dull anyway]
mark

bborr01
01-07-2010, 03:58 AM
I'm with Ian and Mark with the cold saw if you can get your hands on one.
Prop it up on a few 2x4's and go to it. Lots easier than trying to wrastle it around on a band saw.
The band saw will be handy when you get it to managable sizes.
Sounds like a gold mine to me.
Good luck.

Brian

Evan
01-07-2010, 04:13 AM
I don't think I would start cutting that up. A check at online metals shows that a 4 x 8 x .25 sheet of naval brass plate retails from them for $6,400 not including shipping. You could expect .5" plate to be worth twice as much.

bborr01
01-07-2010, 04:19 AM
I don't think I would start cutting that up. A check at online metals shows that a 4 x 8 x .25 sheet of naval brass plate retails from them for $6,400 not including shipping. You could expect .5" plate to be worth twice as much.

Like I said, a gold mine.

Wonder if it is worth more as a 4X8 or as smaller pieces?

Brian

beanbag
01-07-2010, 05:29 AM
Like I said, a gold mine.

Wonder if it is worth more as a 4X8 or as smaller pieces?

Brian

What are you going to do with a 4 x 8 piece, replace your Chinese drywall?

Evan
01-07-2010, 06:39 AM
In this instance since the OP has no effective means to cut it up it's worth more as is. It's also worth enough to warrant having an analysis done to recertify it.

davidh
01-07-2010, 07:35 AM
what is that stuff used for originaly ? or is that just how its rolled or poured for future cutting ?

Circlip
01-07-2010, 08:07 AM
If you want to use it, take it to someone with a waterjet cutter and have it sliced into pieces suitable to play with on a band saw.

Regards Ian.

Mcgyver
01-07-2010, 08:13 AM
I remember cutting a piece of hard brass on a bandsaw, geez would have killed a regular man. took forever. if this naval brass is that hard, i wouldn't want to saw it.

if you do try to saw it, use a new blade...brass likes a sharp cutting tool, used on steel a cutting tool won't be as nice to used on brass

Overall though i'm with Evan. cut it up and hurts value....and it would seem its quite valuable.

John Stevenson
01-07-2010, 08:27 AM
If he sells it he's not going to get anything like true worth at today's costs, however if he needs brass he's going to pay thru the nose for new prices in a size he wants.

Brass has trebled in price, in some cases it's cheaper to buy phossy bronze than brass.

Taking that he's had this a while and got it scrap or years ago pricing he's sitting on plenty of cost effective stock.

Buying an Evolution saw will more than pay back. Just done a quick search on Ebay and there is no thick brass sheet listed, or not that I could find easily.
This tells me that it too expensive to buy to resell.
Last three jobs I used to do in brass I have lost because the present day material costs are greater than the part cost, the brass worm wheels Gert sells are coming to an end because the new material costs are greater than she currently sells the wheels for and they won't stand a price increase of times two.

.

loose nut
01-07-2010, 08:50 AM
Use a grinder with a ZIP wheel on it. Better still sell it for money to buy what you really need.

Evan
01-07-2010, 09:06 AM
John,

He won't get retail price of course but it isn't scrap either. With certification as to the alloy it will sell as "recoverable" material and will bring a good price especially as a full sheet.

jkilroy
01-07-2010, 10:07 AM
Water Jet, cut it like butter, Thats thousands of dollars, stop messing around with it.

Tony Ennis
01-07-2010, 10:54 AM
+100 leave it be and sell it.


...and buy me a lathe! :D

JoeCB
01-07-2010, 10:56 AM
Take it to an industrial metal fab shop that has a big time shear... should be no problem for 1/2 brass X 4 ft.
Joe B

Evan
01-07-2010, 11:48 AM
The moment the plate is cut up it becomes scrap value only. As a full plate with an alloy cert it has real value, at least 6000 dollars, probably higher as metals prices are well on the way back up again.

gzig5
01-07-2010, 01:42 PM
The moment the plate is cut up it becomes scrap value only. As a full plate with an alloy cert it has real value, at least 6000 dollars, probably higher as metals prices are well on the way back up again.

Who's going to buy it?
The problem I see is finding a buyer locally or in the region that has a need for a full 4x8 sheet. You could be sitting on that until the cows come home especially if you are asking anything near list, whether it is recertified or not. The companies that buy that type of material are not surfing ebay and craiglist for their material. I think it would be much easier to sell in smaller pieces and would list it on a square foot/inch basis and cut to order or sell in 2' increments.

Tony Ennis
01-07-2010, 02:35 PM
For as much money as we're talking about, I'd sure try to sell it whole first.

old-biker-uk
01-07-2010, 03:50 PM
Back in the day I found a similar sheet in a local scrap yard, I only wanted a couple of 1' square pieces so the owner (and me) wrestled the sheet up on to some oil drums & he gave it the good news with a 10" cut-off wheel.
The yard looked like the Klondyke when he had finished.
Would have made Health & Safety faint dead away, those were the days, now all my local (friendly) scrappers gone, those that are left you have to wear a hard hat to get in the yard.....
Mark

John Stevenson
01-07-2010, 04:01 PM
The moment the plate is cut up it becomes scrap value only. As a full plate with an alloy cert it has real value, at least 6000 dollars, probably higher as metals prices are well on the way back up again.

Possibly but who's going to buy it.
A metal dealer won't touch it because of comebacks and he probably won't believe the alloy cert anyway.

A company won't deal with Joe Bloggs unless it a stinking deal and they can beg it and take a chance, sooner dealing with a company that has a written set of trading rules.

We don't know where the OP comes from but he's got to get an 8 x4 sheet to somewhere / someone who can run a cert test, maybe 20 miles away maybe 200 miles away and get it back ?

Then he's got to advertise it to ???? who ????

Probably the best deal he's going to get off this is either find a product that needs this material and make it, or cut it into pieces that fall under the incremental box weights for US Post and sell it on Ebay as 6" x 6" pieces or 12" x ?" pieces.

.

Evan
01-07-2010, 05:24 PM
A lot depends on where you are. It's currently worth about $1400 as plain clean scrap. Call a metal trader and you can get at least twice that for it. Call somebody like Metal Supermarkets that sells both new and crops to the general public and you can probably get around half retail for it. You won't do better than that on E-bay and E-bay will be a lot more trouble.

JCHannum
01-07-2010, 06:01 PM
Since George asked how to cut it, there is a real possibility that he has a use intended for the plate. He is a pretty savvy guy and I have little doubt that he is well aware of the market value of the brass.

If his intentions were to sell it, I would think he would be asking advice on maximizing the price.

R W
01-07-2010, 07:19 PM
Maybe one of these:

http://www.evolutionpowertools.co.uk/uk/evolution_build.html

I bought one - paid the same for it as a 7 1/4" Makita wood saw.

They sail through flat steel bar like butter - the manufacturers would probably tell you what they're like with brass.

Ian

An Interesting Site, Thanks.

Evan
01-07-2010, 08:44 PM
He is a pretty savvy guy and I have little doubt that he is well aware of the market value of the brass.


He is now.

JCHannum
01-07-2010, 09:43 PM
He is now.

He has been for quite a while. George is quite an accomplished craftsman.

gwilson
01-07-2010, 10:40 PM
I should have kept better track of this thread!! Thanks for all the replies. Yes,I have had a scrap yard begging to buy it.

Remember,I put a bayonet saw cut into it about 8 or 10" long,about 1' from an edge,along the longest length.

I can't guarantee the brass is Naval brass,but it is very golden in color,and very tough to cut.

It came from a Navy yard many years ago. An old machinery dealer I used to buy stuff from would go to auctions and get all manner of things. This sheet was discovered hidden in a load of SHEET METAL the guy purchased!!

By now the brass has turned the color of an old bronze statue from being outdoors.It is not bent,or otherwise damaged,except for the 1 cut I made.

I could just as easily sell it as make things out of it as I am getting too disabled to horse this plate around too much,and probably wouldn't use much of it even if I cut it into 1' squares.

macona
01-07-2010, 11:17 PM
plasma,
waterjet,

possibly multiple passes with a router, using a fence, wearing lots of protective gear (like maybe a phone book inside your shirt)

what alloy are you calling "navy brass"?

Is it C482 or C485?

If so, you might even be able to cut it with a skil saw with a carbide blade- I would use wd 40 or beeswax for a lube, and, again, lots of protective gear, face sheild, ear protection, long sleeves and gloves.

I would add use a worm drive saw as well. Slower speed and more oomph!

-Jerry

Evan
01-08-2010, 12:15 AM
Yes,I have had a scrap yard begging to buy it.


You should have a piece analyzed to determine the alloy. It makes a big difference to the value even as scrap. If it is naval brass or bronze it's worth more than yellow brass.

tdmidget
01-08-2010, 02:28 AM
Has it occurred to anyone that this is not what it is claimed to be? Navy "M" and "G" are cast alloys, no such thing as a 4X8 sheet. Coming from a shipyard does not make it a Naval bronze. If you consider anything from a shipyard "Navy brass" then the field is wide open. But it ain't Navy. Get a piece roughly the size of a $.25 piece and take to a scrapyard or dealer with an x ray absorbtion spectrometer. Then you will know what you have.

beanbag
01-08-2010, 04:39 AM
If I were u, I would do what some others have suggested, which is to take a small chunk to either the buyer or the analyzer dude, and then call around to see who will pay the highest price AND also pick it up. Maybe have them chop off a sliver for you while they're at it.

Evan
01-08-2010, 04:46 AM
Has it occurred to anyone that this is not what it is claimed to be? Navy "M" and "G" are cast alloys, no such thing as a 4X8 sheet.

Naval brass, not bronze. It could be blanchard ground bronze as well. Naval brass is hot rolled and is sold in sheets or plates 48.5 inches by 96.5 inches x/y dimension.

Black_Moons
01-08-2010, 09:54 AM
mmmm... I don't know what id do with a ton of 1/2" plate myself so id probley sell it and use the cash to buy all the brass (and any other metal) I could ever want in whatever nice to use sizes as I needed it.. And not have to make giant cuts in it to boot :) save a lot of money in blades and worktime cutting.

gwilson
01-08-2010, 11:00 AM
Evan,The plate is not blanchard ground. It was rolled. Now,I'll have to go measure it to see if it is the odd size you mentioned. I just assumed it was 4' x 8',but it could be 1/2" larger in both dimensions. Thanks for mentioning that. It is useful info..

As I said,it is a very golden color and very tough to cut. I have heard of the Evolution saws,but was hoping a cheaper solution might be out there so I wouldn't have to buy a saw that I'd have only 1 use for.

I made a cannon out of a piece of 5" dia. material of the same appearance,and it was very ,very tough to turn,more like stainless than anything else. Made a beautiful barrel,though. I'll have to post pictures if I ever get the naval carriage made for it.

I have no more of the 5" dia. stuff now.

As for selling it to buy more brass,with the price of brass being what it is,I probably would end up with a small fraction in weight of what I have now.

I'm not sure if any scrap yards around here have that analyzing gun I have heard mentioned before.

Randolph
01-08-2010, 11:57 AM
Assuming that the original question is still the question --- It shouldn't be too difficult to find a shear with the capability to cut material like this.

Ries
01-08-2010, 12:24 PM
Nicknames for copper alloys are just that- nicknames.

If you want to know what something actually costs, what its good for, and how to work it, you need to know the C-code for it- the official alloy designation.

Currently, in industry, "Naval Brass" usually means C464, which is 60% copper, 39.25% zinc, and .75% Silicon.

There are also some leaded versions of this alloy, with up 2% lead in them, for easier machining.

Going by color is meaningless. There are over 100 COMMON copper alloys out there, and many that are very different in composition look similar. Couple hundred more that are a bit more obscure, special order.

Naval Brass is quite available in sheet form. I just scrapped a piece of C464 that was 3/4" thick, and about 24" x 120". It was just the skeleton, from which I had had waterjet cut a large quantity of 8" circles. I had kept it in the back shed for 5 years or so, thinking I would make something from the small triangles remaining, but decided money now was better than pie in the sky by and by. I think I got $1.40 a pound for it, scrap.
I bought it from Alaskan Copper- they stock Naval Brass up to at least 1" plate, I am pretty sure.
It is not all that hard to saw- it bandsaws very nicely, turns nicely on the lathe, and forges quite well too. Doesnt weld very well, due to all that zinc, but I got decent tig welds with a silicon bronze filler rod on it.
Most copper alloys that are tougher to machine have more exotic stuff in them than just zinc or lead- aluminum, berryllium, nickel, stuff like that.

I still have a stash of 3/4" square twelve footers of the same alloy- leftover from the same project. Think I paid close to six bucks a pound for it, way back in 2001 or so. Square bar is always more, especially in stainless and copper alloys, sometimes twice the price of round bar. I like it for forging- it moves like butter, and is a gorgeous golden color when you polish it up. It oxidizes to a dark brownish gold if left alone in the elements.

gwilson
01-08-2010, 08:55 PM
I'm thinking my sheet is aluminum bronze or some other tough alloy from what you have said.

John Stevenson
01-09-2010, 05:37 AM
I thought that a few posts ago, used in sheet form for wear plates and is harder than a witches tit.

May drastically affect the price, probably more expensive but less people want it :rolleyes:

.

gwilson
01-09-2010, 09:46 PM
I don't understand your post,John. The brass,or bronze,is very tough,like the stuff I made a cannon out of.

What post said it was for wear plates?

Evan
01-09-2010, 10:13 PM
None did. John just gave that as an example of what aluminum bronze is good for. I have a big chunk that is so hard from work hardening that even a sharp bimetal bandsaw blade just skids across it. I finally was able to cut a chunk from the slab using my shaper and even then it crashed the tool several times, breaking it off once.

You will find wear plates like this on the ends of cable drums in hoists and cranes and along the sides of an Extend-a-Hoe arm on a back hoe.