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Thread: General Purpose Steel - What do you keep on hand?

  1. #1
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    Default General Purpose Steel - What do you keep on hand?

    So what type of steel do you prefer to keep on hand? 1018, 1144, 4140 - what do you think?


    It seems like a low-carbon mild steel like 1018 and an alloy steel like 4140 cover an awful lot of ground for a home shop. I can't think of very many applications where 4140 wouldn't work and for the applications where the extra strength isn't needed, something like 1018 seems to be an economical choice, despite the fact that it isn't the most enjoyable material to machine.

    I tend to stay away from the free-machining steels with a lot of sulfur or lead since they aren't really practical to weld.

  2. #2
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    I have a ton of 4140 Pre Hard. There's not point in machining annealed 4140 unless you're going to heat treat it...

    My favorite stock is Stressproof (1144 heat treat) -- it's not quite as hard as Pre Hard, and machines beautifully. But it's expensive, and if you buy the off-brand stuff, suppliers will sometimes try to slip you common 1144. If the skin isn't burnt, it's not Stressproof.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazlo
    I have a ton of 4140 Pre Hard. There's not point in machining annealed 4140 unless you're going to heat treat it...

    My favorite stock is Stressproof (1144 heat treat) -- it's not quite as hard as Pre Hard, and machines beautifully. But it's expensive, and if you buy the off-brand stuff, suppliers will sometimes try to slip you common 1144. If the skin isn't burnt, it's not Stressproof.
    How is 1144 to weld, though? I've only limited experience with it and never had to weld any. I looked it up and they list it as fair to poor weldability due to its large sulfur content...

    Evidently LaSalle makes 1144 stress-proof, 1144 E.T.D. and 1144 fatigue-proof, all with much different characteristics just based on the heat treating and forming. I can see how one could be disappointed if they expected fatigue or stress proof and instead got some hot-rolled 1144 from a different company...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fasttrack
    How is 1144 to weld, though?
    I've never tried to weld Stressproof, because the datasheets say not to. It's got a ton of sulfur and phosphorous to make it free machining, which contaminates the weld.

    Evidently LaSalle makes 1144 stress-proof, 1144 E.T.D. and 1144 fatigue-proof, all with much different characteristics just based on the heat treating and forming.
    ETD is ETD-150. Basically, Super (i.e., free machining) 4140 Pre Hard. CPM's equivalent (RIP Crucible) is Maxel. I believe that's what Cameron was slicing up for weights for his epoxy granite experiments

    I've heard of Fatigueproof, but I've never seen it for sale. Dunno.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

  5. #5
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    Default material in the shop:

    For round bar:
    C1144 S/p from 3/4 to 2.5"
    4140 HTSR 1.250", 1.500" , 2" ,3", 6" usually in 4' lengths
    C12L14 hex in 3/4", 1.25", 1.5" , 2"
    6061-T6 3/4", 1", 1.5" , 2" , 6"
    various sizes of round brass
    and many sizes of SAE 660 bronze up in 9" od

    Flat bar and plate are stocked at the local ship yard and they buy so much that I can get a better $ off of them than the steel warehouse, so no need
    to stock it.

    Varoius types of plastic up to 12" round
    etc
    hard to get material here, so the guy with the stock will get the job
    please visit my webpage:
    http://motorworks88.webs.com/

  6. #6
    tattoomike68 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fasttrack
    So what type of steel do you prefer to keep on hand? 1018, 1144, 4140 - what do you think?
    .
    Perfect thats will do most jobs.

    some 1" and 1.250" crome and some 1" 303 stainless.

    Im in farm country so the farmers bust up hydrolic shafts all the time and need stainless for parts that work in chemicals.

    Being farm shops are the main deal here we stock driveline tubes, PTO slip shaft and tube,pto and driveline yokes and cross kits. sprokets, bearings and some chain. also a good stock of bronze bushing so the job is half done sometimes, part it off pound it in and ream.

  7. #7
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    For steels, I keep 12l14, 1144 stressproof , 303 stainless and a little L.C. plate.
    I'm also a big fan of Lasalle's stressproof 1144.

    Steve

  8. #8
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    1144, 1018, 12l14, O1, 4140Pre hard, typically for round stock.
    1018 for flat stock, 1018 plate.
    sheet... brass, nickel silver, 420HC, D2,
    tool steel. S1, S7, D2, O1, A2, CPM1V (Rip Crucible)

    At home I kept 12L14, O1, A2, 1018, 1144

  9. #9
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    Yes Robert,

    I did make a 5 inch long piston out of 4140 that fits just tightly enough into a lexan tube for a density measurement instrument. The diameter was machined about .002 smaller than the tube. Part of the spec was for it to weight a kg. It machined nicely. I could have used something else but sometimes when you need to finish a project, you use what's on the shop floor at the time.

    Next time I need weight and it doesn't have to fit anywhere specific, I'll just use about 10 OT posts from the general section Sometimes I can't tell the difference between hot air and hot rolled

    --Cameron

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazlo
    If the skin isn't burnt, it's not Stressproof.
    That isn't entirely true. 1144 is available in a centerless ground version that is shiney on the surface.

    I keep quite a bit of 1144 on hand and use it a lot. It isn't to be welded though. I have tried and it leaves a horrible black sooty residue on the weld. The weld looks...ok..but I suspect it isn't strong at all. I have never tried to break a 1144 weld.. I will in the future and mention it here.

    To answer your question... Most of my work is in gunsmithing and so 12l14, 1018, 1144, 4140 are the usual suspects in my shop.

    Cheers
    Mac.

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