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Metal at auto wreck

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  • Metal at auto wreck

    Any of you go hunting for steel and other metal at auto wrecks? Which part of the car is good for machining and doing small projects?


  • #2

    When I go scrounging in the scrap yards I head for the end cuts first. If I need something heavy I might head over to the girder pile and cut out what I need. The scrap yards around here are fairly organized and have Copper/Bronze, Stainless, Aluminum, Iron/Steel, and exotic sections.

    Heavy equipment wreckers can have some broken stuff in grandaddy sized chunks. I find the car wreckers pretty useless unless you want a car part.

    Steel yards that do custom cutting also have good sized endcuts - check and find out when their year-end is - you get better deals then (bring cash)! We have a British company in Edmonton that has cast Iron round bars - sometimes you can get endcuts but they usually sell the whole bar and end cuts are rare.

    Some machine shops will let you root through the scrap bin and will either sell you pieces at better than scrap yard price or will just let you take it (give the guys that let you take stuff something for their trouble - slip them some cash or bring a big bag of donuts by for the shop once in a while). Bringing a completed project with you to show them will sometimes make them more amiable to your request. But whatever you do, do not annoy them by constantly pestering them!

    I also recycle printers, fax machines, dead hard drives, mainframes, etc.. As A result I have so much hardware (takes forever to sort) that I never need small stuff. They also yield small shafting in plentiful amounts - any rubber pressure rolers can be removed by slitting and peeling it off with pliers.

    [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 03-29-2002).]


    • #3
      Never looked at car salvage for material -- like Dave, I've gone to a (reasonably) hobbist-friendly scrapyard. Cars are pretty heavy on the sheetmetal, which is likely not terribly useful, but I'm sure one could get useful stuff off a car; the axles, for instance, might be good raw material, though perhaps a bit difficult to machine.
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


      • #4
        I salvaged some shafts from Mcphersion struts (that I replaced). They're nice and smooth and shiny, and precisely round. I don't know if they're case hardened or some chrome alloy, or what, but they're hard as blazes on the outside... not very machineable. But I have found them useful in setups (checking lathe tailstock, etc.). They'll be great for something. I just haven't yet discovered what! (..but when I do, I'll have them)

        Question: Anyone know what they'd likely be made of?


        • #5

          Lynnl, Rotate,
          They make nice planters out of tires up my way. Don't know how to turn them inside out.
          Ever try that?
          Rotate, hope you wait till the bodies are picked up.


          • #6
            I have made taps, and reamers out of those strut shafts. Just anneal (I through some into my alunimum foundry when I'm done and let them cool with it, can take 12hrs) and have at it. I quench in oil, but water might work. Cuts nice too. I have saved the half axels from an old truck, almost 2in dia, thought that they might make something some day.


            • #7
              I have used truck axles for various things. For example, the ram in my hydraulic H frame press is made from one. They are a little tough to machine with HSS, but it can be done. Once in a while you will find an inclusion that is too hard for anything, and they won't anneal, either. Salvaged aluminum pistons make great raw material for casting.


              • #8
                Check out for further info that might be helpful


                • #9
                  Brake discs make a fine plate to zero in your milling machine head, get the type that fit over the studs,cut the center out and face both sides.They are always warped face one side then indicate that side against the chuck, face other side. use carbide tool. Lay on mill table and swing indeicator around disk.

                  Lot of work though, you can get a new one for a Ford Escort 1985-1988 for $13 US, still need to cut out center and check with micrometer.



                  • #10
                    Rotate,the idler pulleys off the front of the engines have great bearings and make good 1x30,or 1x42in.grinders. Wiper motors can become good power feed motors,with a little imagination. You can sometimes find these parts at major intersections.


                    • #11

                      I when to a heavy wrecking yard and got a big Timkin cup - already machined. I did check it out on the granite plate before using it though.


                      • #12

                        amazing what you can find here with a little reading. this was something that i was wondering about.

                        thanks, Chester, for the link. as it happens, one of my running buddies owns a garage [do they still call them that?] and has all sorts of junk shafts and stuff laying around. they probably change out 50 sets of struts/shocks a week.

                        i am turning an Armstrong-type toolpost out of an old ford 3/4 ton truck axle. it turns beautifully once i knock the rust off. looks like a mirror. pretty chips too.

                        one never knows........

                        happy weekend.
                        ........i dremel. therefore i am..........................


                        • #13
                          I had a large comercial photo copy machine when it eventually became to old to have repaired about ten years,instead of chucking it out I demolished it taking everything of any use.Motors nice and slow gonna make a new slow grinder with one of them, also lots of other goodies.takes a good day to get out all the parts and is a messy job but I figured it was still worth it also whenever I pass a scrapyard I always head for the aluminum its cheep and can be easily used for a host of future events.Alistair
                          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease


                          • #14
                            You might try Wolfe Iron and Metal, 401 Front St E. ( Cherry ) He has a good supply of flats, angles etc. and does get some flame cut slugs. You can roam the yard after he sees your face a couple of times. Very easy guy to talk to.