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It's ... yellow ... how do I mill it?

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  • It's ... yellow ... how do I mill it?

    A friend convinced me to machine a replica of a bronze age sword from flat stock. Adult beverages and a lack of sense were involved. When I received the flat stock by ground shipping it wasn't a nice red bronze ... it's YELLOW. Sadly it's not gold (although I did find some gold washers in a discarded scientific instrument once). I suspect it's aluminum bronze. I hear that machining aluminum bronze is harder than multiplying Roman Numerals.

    One - short of cutting off a small chunk, dissolving it, and going through some wet chemical tests, and not having an x-ray fluorescence detector, any suggestions as to how to get a better ID on the stuff?

    Two - Assuming it's aluminum bronze, how do I machine da stuff? What kind of mill cutters? What feeds, speeds, prayers, offerings, etc?

    Thanks

    Last edited by Dan_the_Chemist; 09-10-2020, 02:03 AM.

  • #2
    ground shipping? where did it come from? wouldnt they know what it is?

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    • #3
      With unknowium yellow metal try a test cut, use a brand new good quality HSS end mill,no more than about 50 fpm on the cutter revs and feed steadily, make it cut not rub, treat it like stainless, make sure you cut do not dwell or it MIGHT harden like some stainless will.
      IF that set up works then you can go on with some confidence, if not well you can try carbide, but if that is necessary to actually cut the stuff then you may be facing a struggle which will literally eat your tooling. Your results will be affected by your machine, and its condition. Hope this helps David Powell

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      • #4
        Plus one for David P’s comments but not sure about the carbide ! In the long distant past I have machined lots of this material, highly corrosion resistant and we were making large “plumbing” fittings for seawater services for shipping. It’s tough but not hard, I was boring, facing, drilling & tapping, it’s also. A “grabby” material when drilling etc. Suds was the best lube and sharp tools, I never used carbide but one must consider tooling has moved forward leaps and bounds in the last 50 years, however as I recall HSS worked well and cut well.
        I was told it was a very close colour match to Admiralty Brass thus used for many other items related to shipping. One other point it’s pretty useless as a bearing material ! Don’t ask how I know !!
        John
        Knowledge withheld is knowledge lost

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        • #5
          Yellow could be brass or aluminium bronze. You'll fiqure out the exact sort pretty fast after you start milling.

          It's not that hard to machine but Aluminium bronze eats HSS for breakfast and dinner. SHARP carbide is the way to go. Prepare to wear 10x or more carbide tools vs similar piece in steel.
          HSS drill that was good for 5 feet combined drilling in steel was toasted after half inch in oxidized aluminum bronze.
          Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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          • #6
            Before you try to mill it, check with a magnet. A/B is slightly magnetic.

            Regards Ian.
            You might not like what I say,but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

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            • #7
              I have a piece of " Something" yellow. Bought 6 ft of it for 5$ at the local metal merchants bargain bin. A real bitch to turn or drill. I use it only for piston valve bobbins for model steam engines. It seems that it will never wear. Had I known how much grief I would get from it I would have left it alone and bought something sanely machinable like 660 bearing bronze. and the hell with the cost .Regards David Powell.

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              • #8
                I'd also go with carbide. I recently bought one of these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BAP-400R-...72.m2749.l2649 and a 40 Int stalk for it, really pleased with the results.

                Ian
                All of the gear, no idea...

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                • #9
                  You don't know and you have it in your hand.
                  How do you expect us to know ? ? ?

                  -D
                  DZER

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ian B View Post
                    I'd also go with carbide. I recently bought one of these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BAP-400R-...72.m2749.l2649 and a 40 Int stalk for it, really pleased with the results. Ian
                    I bought the same head over here. I love the thing for only 30 bucks and the inserts works well on many differing materials.

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                    • #11
                      Where is "over here" and do you have a link to it?
                      Peter
                      Grantham, New Hampshire

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dian View Post
                        ground shipping? where did it come from? wouldnt they know what it is?
                        My friend sent it. He got it from a flea market.

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                        • #13
                          Try milling it and see. . Start out slow. .. the usual methods.. and then report back.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doozer View Post
                            You don't know and you have it in your hand.
                            How do you expect us to know ? ? ?

                            -D
                            It would be silly to ask you what it is.
                            That is why I asked a different question -- "any suggestions as to how to get a better ID on the stuff?"


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ian B View Post
                              I'd also go with carbide. I recently bought one of these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BAP-400R-...72.m2749.l2649 and a 40 Int stalk for it, really pleased with the results.

                              Ian
                              What is the appropriate arbor for that head? They don't say in the listing.

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