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Hard Chrome Plated 1045 Steel Machineability?

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  • Hard Chrome Plated 1045 Steel Machineability?

    Something on my bucket list to do based on many side projects, I want to make my own miniature hydraulic cylinders for scale R/C applications. Naturally, why not use the same materials the real things use, right? McMaster Carr has everything luckily, including the 1045 chrome plated rods or "shafting" as they call it. Reading up on it, some suggest I need ceramic coated inserts to get underneath the chrome plating. I'm thinking I could use my tool post grinder to get underneath it so I can machine and thread the rod ends. I seem to think though that carbide can do it just fine?

  • #2
    Plain old carbide inserts will make short work of hard chrome plated materials, you may experience insert wear at the DOC but the finish and and desired diameter will not change as this part of the tool is not cutting the chrome.

    Very few hard chromed shafts will have more then .005" per side of chrome.

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    • #3
      On the scale of RC models, the shafting is probably as Bented describes. I routinely encounter 'Thompson shafting' with much, much deeper case hardening (on some 3" I cut recently it was .090 thick). Skim cuts, or any cut with carbide that doesn't go completely through the hard case will result in great frustration and destroyed inserts. I often anneal the material before reusing it for other type jobs.
      Southwest Utah

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      • #4
        Ok, looks like I'll be using .5" shafting if I ever decide to build a 1/8th scale excavator.

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        • #5
          Hydraulic rod (as it is called) does just fine with carbide. I've even done it in my old SB9. It machines a lot easier than you would think.
          25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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          • #6
            Chances are you would be cutting only the ends of the shafting. That way you are already under the chrome plated surface, and the tip of the cutting tool would never touch chrome.
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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            • #7
              There are two basic kinds of hydraulic shafting: CPO, which stands for "chrome and polish only", will have a hard
              chrome layer of .005" to .008". Any DOC over .020" for the first pass will easily peel the chrome off.

              IHCP, which stands for "induction hardened and chrome plated", will require a first pass DOC of anywhere from .080"
              to .125" to fully lift the hard layer.

              I've made many hydraulic shafts out of both materials and as long as you get under the hard surface with your first
              pass there's no need to use anything but ordinary carbide inserts,,,
              Keith
              __________________________
              Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

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              • #8
                Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I just have to put it into CAD...
                Click image for larger version

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                • #9
                  If it was a model I’d be tempted to drill a hole longitudinaly, tap it and screw the eye on leaving the coating undisturbed as opposed to replicating a full size rod, I don’t think it would be weaker myself, didn’t realise chrome rod came in small sizes to be honest though I suppose printers and plotters all have small guide rods that certainly look chromed, quite a challenge tiny hydraulic cylinders, thank heaven they’re welded these days so you don’t have bolts of minuscule proportions, I’ve never had a problem machining chrome rod but they were all big diameters, I was told you could only do it with ceramic tips but I managed with sandvick carbide tips myself, just don’t let the tip rub, pile into it as I was told, fear is your enemy, penetration is your friend , sounds dodgy that advice but it’s what I heard!
                  mark
                  ps I used to go to JCB,s factory over here, quite a place if your into excavators, we used to make steel for them, they take care of their staff, there’s even a dental suite on site with dentists and nurses, a doctor and I don’t know if they were joking a hairdresser, the guys ( and gals) certainly put their all into what they are doing, dedicated to the company like nothing I’ve seen, seems if you look after staff generally they return the compliment, it’s certainly reflected in the product
                  Last edited by boslab; 10-07-2021, 04:29 AM.

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                  • #10
                    That rod is .5” or ~12.5mm. Perhaps 1/8th scale is a bit ridiculous.

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                    • #11
                      Using a hard chrome rod is your choice but that chrome layer is mostly for weather resistance. Polish a steel rod to a nice finish and it will look the same on your scale model and you won't need to worry about the hard layer.

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                      • #12
                        You can also buy TGP rod, turned, ground, polished. I used some stainless TGP to modify some air cylinders for a winery with heavier rods and it works just fine.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                          Ok, looks like I'll be using .5" shafting if I ever decide to build a 1/8th scale excavator.
                          If you ever do decide to build one check out this guys YT channel for some build ideas.

                          https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmR...QMoJQ0w/videos

                          Incredible amount of detail and work into this "little" 180 KG 1/8 cat 390.
                          Right down to the sound and even the quick disconnect tools you'd almost think it was real!.
                          This guy demonstrates some serious fabrication skills never mind perseverance.

                          Last edited by Willy; 10-07-2021, 11:25 AM.
                          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                          Location: British Columbia

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