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What should I have cast in iron?

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  • What should I have cast in iron?

    The local metalworking shop is hosting an "iron pour" this 4th of July weekend. They had two previous events that I wasn't able to make, due to distance, time and money, but this one's local and free to watch.

    However, they also are offering the option to have an object cast in iron, if you make the mold, for $150.

    That's pretty steep for my current finances (which are, at the moment, effectively zero) but an interesting opportunity. I assume there's going to be a vague size restriction (no life-size statues of Napoleon astride a horse, etc.) and, more importantly, I'll need to have the pattern done and in to the shop by close of business tomorrow.

    Any suggestions?

    I don't know the quality of their iron or techniques, so I don't think I'll be casting any flywheels or faceplates or pulleys.

    The only thing I can think of at the moment is perhaps a new arbor support for my Nichols mill- one with enough beef on the lower end to accept a "running" bearing, instead of the stub-end bushing as shown.

    Also, the knee gib of that same mill is cracked; it's a cast-iron "half a dovetail" piece, that could probably be just as easily machined out of a chunk of 1-1/4" square Dura-Bar (if they sell it in that size or close to it.) $150 might be a bit steep for that.

    Any other ideas?

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Shaper vise? Just spit ballin here.

    ME

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    • #3
      That's the kind of thing that needs to be steel, or at least forged. In any case, I have a good vise for the little Lewis, and various lines on two others for the big Stockbridge.

      Now, the Stockbridge does need at least three levers- ram position lock, table traverse, knee- but again, that sort of thing needs to be steel, or malleable iron, or forged, etc. Semi-unknown-quality cast probably isn't worth the time here.

      Doc.
      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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      • #4
        Is that some new development? Every shaper vise I've ever seen was a casting.

        Joe

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon
          Is that some new development? Every shaper vise I've ever seen was a casting.

          Joe
          Yep , Cast steel.

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          • #6
            Face plates. They're damned expensive if you can even find one that will fit your lathe.
            Compound angle plates.
            A set of bench centers
            Surface plates
            I'm sure they're are others, I just can't think of anymore off the top of my head.

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            • #7
              Cost

              If I read Doc correctly it means $150 per item/piece/part. On that basis it might be better to think again for multiple part items such as vices etc.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Doc Nickel

                However, they also are offering the option to have an object cast in iron, if you make the mold, for $150.

                That's pretty steep for my current finances

                I'll need to have the pattern done and in to the shop by close of business tomorrow.



                I don't know the quality of their iron or techniques

                .

                The more I think about it, seems to me like a bad combination, big hurry not sure of quality etc. I would say go and watch, maybe find out what kind of iron they are pouring, and how good of a job they do. FWIW, there are a lot of durable goods made out of cast iron, like millions of crankshafts, and some shaper vises. Check out http://www.harpritsan.com/ His website is in the middle of a refurb, but you can see on the main page a split pic of the shaper vise made from 60,000psi malleable iron. Also, if you have to make the pattern and mold anyway, why not take your time and figure out something you can really use then shop around for a small foundry that will do onsy twoseys. Even if you have to ship it, the extra cost wouldn't be too bad an a small part. Of course you know we are all expecting a report on how it all went.

                ME

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chipslinger
                  Yep , Cast steel.
                  Almost all quality vises, including Kurts, the old USA Wiltons, etc are made with ductile cast iron.

                  Kurt is very proud that they use Class 80 Ductile (80,000 PSI) in all their chuck bodies. The jaws are hardened steel, obviously.

                  For the size, an unobtanium shaper vise for one of those large shapers you have sounds like a winner to me.
                  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                  • #10
                    True. And actually, after seeing the interesting swivel-jaw vise on that Perine shaper I saw, I did think briefly about making some patterns and trying to duplicate something like that for my Stockbridge.

                    I may still, and you can be assured I'll be grilling the ironmongers at the pour about the types and quality of their materials. At this point I honestly don't know if these fellows are experts with years of experience behind them, or a couple of guys who read Gingery's page a couple of times and then tacked together a homebrew cuplola out of an old freon tank.

                    If the former- which I hope- I'll definitely have to ponder that vise a bit harder. But for the moment, I was trying to think of a somewhat simpler project that I could have done, but one that, given the cost, would still perhaps prove to be useful in the shop.

                    I'd love a surface plate, but I'd have to buy a granite plate to scrape it in, and given how short I am on room, I might as well just buy the rock and be done with it.

                    Doc.
                    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doc Nickel
                      I'd love a surface plate, but I'd have to buy a granite plate to scrape it in, and given how short I am on room, I might as well just buy the rock and be done with it.
                      I was going to suggest a camelback (scraping master), but that has the same problem, and you'd also have a hell of a time making the mold.

                      The mold for a shaper vise seems a lot more straighforward.
                      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                      • #12
                        Not all that easy

                        Making a mould or pattern can be very involved and may require considerable acquired skills. Not the least will the "shrinkage allowances" and allowances for post-moulding machining.

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                        • #13
                          I dont know anything about Anvils but always wanted one.. Can you cast one in iron and plate the top in a durable steel?? JR
                          Last edited by JRouche; 07-02-2008, 11:19 PM.
                          My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

                          https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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                          • #14
                            Yeah-- I would have advocated for a camelback straightedge too. You could make the portion of the mold that is the straightedge with just a rip or two on a piece of 2x4. The camel back portion of the mold is a big arc of plywood with a big rib across the top and some simple vertical ribs. As patterns go it could be one of the easier ones. The holes in the arch could be machined in afterward to make the pattern a bit quicker.

                            Me...I have a broken arm that shifts the planetary back gear in or out on my shaper. Maybe you have a broken machine part somewhere too?? The original could be the mold...and then "finger in" the missing piece. I keep thinking about re-pouring the piece I need in aluminum instead of cast iron, but its something I can fabricate a functional replacement for out of a slice of 6" steel pipe with a few weldments.

                            Hmmm....such short notice...

                            Paul
                            Paul Carpenter
                            Mapleton, IL

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                            • #15
                              Limits?

                              There has to be a financial limit on the cost of the iron as well as a physical one as regards the amount of iron that can be melted and poured in the equipment available surely.

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