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  • Source for cast iron or steel drops ...

    Well I've been looking for some material for this clapper box. I'm a student and 100 bucks is equall to more than 10 hours of work for me. ("Research Assistants" don't get paid too well these days but at least they don't require us to have hunchbacks ).

    Anyway, I'd like to do this as cheap as possible without sacrificing quality. For that reason, I've neglected the idea of piecing the box together. My thought was to look for a drop from an 8" diameter round that is about 3" thick, as opposed to buying a piece of rectangular stock that is 8" by 6" by 3". For some reason it seems cheaper that way.

    Anyhow, I found some new gray CI 7" that would put me back about 60 bucks and some new 1018 HR 8" diameter that would cost about 65 bucks. (All minus shipping ) I might be able to make 7" work, I need to take a look.

    But does anyone happen to know of or have suggestions for a place that would part with some drops for pretty cheap? I took a look on ebay and they had some 8" aluminum drops, but nothing like what I was looking for.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Walk into a few small machine shops or metal sellers in your area. You will come out with something much cheaper. My local "pusher" sells any size cut or larger order no piece too small and he usually asks me "what will you give me for it" when I pick something up off of his cut off and ends rack.

    A little leg work usually pays off. Last time I went into the local machine shop and "visited" a bit with the owner he ended up deciding the pieces he handed me were not worth writing up a ticket. I remember that and several times while at local supply houses I have overheard someone say where can I get this or that made or fixed...I always direct them to said machine shop.
    regards

    3t

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks 3t - I meant to do that tomorrow, only I'm not sure any shops around here would handle anything quite that big. I'm in a small town, but I'll definitely do some walking around!

      Comment


      • #4
        Yep, venture down to your local steel supply house and ask to look in their drop pile. Most times the drops are sold for a discount. If you find the head chief in charge and explain what you are doing you may even do better.
        I get probably 75% of my steel for projects out of the drop pile right inside the back door of the steel shop. I went looking for some plain 1-1/4" hot rolled shaft once, came home with a 6' stick of ground 1-1/4" for the same price. WAY better deal.

        A few years ago I had a need for about 4ft of 2" round aluminum. Never thinking of my normal place because they sell very little aluminum, I called several other places around town and found that they wanted obscene prices, plus had to buy a full 10-12' stick.
        Stopped at my regular haunt and asked if they might have some by accident, the guy looks at me and says,
        "you got a lathe and willing to do some work??"
        "sure, if I have to"
        "look out the back door, there's some pieces there that you can have if you can use them."

        Went out back and found 4 or 5 2ft long pieces of 2-1/4" solid square bar.
        Yep, a few minutes on the mill to knock the corners off, and a couple extra passes on the lathe gave me free 2" round bar. Good enough for me.......

        Comment


        • #5
          Gee, TDKKART, next time I go to see my son at college in Mt. Vernon I might have to get together with you and check out that metal supplier! <VBG>

          David
          Montezuma, IA
          David Kaiser
          “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
          ― Robert A. Heinlein

          Comment


          • #6
            When you go looking around for scrap and drops, be sure to take along some pix of what you are working on, not just the clapper box but the whole shaper too. It helps if folks know you are serious and that you know what you are doing.

            Comment


            • #7
              Versa-Bar will ship directly from the foundry. Sells for about $1.30/lb, last time I ordered (couple of months ago).

              Dura-Bar (same high-tech continuously-cast grey and ductile cast iron) seems to have more local distributors (to avoid shipping).

              Here's DuraBar's distributor locator:

              http://www.dura-bar.com/distributors/index.cfm
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

              Comment


              • #8
                Fasttrack, what you're looking for probably isn't going to be in the scrap/drop pile. However, to get it cheap, as has already been said, small shops where the owner will take a few days beer money in exchange if he has it laying around.

                It took me 3 months to get somebody to come and take a few tons of steel scrap, along with a 55 gallon drum of random steel drops, had to throw in a few aluminum transaxles to get it out of here.


                Originally posted by 3t-
                I always direct them to said machine shop.
                3t, as a guy who owns a shop, I may get really aggravated at you for doing that. The last thing in the world I want is piles of people showing up looking to get something for nothing, or talking to me about what they want. I hate walkins, they are a giant PIA. I would make sure that this is what the shop wants before spreading their name all over the place, some shops want it, some don't.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lazlo
                  Versa-Bar will ship directly from the foundry. Sells for about $1.30/lb, last time I ordered (couple of months ago).

                  Dura-Bar (same high-tech continuously-cast grey and ductile cast iron) seems to have more local distributors (to avoid shipping).

                  Here's DuraBar's distributor locator:

                  http://www.dura-bar.com/distributors/index.cfm
                  Bumping the thread ot a bit - what do you think of that iron for a lath chuck backer plate? I've been ready to spring for a round so I can add a 5C collet chuck to my lathe.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 38_Cal
                    Gee, TDKKART, next time I go to see my son at college in Mt. Vernon I might have to get together with you and check out that metal supplier! <VBG>David Montezuma, IA

                    Marion Iron, on 7th Ave in Marion Ia.
                    I don't buy much there at all, but they always remember me. My daughter used to go there with me when she was 3 or 4 years old, the last time I was in there the boss asked me about her, she's 21 years old this month. He used to give her a sucker evertime we went in, she remembers it well.
                    When I do go in I don't jack around with them, I typically buy a couple hundred dollars worth of stock.
                    Funny thing is, they got some scary looking guys working there but they are always VERY helpful, you will not be inside the door for more than 10 secs before someone asks what you need. I walked in one day just before the boss was coming into the back room from the office, nobody else had even had the chance to see me yet. The closest guy got his butt jumped for not taking care of me immediately.

                    Storm Steel on the south side of Cedar Rapids, the old boy that runs the place is always interested in what you are building, and if you take pictures of your project in the price often goes down......

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Shipping

                      Originally posted by Fasttrack
                      Well I've been looking for some material for this clapper box. I'm a student and 100 bucks is equall to more than 10 hours of work for me. ("Research Assistants" don't get paid too well these days but at least they don't require us to have hunchbacks ).

                      Anyway, I'd like to do this as cheap as possible without sacrificing quality. For that reason, I've neglected the idea of piecing the box together. My thought was to look for a drop from an 8" diameter round that is about 3" thick, as opposed to buying a piece of rectangular stock that is 8" by 6" by 3". For some reason it seems cheaper that way.

                      Anyhow, I found some new gray CI 7" that would put me back about 60 bucks and some new 1018 HR 8" diameter that would cost about 65 bucks. (All minus shipping ) I might be able to make 7" work, I need to take a look.

                      But does anyone happen to know of or have suggestions for a place that would part with some drops for pretty cheap? I took a look on ebay and they had some 8" aluminum drops, but nothing like what I was looking for.

                      Thanks!
                      FT,

                      The USPS has a Flat Rate box or two for shipping what ever you can
                      put inside them. Cost for the box is FREE and shipping is about $ 10.00 to $ 12.00.

                      I had a box shipped from CA to STL area. Flat rate. Was so heavy, PO lady had it in a cart and then one of the guys in the back dock helped load it in my van. Must of weighed approx. 80 lbs.

                      Best deal going.

                      Check with the places listed and talk to them about Flat Rate Box shipping. Not too many know about it.

                      Also know of folks who get the boxes and turn them inside out to then ship by other means.

                      Good luck.

                      David

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Are you absolutely possessed that the cast iron or steel has to be new?

                        There are several options for used/scrap pieces in farming/HD equipment country. There's TONS of cast and steel laying around in the bush in every agricultural or industrial community. Likely with a friendly bit of banter and some elbow grease, you could land an almost solid disc of cast iron 4 inches thick and 20+ " in diameter (Massey 95/97 wheel weight) or a high carbon steel crown gear missing a tooth out of a heavy truck, earth mover, or Ag tractor you could carve your clapper box out of.

                        Does your employer/school/institute of higher learning have an integral shop? Some of the most unusual and useful scrap/drop stuff I ran across was from completed research projects or demos at the university I went to. A few converstions with the shop machinist and head honchos yielded mucho advise, interesting conversation, and free machining on a Saturday morning.

                        As for the quality of material, new scrap drops are not typically scrupulously traceable to ISO 9001/9002 or aerospace specs either

                        I have some, but you'd have to come remove them and cart them home. I'm too broke and occupied elsewhere to remove and ship
                        Last edited by camdigger; 04-08-2009, 01:19 PM.
                        Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One issue is that scrap *cast* iron is likely pretty hard on the outside and it looks like he is looking for a bigger chunk than I would have expected--making it harder to cut out of a piece of scrapped equipment. Then there is the issue that simply burning out a piece to work from from junked equipment is harder with cast iron....it doesn't cut well with a torch. Continuous cast bar like Durabar or Versabar is nearly skinless, making it easy to work with (other than the machining mess due to its granular nature and the presence of graphite).

                          While steel might be acceptable otherwise, now that you have settled on scraping in a gib and mating surface, stay away from it on those faces. Steel scraping is perfectly awful. Cast iron's grain structure lends it to being cut with a scraper while steel ...well...not so much.

                          Paul
                          Paul Carpenter
                          Mapleton, IL

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Any chance your anywhere close to Rolla, MO - Camdigger?

                            I would prefer used material, actually. I just wanted to point out the price of "new" stuff and hope somone had suggestions where I could get something cheaper than those prices. I'm a big fan of scavenging.

                            I've talked to the folks here. Nothing quite that big, but I do get the free machining on Saturday mornings, or (more likely) free machining at ungodly hours of the night I always tell someone where I'm headed, just in case, though.

                            OH! Actually, I need to try the material sciences department, they might just have something that big.

                            edit: Thanks for the advice, Paul! Someday I'll try scraping steel, but for my first time it sounds like it ought to be something easier to deal with!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pcarpenter
                              One issue is that scrap *cast* iron is likely pretty hard on the outside and it looks like he is looking for a bigger chunk than I would have expected--making it harder to cut out of a piece of scrapped equipment. Then there is the issue that simply burning out a piece to work from from junked equipment is harder with cast iron....it doesn't cut well with a torch. Continuous cast bar like Durabar or Versabar is nearly skinless, making it easy to work with (other than the machining mess due to its granular nature and the presence of graphite).

                              While steel might be acceptable otherwise, now that you have settled on scraping in a gib and mating surface, stay away from it on those faces. Steel scraping is perfectly awful. Cast iron's grain structure lends it to being cut with a scraper while steel ...well...not so much.

                              Paul
                              Paul
                              The chilled skin on cast iron is an issue regardless of new or used. Some has thicker skin than others.
                              Large hunks of cast are typically held on with iron or steel bolts Low cost, or free cast iron and low cost or zero out of pocket cost for labor means you could saw out a hunk of cast and machine all over to finished dimensions. Coupla porta band blades and a case of Evian water later would yeild something within 1/4" of finish dimension.. Or chain drill and hacksaw or.... FWIW, I'd never recommend flame cutting due to the wild property changes in the heat affected zone. Same for cast iron or steel for that matter. Long story involving lathe, carbide bits, flame cut shaft, heat treated wear surface....

                              It is unlikely that a part form a low cost source would be appropriate size. Resizing is part of the fun.....
                              Last edited by camdigger; 04-08-2009, 02:14 PM.
                              Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

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