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What steel type should I get/use?

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  • What steel type should I get/use?

    I'm ordering some steel stock for our little shop. For several years, I've done very little machining with steel, the vast majority of work being with aluminum.

    I've been reading and wondering about ordering some rod/bar/plate steel stock selection in 12L14, 1018, and 1144 Stressproof to have on-hand for whatever little projects that come up. Order some of each? Or is there a preferred 'general type'?

    I'd like to make a ball turner for my lathe (based off the Steve Bedair design), what type of steel should I make this from?

    thanks for the input, from a steel newb....
    Last edited by T.Hoffman; 02-25-2010, 04:22 PM.

  • #2
    I try to use 12L14 where I can. The machinability makes the material well worth the small added cost. 4130/40 also machines very well and offers a termindus tensile strength.


    • #3
      12l, 1144, both very nice to work with. The 12l is pretty soft, but not gummy like 1018 seems to be. 1144 is harder but very very nice to work with. It's also very easy to heat treat. choose either over 1018 anyday.


      • #4
        In my shop I only use C1144 , 4140 HTSR, C1045 PG and C12L14 Hex
        C1144 machines very well, but should not be used if the item is to be welded.
        If it's for small projects in your home shop go with C1144
        you will love the finish
        please visit my webpage:


        • #5
          Isn't 1144 also pretty hard without heat treat?

          So far, I've been able to survive begging for scraps. The stray dawg of HMS.


          • #6
            Not trying to be a wise arse but get used to using Enco. I seem to get 3 day delivery most of the time and I can live with that. I have a metal supermarket store near me and they have a half-off cut-off rack. I check it out everytime I am near there and have gotten quite a bit of stock that way. I'm building a 2x72 grinder now with largly cutoffs and half priced stuff. I think that what ever you buy you'll wish you'd have gotten something else for your projects. I think for us home machinist rookie types that aluminum is expensive enough to work with but gives good quick results and in 90% of the cases is strong enough for my needs.
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            • #7
              I'm partial to 1144. Though 12L14 machines easily, I dislike its strong tendency to rust at the slightest provocation.
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              • #8
                I have been using the 11's and 12's for all my turning for the past few years. It rusts, as does 1018, but it is fun to turn and has pretty much the use and strength curve as 1018 (unless you really need to be technical, then you don't need to ask this question).

                I buy 1018 for almost all my flat milling. I also use 1018 for fixturing base metal, it has great compression and return qualities that the 11's and 12's do not have. Usually a base plate for 41 series milling and "hammering" fixtures (hardened or otherwise) on top of it.

                41L40 and 41L50 are great to have on hand as well for specialized projects that need added strengths.

                Since your ball turner will be taking stresses and need some potential high rate give and return (compression, shear and tensile) qualities - especially in the event of a tool dig in or slight crash, I would go with 4140 type of materials.
                CCBW, MAH