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  • Free metal

    I get stuff like the below effectively at will.



    That's a small hydraulic cylinder rod, chromed and in good shape. When we work on tractors at work, we are constantly throwing metal away, basically by the pound. While the parts are not serviceable for what we do, I often wonder if they wouldn't have some value at the home shop. Maybe the parts could be annealed, machined, and then used for some other purpose? Shop jigs? I'm just curious what you guys think? Should I be buying stock so that I know what metal type I have, it's properties, etc. or should I be rooting through the scap bin looking for certain bits? Sometimes we get large housings with bearings, seals, etc complete except maybe one bearing has spun so the whole thing is trashed. I'm thinking a big ring gear for a job crane.

    The guy holding the cylinder was asking me about getting metal for making knives. I know you can make them from wire rope. What about bucket cutting edges? Basically anything that is hardened would work to some degree??

    Dunno, thoughts?
    Dan from Raleigh, NC

    If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid.
    _____________________
    "What is your host's purpose for the party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." P.J. O'Rourke

  • #2
    I use hydraulic rods like that fairly frequently. From hydraulic cylinders, shocks from heavy(ish) trucks and 4x4s. Generally works well without any hassle. When machining, you just have to get under the chrome plating, usually with carbide, and away you go.

    No idea on your other applications. Generally they require very specific alloys for good results. I doubt that will work.

    It's nice to know what you have, and have what you need, but most of the time, for what I build, it doesn't really matter. So I mostly use whatever is on hand. For things where it does matter (particularly with safety, or expensive failure modes), make sure you use the "right stuff". There is a big difference in making a gate, and making a 4x4 steering tie rod or the like...
    Last edited by BadDog; 02-28-2010, 01:44 PM.
    Russ
    Master Floor Sweeper

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    • #3
      Link to Junkyard steel list of the number and letter designations of material You can also use it backwards to figure out what to look for to make stuff!
      Glen
      Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
      I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
      All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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      • #4
        Thanks for the feedback. I wouldn't have even tried machining off the chrome so that's progress right there. The junkyard list of metals is exactly what I needed. I knew there was a bunch of good metal in the scrap bin, I just didn't know what it was or how to find out. I'm not planning on making important stuff out of scrap, but when you are learning it sure is nice to have free stock to mess around with.
        Dan from Raleigh, NC

        If it's stupid but it works, it's not stupid.
        _____________________
        "What is your host's purpose for the party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi." P.J. O'Rourke

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