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  • Bearings balls = some air hardening?

    Colleges in metal

    I'm making a project that includes attaching a ball from a ball bearing to the end of a small rod.

    I believe I read here that one could anneal a bearing ball and then drill it. I succeeded in making a hole in the ball with the first ball I scrounged out of the "I'll save that, I might need it some time bin". Alas I didn't give sufficient thought or effort in to making the holding fixture and ended up with a hole that wasn't at all concentric.

    Today I spent a far greater amount of time making a fixture, only to find that the second ball re-hardened almost immediately after removing the heat and I can't drill it. I'm still very much in the learning and skill building stage and don't know much, what little I do know suggests this second ball is an "air hardening" steel. (Don't know what that means exactly or if it's even a proper usage of the term.)

    So, is there a way to know if one has a steel that can be worked after annealing?

    A new thought; can you order bearing balls made out of a steel that can be annealed, and can a Home Shop type order just one or two?

    Man, gotta stop having ideas while trying to post, my head hurts!

    rOlin-a-long

  • #2
    Don't know if the exercise is to to what you're doing, but you can make a ball turner fairly easily and turn balls with a flat for mounting:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwGLL7cMdHk

    Comment


    • #3
      Drill Bearings

      Use a solid carbide drill with 2 straight flutes. Then you don't have to harden, anneal or anything else. Then it doesn't matter what steel it's made of. Just drill it like you would mild steel. Run the drill in the 300 to 750 RPM range. Slower for larger sizes, faster for smaller sizes. Don't use any cutting oil of any kind. Run it dry.

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      • #4
        I've annealed ball bearings and drilled and cut them in half for vise fixtures.

        Bearing balls are made from 52100, which should be annealed at 1600° F. Are you letting the balls cool slowly? I stick them in a tray of vermiculite, and it takes them several hours to cool down.
        Last edited by lazlo; 09-05-2010, 09:20 PM.
        "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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        • #5
          Originally posted by Toolguy
          Use a solid carbide drill with 2 straight flutes. Then you don't have to harden, anneal or anything else. Then it doesn't matter what steel it's made of. Just drill it like you would mild steel. Run the drill in the 300 to 750 RPM range. Slower for larger sizes, faster for smaller sizes. Don't use any cutting oil of any kind. Run it dry.

          Commonly called Die Drills. That will make looking them up easier.

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          • #6
            Balls

            Lazio has it right, as most bearings are made from 52100 steel. The balls and race have to be from the same material so the wear will be uniform. Heat the balls in a small electric furnace and allow it to come up to temperature and shut off the power and come back tomorrow. Hold the temperature above the critical temperature and allow the balls to cool SLOW, very slow.

            JRW

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            • #7
              For what it's worth,52100 steel has to be wrapped in stainless foil,or it will have a soft skin on it. Knife makers use it. I have also made knives from it.

              If you think about it,ball bearings have to take an enormous amount of punishment to do their jobs. Yet,their steel is a fairly simple alloy.

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              • #8
                Soft steel balls so cheap it ain't funny,other metals also-

                http://www.greenbaymfgco.com/catalog.php?cat=6
                I just need one more tool,just one!

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                • #9
                  If the requirements are less severe, you can use balls made for slingshots. 100 for 5 bucks or something.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                  • #10
                    Silver-braze/solder

                    Here is the OP:

                    Originally posted by h6m3s4o7
                    Colleges in metal

                    I'm making a project that includes attaching a ball from a ball bearing to the end of a small rod.

                    I believe I read here that one could anneal a bearing ball and then drill it. I succeeded in making a hole in the ball with the first ball I scrounged out of the "I'll save that, I might need it some time bin". Alas I didn't give sufficient thought or effort in to making the holding fixture and ended up with a hole that wasn't at all concentric.

                    Today I spent a far greater amount of time making a fixture, only to find that the second ball re-hardened almost immediately after removing the heat and I can't drill it. I'm still very much in the learning and skill building stage and don't know much, what little I do know suggests this second ball is an "air hardening" steel. (Don't know what that means exactly or if it's even a proper usage of the term.)

                    So, is there a way to know if one has a steel that can be worked after annealing?

                    A new thought; can you order bearing balls made out of a steel that can be annealed, and can a Home Shop type order just one or two?

                    Man, gotta stop having ideas while trying to post, my head hurts!

                    rOlin-a-long
                    I'm making a project that includes attaching a ball from a ball bearing to the end of a small rod.

                    The operative word was "attach".

                    Drilling is but one part of a single solution among others.

                    Drilling in itself is not a solution, but perhaps tapping is - as is welding or silver-brazing.

                    Silver brazing is or may be a complete solution in itself (with no drilling and/or tapping).

                    It is all job-dependent in that it must be adequate for the intended purpose - which the OP did not and has not given us.

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                    • #11
                      Many years ago I worked in a scientific glass blowing shop. We had an order to make several hundred precision glass check valves. The check valve body is made in a glass lathe by heating the middle section of a short length of TruBore borosilicate glass tubing to the taffy stage and then jogging one headstock toward the other a few millimeters to form a bulge in the tube that becomes the valve seat. The seat then must be ground to match a ground glass ball.

                      The problem was how to make the grinding tool. It needed to be made from a material that wouldn't grind away easily while it ground the valve seat. Borosilicate glass is very hard. This project was pretty much mine to develop so I came up with an idea that actually worked well.

                      The seat needed to match a .375 glass ball. I made a holder for a bearing ball of that size by clamping a chunk of copper to the drill press table and creating a small dimple with a centre drill. The bearing was placed in the dimple and a length of copper plated .125" welding rod chucked in the drill press. Then the leads from a buzz box welder were attached to the welding rod and the copper block and energized. The rod was brought down smartly to make contact with the ball and held there while the rod turned yellow hot at the tip and welded itself to the ball at the very small point contact. Power turned off the ball cooled very quickly in contact with the copper block and stayed very hard while securely attached to the rod. It didn't have time to oxidize.

                      After making a handful of these grinding tools the copper block was drilled through to match the OD of the valve body. A valve body was dropped in the hole and the tool was used to grind the seat with some fine valve grinding paste applied. Concentricity was maintained throughout the process and the valves easily passed the leakdown test.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        Colleges in Metal

                        Thank you for you kind replies.

                        I'm trying to make a center finder, the bearing ball was to be attached to the indicating rod. I would have silver brazed the ball to the rod. Wonder if I could make a jig to hold the rod and just depend on the silver solder to hold them together.

                        I don't have pictures, wrestled with photobucket for over 1/2 an hour. and gave up.

                        rOlin-a-long

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Centre-finder

                          Like this "Wiggler" ball-ended centre-finder?





                          If so - solder soldering/brazing will do fine.

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                          • #14
                            Colleagues

                            Well that's not what I had in mind but as I have a cheep Chinese one that has it's ball contact popped apart and it sharp pint broken you've given me the way to fix that little problem, much obliged, thank you.

                            What I'm building is the kind of device the old timers used in a lathe to bring a center punch mark or maybe center drilled hole into alignment with a center in the tailstock. I've seen pictures of these in the Lindsey reprints and as it seemed a good skill building exercise I thought I'd try to make one. BTW Just went and looked it up; Lindsey reprint: Popular Mechanics Lathe Handbook number One - 1925. They call this thing an indicator. All it is is a rod with pivots that allow freedom of movement in two directions. The pivots are set near one end of the rod with a 1 to 10 ratio, the short end is placed in a center punch mark and the four jaw is adjusted until the long end of the rod doesn't move relative the point of the center in the tailstock.

                            I thought I'd make mine with a bearing ball as the tip, wouldn't allow the use of a center punch mark but might not be as influenced by a slight error in the end of the rod.

                            rOlin-a-long

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