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Is cast iron evil.....?

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  • Is cast iron evil.....?

    Ok evil is a bit strong but I got your attention
    Currently I'm running my fly cutter on a OD 250mm 10mm thick disc of closed grain cast iron and a it's making one heck of a mess ( nice finish but BIG mess)
    So I can't help but wonder how bad is cast iron dust for my lathe ways and well ... me?
    I used a mask but was just wondering what is the machine and health risks to cast iron dust?
    If you are using violence and it does not work, You are not using enough or it is upside down.
    You can always just EDM it...

  • #2
    I have found an effective way to reduce the mess caused by the dust.

    I hook up my vacuum cleaner using a magnetic clamp to hold the nozzle close to the toolbit. Then I use a speed controller (actually a router speed control) to reduce the scream of the vacuum. By doing this the dust is removed but most of the chips stay. Then it is an easy job to clean up the swarf using full power on the vacuum. And I don't have to wear hearing protectors.

    Geoff

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    • #3
      Could be taking too small a DOC, likely that if you are getting dust and not little chips.

      Presume your cutter is contacting correctly and not rubbing.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ken_Shea
        Could be taking too small a DOC, likely that if you are getting dust and not little chips.

        Presume your cutter is contacting correctly and not rubbing.
        +1

        speed, feed, DOC? should be getting chips not dust. imo CI, good quality CI, is a treat to machine
        .

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        • #5
          re: Is cast iron evil

          IMPO, cast iron is super nasty. I turned some night before last and took about an hour toclean and lube my lathe, vac and sweep the floor and get rid if the grit. It is good materian, gives a nice finish but leaves one heck of a mess.

          Ray
          Ray
          Central Texas

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          • #6
            Saying cast iron is nasty or a dream is akin to saying steel is hard or butter-soft. There are many different types of cast iron, just as there are heat-treated tools steels and leaded soft steels.

            A quality gray cast iron with high lamellar graphite content is nice and easy to machine. A malleable cast iron that has high nodular graphite and nickel content can be quite a challenge with "chilled spots" that are super-hard. Then there's many task-specific grades with all kinds of alloying elements.

            Most any of them are considered to be "short chipping" materials and will make a certain amount of dust even when making chips. Some make nothing BUT dust. Some cast irons will chew up your carbide tooling and spit out broken stumps that used to be end mills, other versions will leave your HSS tools looking like they've just been resharpened.

            Nearly all of them leave leave your hands black, your shop and machines messy and is a PITA to clean up.

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            • #7
              Westline

              I hope you covered that lathe really good. I know some enjoy machining cast iron. I avoid it as much as possible. My reasons are the gritty mess it makes, and that grit all over my machine!, Every time I machine that stuff, I feel bad for the machine it self. Hell way not throw a load of sand on it. It is nasty to a un protected machine, If you have to machine cast, it really would hurt trying to cover as much of your machine as possible.

              Im not aware of the health risks to you, but if she,s makin dust, by all means wear a mask. Any time someone brings me cast iron to machine, lathe or mill, I charge the extra on the time to cover the machine, and for the major cleaning afterwards. In my eyes, that stuff is nasty in most every way. I know you can get nice finishes, and usually free cutting and all, but whats the machine worth?
              Just my 02 cents worth
              Paul

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              • #8
                Cast iron is NOT evil. But can be nasty . Just depends on what kind you have.
                Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self
                http://sites.google.com/site/machinistsite/TWO-BUDDIES
                http://s178.photobucket.com/user/lan...?sort=3&page=1

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                • #9
                  When I tweak the feed and take a good DOC, I get Cheeto crumbles. But yeah -- it's a mess, and you come out looking like a coal miner.

                  Yes, the swarf is extremely abrasive on the ways. I vacuum up every couple of minutes.
                  "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
                    What will wear out first?

                    A late relative of mine spent 26 yrs running a large lathe, primarily machining cast iron. he retired and the "new" machinists just couldnt get the job done, so the worn out lathe was replaced. My relative spent a long and happy retirement in his own shop building model engines, all with bronze cylinders!! Make what you will of that! Regards David Powell.

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                    • #11
                      Quality cast iron, like Durabar, is a dream material. Cuts great, leaves an amazing finish, makes all of my ham fisted efforts look great. Like others have mentioned, just make sure you are taking a good cut and it will actually build a small chip, much easier to clean.
                      James Kilroy

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                      • #12
                        Cast Iron carries no inherent health risk unless it is alloyed with chromium or nickel. The iron particles you inhale will dissolve and be absorbed readily. That won't cause a problem unless you have an overabundance of iron in your body already like I do. Then it can cause a condition that is generically known as "Iron Overload". Iron overload may be caused by a genetic disposition to accumulating iron or it may be accquired. It is a very common disorder and can eventually be fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Working with cast iron on a regular basis is one way to cause the condition, especially if you are genetically inclined to accumulate iron. Weldors are also suceptible to iron overload from flux fumes in which case the condition is called Weldor's Siderosis.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Evan
                          Cast Iron carries no inherent health risk unless it is alloyed with chromium or nickel. The iron particles you inhale will dissolve and be absorbed readily. That won't cause a problem unless you have an overabundance of iron in your body already like I do. Then it can cause a condition that is generically known as "Iron Overload". Iron overload may be caused by a genetic disposition to accumulating iron or it may be accquired. It is a very common disorder and can eventually be fatal if not diagnosed and treated. Working with cast iron on a regular basis is one way to cause the condition, especially if you are genetically inclined to accumulate iron. Weldors are also suceptible to iron overload from flux fumes in which case the condition is called Weldor's Siderosis.
                          Very interesting thanks Evan..... So I can turn myself into Ironman but it won't make me able to fight crime
                          My speed and feed is the following : 100mm fly cutter with carbide insert running at 400rpm ...feed 4.8mm per min I had it on 2mm per min but the chips looks beter now DOC is 0.15mm
                          If you are using violence and it does not work, You are not using enough or it is upside down.
                          You can always just EDM it...

                          Comment

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