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hydraulic piston, what type of steel?

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  • hydraulic piston, what type of steel?

    I bought a 3ft length of 2.5" hydraulic piston from the scrap guy for 12 bucks. I think it came from an excavator. It is chromed, case hardened, and tough to machine. I annealed or normalized a chunk which made machining a little easier. Anyone know what type of steel pistons as such are generally made of? I am assuming 1045 or 4130 but what would you guess? It doesn't really matter but I would like to learn something today. BTW this guy has just about any shape of steel I would ever need at .25 per pound, and I am sure that most scrappys would be happy to sell to a regular customer. Thanks!

  • #2
    Minor detail, that's the shaft, not the piston. The piston would be bolted to the end of the shaft.


    • #3
      1045 is a very popular choice for hydraulic cylinder rod/shaft material but it all depends on what the OEM specifies. The industrial hard chrome plating is very thin, usually less than .001" thick, and very hard.

      As a rule if you can cut underneath the hard chrome you will find a very easy to machine softer core, but no guarantees as some rods are induction hardened, like I say it all depends. I've had good luck doing so in the past, but again no guarantees.

      It's mystery metal unless you can get the scrap yard to analyze your purchase, as some yards do use metal analyzers to sort scrap.
      Irregardless for general purpose projects that do not require a specific material it does represent good value when all you need is fodder for making chips.
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