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  • What steel is this?

    I got some mystery metal as gifts.
    The first is some 3/4" steel plates that I could use to finish a homemade steady rest once I am back up to speed. They look like ordinary CRS. Will this distort once I start machining it into smaller pieces?

    I also got a big handful of steel rods. They look polished or ground enough to be drill rod. Any way to tell what I got?








    Thanks in advance

    Dave A.
    Last edited by koda2; 04-14-2013, 01:22 PM. Reason: text fix

  • #2
    In theory - Drill rod is color coded.
    that looks to be M2?

    http://www.windsorsteel.com/grades/drill_rod.htm
    I cut it twice, and it's still too short!
    Scott

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    • #3
      Look up spark testing. That will give you an idea of the carbon content and alloying elements.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scottike View Post
        In theory - Drill rod is color coded.
        that looks to be M2?
        Unfortunately, I've never found the color coding to be standardized.

        The 3/4" plates are most likely CRS. They will warp when you machine the skin off, but you can minimize that by taking a skim cut off both sizes.
        "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
          That looks like precision ground low carbon and drill rod. The drill rod I get has red for O-1 alloy designation, but different steel mills use different colors. The flat ground stock could also be any number of tool steels.

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          • #6
            All you can really do is perform some simple tests.

            First check and see if it's magnetic and if so how it compares to known steel.

            If it is,then cut some small sample pieces and try to heat treat them by heating until a magnet no longer attracts to them and quench in water or oil.

            Check the pieces with a file,if the file skips off clamp them in a vise and tap the free end with a hammer.If they break clean and easy like glass then you have some form of drill rod W-1 or O-1 ETC.

            It will still be mystery metal,just not as mysterious as before.
            I just need one more tool,just one!

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            • #7
              That flat stock looks ground to me also. Could be some tool steel, could be anything ....
              Spark tests for clues, or inquire if possible, for clarification from the source.

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              • #8
                No2 for a spark test, easy to tell low carbon from a higher carbon alloy. The low carbon steel will project more straight line sparks, a higher carbon steel will have the same but with " starbursts". The more bursts the higher carbon content. Bob.

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                • #9
                  The flat plates look like they could be Aluminum. Check with magnet.

                  Bob

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                  • #10
                    Aluminum is much whiter looking - that is some kind of steel.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                      First check and see if it's magnetic and if so how it compares to known steel.
                      There's rust on the plates, so they're definitely magnetic.

                      For the drill rod, probably all you care about is whether they're hardenable or not: heat the end up cherry red, and quench in water. If you can snap the end off in a vise, it's hardenable.
                      Last edited by lazlo; 04-14-2013, 04:41 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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                      • #12
                        On 3/4" plate the weight difference from steel to Aluminum will be obvious and not all steel is magnetic. The OP stated they were steel.
                        Byron Boucher
                        Burnet, TX

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Boucher View Post
                          not all steel is magnetic.
                          Look at the ends of the plates in the first picture. What steel that rusts is non-magnetic?
                          "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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                          • #14
                            Drill rod will bend as supplied (annealed.) It won't snap unless it is heat treated & not tempered.
                            gvasale

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                            • #15
                              Check the thickness of the flat stock. Cold rolled will usually run around .005" undersize. If the sides are ground too and it is within say .001" of standard size, it is likely gage stock, which is usually oil hard tool steel.

                              The round stock looks like drill rod to me. Is it in 3' lengths? Most drill rod comes in 3' lengths. As mentioned before, you can try heating cherry red and quenching first in oil then in water if it doesn't harden in oil. Water cools much faster than oil so if it won't harden in oil, try water. Use the corner of a file to check for hardness. If after quenching the edge of a file skids along over without scratching the surface, it is tool steel. A spark test also may help you figure things out and even it it doesn't, it is a learning experience.

                              Brian
                              OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                              THINK HARDER

                              BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                              MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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