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Why didn't someone tell me about brass years ago

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  • Why didn't someone tell me about brass years ago

    So I've been machining parts from steel and aluminum for years but recently decided to make the Geneva Hours Clock. I get to the brass parts and started cutting and wow. This stuff cuts like butter, but doesn't gum up like aluminum. Why haven't I been using this all along? This stuff is awesome, a little bit on the expensive side, but still.

  • #2
    Originally posted by SkyMoCo View Post
    So I've been machining parts from steel and aluminum for years but recently decided to make the Geneva Hours Clock. I get to the brass parts and started cutting and wow. This stuff cuts like butter, but doesn't gum up like aluminum. Why haven't I been using this all along? This stuff is awesome, a little bit on the expensive side, but still.
    Be aware that all brasses are not the same. Buy it for machinability and you should be OK.

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    • #3
      Get into some phosphor bronze and see how you like that
      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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      • #4
        I was hoping for a good time when I saw the "ultra-machinable" 360 brass so that's what I ordered. I've learned over time not to just pick up any piece of metal I found by the side of the road. It doesn't always turn out so good.

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        • #5
          I like turning brass, though most of my parts are in steel. With a nicely sharp tool, it turns so easily that you can almost make a part as quickly as you can think about it. Just a reminder- for best results, particularly for small diameter parts, you will want the cutting edge to be at center height.

          'any piece of metal I found by the side of the road. It doesn't always turn out so good.' Yeah, I mentioned phosphor bronze sort of sarcastically- I have a piece of that which I wish I'd never brought home. Nothing but trouble for me.
          I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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          • #6
            Try aluminum bronze lol.. Not sure exactly which alloy I have (mystery metal), but it works hardens if you look at it wrong.


            One thing to be careful of in "brass" is deep drilling... if you don't adjust the drill relief, peck and clear often - it like to grab the bit and ruin your day.
            Last edited by lakeside53; 11-29-2014, 02:03 AM.

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            • #7
              Almost forgot. You should try working with brass sometime. It cuts like butter.

              oops... too late.

              There are tough ones though. We have some "Naval Brass" stock at work (not sure what the real name of it is). That stuff is tougher than (insert pejorative adjective here) and a pain to work with.
              Last edited by tyrone shewlaces; 11-29-2014, 02:00 AM.

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              • #8
                About 12 years ago I saw an add for a used bridgeport in the local nickel paper. I always wanted to have one so I went and bought it, got it home and cut some little scrap pieces. Not knowing any better, I went down to the scrapyard and grabbed some shiny metal to try on. I get it home and broke the two mills I had. It didn't make sense to me so I tried to drill into it on the drill press and couldn't make so much as a scratch. It only then dawned on me that what I was cutting makes a huge difference.

                Since then I have learned many valuable lessons.

                1. Everything flexes
                2. You cannot clamp things too tight.
                3. Things can go very wrong very fast.
                4. When you get tired and frustrated, stop. Tomorrow it will all make sense.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SkyMoCo View Post
                  So I've been machining parts from steel and aluminum for years but recently decided to make the Geneva Hours Clock. I get to the brass parts and started cutting and wow. This stuff cuts like butter, but doesn't gum up like aluminum. Why haven't I been using this all along? This stuff is awesome, a little bit on the expensive side, but still.
                  Buy some tweezers and a good magnifying glass. You'll know when you need 'em
                  Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                  Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                  Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                  Monarch 10EE 1942

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SkyMoCo View Post

                    2. You cannot clamp things too tight.
                    .


                    I find at times you can clamp something to tight and make it distort, bow, or bend. Sometimes when clamping two pieces together to be welded if you clamp one to tight it my be pulled out of alignment of the other piece. Some materials will squish if clamped to tight.
                    Andy

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                    • #11
                      I don't know if he ever got to do it, but my machine shop teacher said he was going to take a hand full of brass chips with him on his next Colorado trip for one of those 'panning for gold' tours.
                      Definition: Racecar - a device that turns money into noise.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by browne92 View Post
                        I don't know if he ever got to do it, but my machine shop teacher said he was going to take a hand full of brass chips with him on his next Colorado trip for one of those 'panning for gold' tours.
                        That could be fun. Stand back and take lots of pix. :-)

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                        • #13
                          I had to drill and tap holes through a brass flange laminated to 1/4 copper.
                          What a pain! Get the right rhythm pecking through the brass til I hit the copper and get sucked in.
                          Tapping the brass was easy til I got to the copper then an eighth of turn or less then back off.
                          Thought I was going to snap the tap on every turn.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SkyMoCo View Post
                            Since then I have learned many valuable lessons.

                            1. Everything flexes
                            2. You cannot clamp things too tight.
                            3. Things can go very wrong very fast.
                            4. When you get tired and frustrated, stop. Tomorrow it will all make sense.
                            Every new machinist should print it out and hang it on the wall.
                            Last edited by Ohio Mike; 11-29-2014, 08:04 PM. Reason: oops, typo
                            Mike
                            Central Ohio, USA

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                            • #15
                              These comments bring to mind my very first attempt at machining with my brand new Craftsman (Atlas) 6" metal lathe I bought from money I saved from working at a hobby shop at the age of sixteen (1956). I dropped by a local scrap yard to find some metal to experiment on and came home with the end of an automobile drive shaft which was nice and round and about the right size. I chucked it up and began to cut the splines off. I amazingly watched the end of my high speed steel lathe bit round off and the splines come through without a scratch! It was my introduction to case hardened steel! Live and learn.

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