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Best finishing steel

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  • Best finishing steel

    Hi guys,
    I have a project coming up that I need to make out of steel, rather than the aluminum I'm more familiar with. I know 12L14 machines easily, but how does it take a surface finish? I'm looking for a mild steel that really will take a nice surface finish.


  • #2
    12l14 will give you a nice finish and it's easy to machine. It's not recommended for welding or use with foods.

    At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

    Location: SF East Bay.


    • #3
      If you have a sharp tool and take a light cut at a fairly slow feed for the last cut it will go a long way to a good finish.


      • #4
        12L14 produces a nice finish but unless it's painted or kept in a jar of oil, it will rust if you look at it twice. I think it starts to rust on the first look though. I get pretty nice finish on just about any steel. You just need to use the right tools, feeds and speeds. Or I grind it.


        • #5
          Stainless mold steel?

          Uddeholm Nimax would be relatively low alloy mold steel..40HRC

          Does it has to be steel?
          if not Uddeholm Alumec 89 moldmaking aluminium might work.
          Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe


          • #6
            Two of the easiest to machine steels that give a good finish are 303 stainless and 1215 cold rolled steel (CRS). The easiest to machine tool steel is 06, an oil hardening steel. All of these are easier to machine than 1018 CRS.
            Kansas City area


            • #7
              12L14 will turn with a lovely finish, as stated above. It will also rust with the slightest provocation as indicated, because the lead that gives it the free machining properties acts in the opposite direction that a galvanizing coat would. I would add that it's as soft as a politician's promise as well.

              The trick to getting a nice finish on a mild or 1040 etc. steel is often to use carbide inserts and a cutting speed of 600fpm or so. All of a sudden, if you can stand the blue and red chips landing on your left arm, you get a mirror finish!
              Location- Rugby, Warwickshire. UK


              • #8
                Thanks for the replies guys. Due to the rust issue, 12L14 is out of the question. I'd also prefer to steer away from carbide, as I have all my tooling in HSS, which my lathe seems to prefer. 303 currently sounds like a good choice.


                • #9
                  Stressproof, great, easy finish, easy to break chips, and high strength also.



                  • #10
                    Don't get hung up on choosing the perfect steel; you can polish anything to a mirror finish. Choose the steel for application. For general use, I like 1144 - easy to machine, easy to polish after.


                    • #11
                      Another vote for 1144. Machines well, gets a great finish right off the machine.
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                      Hashim Khan

                      Everything not impossible is compulsory

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