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Turning drill rod

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  • Turning drill rod

    I was practicing some turning between centers today and happen to reach for some 1/2" W1 drill rod. Your typical Enco bought stuff. What's the best speeds/cutters to use on this stuff? I'm currently using 3/8" HSS. Seems like the finish I get is extremely rough. I'm using a ton of lube. Lots O smoke. Lube hasn't seem to help much with the actual cutting but I would assume it cools the work.


  • #2
    Yeah, drill rod isn't great stuff to work with. It's difficult to get a good finish.

    The main thing, I think, is to use a wicked sharp HSS tool, properly ground and then honed on an oilstone, and use cutting oil as you're doing. Probably "moderate" speed. But the finish isn't going to be great, the best you can do.

    At the other extreme, I find that "Stressproof" 1144 turns to a beautiful finish....

    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
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    • #3
      The axles for my locomotives tender is turned from some o-1 drill rod. Sharp HSS works best like said. Also apparently O-1 machines better than w-1. I remove the tool marks with a small file, get a smooth finish atleast for the bronze bearings im going to use.


      • #4
        Yep, O-1 turns better but I use W-1 almost always. It's cheap and easy to heat treat and temper. I use 10% Cobalt bits and a mist coolant. Everytime I've tried using an oil based lube, I got a rough finish. Didn't seem to mater what speed or DOC.