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Old 02-24-2016, 02:04 AM   #1
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Default Cast Iron Body Building Weights

I went to a used sporting equipment store tonight and saw a stack of cast iron weights for weight lifting. You know the kind I'm talking about. There is a steel bar with weights on each end, held on by a collar. A person can add as much weight as he wants, up to 750 pounds or so.

I've been looking for some cast iron for a chuck back plate for my new lathe and some smaller chunks for flywheels. Some of the smaller ones seem to be just the right size, so I bought several. They are quite reasonable at around 70 cents a pound.

They also have some dumbbells or whatever you call them, that have a cast iron lump on each end with a cast iron shaft in between, cast as one piece. These looked like a good source also, but I didn't have an immediate need.

Has anyone ever used any of these as a source of cast iron?


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Old 02-24-2016, 02:14 AM   #2
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Yes i had the same idea with mixed results.The 1st one turned up nice as
a chuck backing plate. $3.50 cheap at the price. The second one was pot
hard,and carbide tools wouldn't touch it.I haven't bothered since as I have found a supplier of cast iron.One tip,tap them with a metal object the more they Sing the harder they are. Very poor quality chinese cast iron but if you don't try it you wont know.I was 50% lucky


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Old 02-24-2016, 02:24 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help.

I know that at least some of them are machinable, the hole in the center is bored out. I can't say I checked them all. I did look through the stack and got the ones that appeared to be old. I figured they had a better chance of being cast in the U.S.

I really could use a $3.50 backing plate.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:23 AM   #4
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look out for an old marking out table that is no longer fit for original work. Mine cost 3. It was Meehanite and easily machinable.
You might be lucky with weights but you might not. If you stand back and think , your cheap faceplate might warp.

They do- believe me.

Regards

Norman
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:34 PM   #5
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Check out my "Chuck backing Plate from barbell weight" thread.
http://www.homemodelenginemachinist....ad.php?t=11805
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Old 02-24-2016, 07:56 PM   #6
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Bazmak,

I tried cutting a couple of the weights.
The first appears to be cast iron, has a dull ring and cuts quite well with HSS and carbide.

The second appears to be some type of steel. It has a bright ring to it, like a bell. I cut it with carbide and while it is tough, it has a fairly good finish. Not sure if I will be able to use it.

The others are between these two extremes, as far as ring is concerned.

cheepo45, at least I know it's possible. Glad yours turned out so well. I hope mine is at least as good.

My new old lathe is in Gainesville, Fl awaiting the trip to my shop in North Carolina in a month or so. As far as metalworking projects go, I'm on hold until I get it set up.
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Old 02-24-2016, 10:52 PM   #7
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Yes my first one turned up well.A 1.25kg about 6"dia.The only problem was the
finished wall thickness was down to about 6mm,bit thin but did work.The 2nd one I could not touch so use it as a balance weight.Dont think I would buy anymore,might as well pay a bit extra for proper cast iron at $6 per kilo
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Old 02-25-2016, 12:11 AM   #8
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Where do you get cast iron for $6/kilo?
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:35 AM   #9
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I've machined a few of these weights (they're called barbell weights as far as I know) to make flywheels. Now some people would tell you not to touch the things with a ten foot pole, but I've generally found them to be okay to machine, though I have encountered two bad ones which were tough as nails and had some big holes hidden in them, but those were found by chance during a scrapyard visit.

EDIT: I wonder if anyone has any idea what those foundries producing the really bad ones are likely to be doing wrong for the weights to come out so hard and full of holes, and why it would be cheaper for them to ignore such bad practise?
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sssfox View Post
Thanks for the help.

I know that at least some of them are machinable, the hole in the center is bored out. I can't say I checked them all. I did look through the stack and got the ones that appeared to be old. I figured they had a better chance of being cast in the U.S.

I really could use a $3.50 backing plate.

Barbell weights have been made in China or elsewhere for decades now. It doesn't really matter though because no matter where they are made, they are made to be cheap not tightly controlled product. Because the analysis isn't known you may have success annealing a disk or maybe not. It is very much a random crap shoot. Since these can often be found at yard sales for pennies on the dollar sometimes it is worth taking a chance.

The bigger problem is that the plates end up very thin after machining. Unless of course you can leave in the cast in name and other labels. If the material is thick enough and big enough in diameter it is certainly worth a try. You can actually buy a lot of cast iron this way compared to buying durabar at a metal retailer.


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