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Old 04-19-2018, 01:17 PM   #11
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I work with leaded steel a lot. It has spoiled me. I don't want to cut anything else. It doesn't rust that fast, if the surface finish is fine.... And besides, your cylinder is going to be lubricated, is it not?

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Old 04-19-2018, 02:02 PM   #12
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Since I posted the question I have done som parts with leaded steel my selves. I agree. Very nice to work with.
However, I have only some 75mm round pieces and have to work a lot to make smaller parts.
This is my Farm Boy cylinder.

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Old 04-19-2018, 02:58 PM   #13
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i love working with 12L14 you are lucky to have free access to it.

don't know about welding it, but it silver brazes just fine. or at least it did for me.

if you hold the heat on it for a long time you will see it start to sweat a little. pretty sure that's the lead in it starting to melt but that never caused any issue with me on brazing it.

and the stuff seems to rust faster than cast iron will, but also seems to polish back back up quickly for me. but ive never left the stuff out in the rain or anything. probably wouldn't use it for say a water cooling jacket or anything - but air/oil cooled i would think it would be fine for in that case.
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:45 AM   #14
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Hi all,,back many years ago I used to weld bright leaded steel with arc...the electrodes where called sulphur rod here in oz perhaps they have a different name elsewhere.if we didn't use these rods we would end up with a lot of porosity,I would weld required items for the machinists and they would machine them up with no problem...cheers clem
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Old 04-20-2018, 05:55 AM   #15
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I'm also a fan for leaded steel because of the fine finish you get on the lathe. I haven't welded it but I have successfully brazed it using bronze with no problems.
It really does corrode. I used a piece of 1" round as an axle for the wheel on my wheelbarrow which is stored outside. After a year or so, there was less than 1/4" left - it was really spectacularly bad.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:06 PM   #16
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I don't think most people know most of the small threaded fasteners used in electronic devices, watches, etc. used to be made of leaded steel, precisely because it machines so well, including the fine pitch threads.

McMaster sells 12L14, and 41L14 "free cutting" steels. The latter is as easy cutting leaded version of 4140, and is stronger than 12L14. They also sell 1215 alloy which is a non leaded "free cutting" steel. Does not cut as easily, or leave as nice a finish as the leaded steels, but worth a try if you're bothered by the very minimal amount of lead alloyed into 12L14 and 41L14. I should note that free machining brasses also contain lead.

As for the corrosion, I wasn't advocating using it in an outdoor application. It does not rust any faster than non-leaded steels, and the fact that you can put a better finish on it delays the corrosion. Less surface irregularity, the less opportunity for rust to start.

You CAN case harden leaded steel, but it doesn't absorb the carbon as readily as some unleaded steels.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:42 PM   #17
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I always use leaded steel for anything requiring machining A real pleasure to work with

Hallett cove
South australia
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