Air, Oil or Water - which quench when?

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Kludge

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While the subject line is pretty much the question being asked, a little backstory is needed. I've been using oil quench for everything. Specifically I've been using a soy-based quench oil of which I have 2 gallons (long story), and olive oil when I can find it on serious sale. Since my quench bath is often just a coffee cup or a soup mug, a little oil goes a long way.

At the same time, I've been told by various individuals along the way that I'm doing it All Wrong and should mostly be using water or air quench with oil for special occasions which they conveniently fail to define. I keep using oil because of that failure to define plus I seem to get decent results.

I'd appreciate any help on this, gentles. I have no clue what I'm doing wrong, if anything, or why. (Oh, and web sites seem to contradict each other which is no help at all.)

Best regards,

Kludge, the Confused
 

Mcgyver

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i hope by everything you don't mean salads and family station wagon....

the different mediums impose a different rate of cooling, ie quench speed. brine - water - oil - air, from fastest to slowest.

generally, the metallurgy of the steel determines the quench, ie O1 is an oil hardening steel. you could quench it in water but this faster quench might cause cracking whereas an air quench is so slow it won't reach the desired hardness.

i use old oil from the machines, which is usually 30 wt non detergent. you can buy quench oil, certainly the people that make quench oil have lots of reasons why you need it, but the 30 wt has always worked for me. if a quench oil smoked less that would make it worth considering.....challenge with the vegetable oils is them going rancid so I've never bothered going there.

I've always found O1 to be the most readily available tool steel, so that is mostly what i end up using
 
K

Kludge

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Mcgyver said:
i hope by everything you don't mean salads and family station wagon....
No more salads & vehicles. Check. ;)

the different mediums impose a different rate of cooling, ie quench speed. brine - water - oil - air, from fastest to slowest.
Okay, cool. Thank you. This helps understand that part of the process.

You mentioned the O1 tool steel as an oil quench steel and why. Which other steels like oil and would it hurt steel normally brine or water quenched to be oil quenched as well? With that, when would an air quench be preferable?

i use old oil from the machines, which is usually 30 wt non detergent.
My machines use something closer to sewing machine oil. Not quite the same. :)

if a quench oil smoked less that would make it worth considering.
At least the vegetable-based ones smell better.

challenge with the vegetable oils is them going rancid so I've never bothered going there.
The soy oil was part of a bunch of soy-based oils I got (quench, way, cutting, tapping and general purpose) as freebies a while back. They're actually not bad but they don't have anything light enough to act as a lubricant for most of my machines. Someday. Maybe. I use a lot of olive oil for cooking (It's more healthy than others.) so when I get some on deep sale, I can afford to share a cup or so with the shop. (I also share with my neighbors when the gallon size is on sale. :))

I've always found O1 to be the most readily available tool steel, so that is mostly what i end up using
What kind of steel are nails made from? The reason I mention them now and have before (and probably will do so again) is because somewhere along the line I picked up some 20D bright common and 4D finishing nails for some unknown project and would love to put them to good use. It think there are more but they're in storage. We work with what we have and I seem to have nails.

BEst regards,

Kludge ... who seems to have a great number of strange things.
 

georgeseal

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Kludge,
As was stated each one has different characteristic
Lets use wood as an example
Ironwood + Hard ( as my head)
Oak a little softer
pine softer still
balsa you can just about cut it with your finger nail
The 4 types of steel mentioned has different properties, and ingredient's.
I don't have my charts in front of me (so don't call the tempering police)
Say we heat each up to tempering temp 1900 degres Fahrenheit, hold then quench each in the three liquids. So we have 12 test pieces.
some will temper out the correct hardness O-1 in oil W-1 in water A-2
in air some will be just a little above correct temper some will be below
Plane steel will not harden at all (case hardening excluded)
nail are made out of unknown ingredient's and vary Manufacture to Manufacture.
I hope this has made it a little clearer
 
B

Bogstandard

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It seems funny that people will go to great lengths to use the correct grade of materials for certain jobs.

But in this little world we meddle in, is it really worth the bother. What we need is a no stress, no worry hobby. So following a few basic material compatibility rules and 'winging it' usually works.

If you were making an engine that will be used for hours on end or very highly stressed, then yes, go for the 'right stuff'. But in all the years I have been making engines, normal materials will in most cases do the job plenty well enough.

Kludge and his bright nails raises a point.

If an engine was to run a hundred hours over it's lifetime, I am sure it would not matter one iota, if say the small end pin in a piston, in a little wobbler, and a spot of oil, was either hardened silver steel or one of Kludges bright nails.
If just making up basic little engines, don't bother, use what you have in your recycle box.

It saves a lot of stress and cash.

John
 
K

Kludge

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georgeseal said:
As was stated each one has different characteristic

The 4 types of steel mentioned has different properties, and ingredient's.
I don't have my charts in front of me (so don't call the tempering police)
Say we heat each up to tempering temp 1900 degres Fahrenheit, hold then quench each in the three liquids. So we have 12 test pieces.
some will temper out the correct hardness O-1 in oil W-1 in water A-2
in air some will be just a little above correct temper some will be below
Plane steel will not harden at all (case hardening excluded)
Okay, this is part of where I get confused. If I have a piece of steel in my hand from some unknown source, how do I determine what it is? I can't afford to run (actually drive since my running days aren't even dim memories now) it down to a metalurgist so I would like some quick 'n dirty way of finding out. With that, is using oil quench for everything (except salads & my Jeep ;)) going to do any actual harm?

nail are made out of unknown ingredient's and vary Manufacture to Manufacture.
Oi, vey! Another example of standards at work. :)

I hope this has made it a little clearer
Kind of but it raises questions again. :( ... I guess in some things, I'm a slow learner.

BEst regards,

Kludge


[/quote]
 
K

Kludge

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Bogstandard said:
It seems funny that people will go to great lengths to use the correct grade of materials for certain jobs.
And a few of us just want to know how far we can go in using the materials on hand before they quit being useful. It's kind of like my wanting to use ammo brasses for compressed gas (including steam and air) engine cylinders; the engines won't require a lot of pressure (I hope) but it would be convenient to have an idea how much is too much beforehand.

What we need is a no stress, no worry hobby. So following a few basic material compatibility rules and 'winging it' usually works.
What? There are rules? :eek: ;)

Kludge and his bright nails raises a point.
...
If just making up basic little engines, don't bother, use what you have in your recycle box.

It saves a lot of stress and cash.
John, we have much the same philosophy. Everyone's "junk box" is different but they all have raw material for making things that go past the obvious at times. In my mind, the "correct" material is whatever's on hand that will do the job.

I have the nails, a bunch of spokes (as mentioned elsewhere) which appear to be mostly stainless and aluminum, brass and nickle-silver watchmaker's lathe stock, a little small steel rod of unknown origin, maybe 50 dress-making pins, some machine screws I can use if need be and an assortment of other oddments floating around. If pressed, I also have a couple wooden dowels and some bamboo & chopsticks (which also happen to be bamboo) I can add to the mix.

Absolutely none of this is hypercritical material nor are the applications. If something doesn't work quite right, the world will not stop spinning nor will it fall into the sun. I think. :)

BEst regards,

Kludge
 

Mcgyver

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Bogstandard said:
It seems funny that people will go to great lengths to use the correct grade of materials for certain jobs.
why funny? the question was about heat treating and if you use the wrong medium cracking and failing to get it to the proper hardness is a very real problem. making cutters and such is a big part of successful model engineering and when the subject is heat treating you can't just brush off the details - it really does matter to the results you get, at least in my experience

Kludge, the common nail is not a high carbon steel or tool steel so for the most part quenching isn't relevant......however believe it or not you can increase the hardness of common mild steel through a cold brine quench, or so I'm told, but i don't think to many bother and there are challenges with it. better to buy a tool steel and quench properly when you need to harden something
 
B

Bogstandard

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Mcgyver,

I do understand where you are coming from about tooling and other specialised requirements. I picked up on Kludges request on what to do with his nails

The reason I mention them now and have before (and probably will do so again) is because somewhere along the line I picked up some 20D bright common and 4D finishing nails for some unknown project and would love to put them to good use. It think there are more but they're in storage. We work with what we have and I seem to have nails.
It seems funny that people will go to great lengths to use the correct grade of materials for certain jobs
If you were making an engine that will be used for hours on end or very highly stressed, then yes, go for the 'right stuff'
I was making a point, that under the majority of circumstances, in a small engine such as that most on here make (no mention of tooling), that instead of spending hours of time and wedges of cash searching for that elusive bit of material, alternatives work just as well.

Kludge and his bright nails raises a point.

If an engine was to run a hundred hours over it's lifetime, I am sure it would not matter one iota, if say the small end pin in a piston, in a little wobbler, and a spot of oil, was either hardened silver steel or one of Kludges bright nails

Imagine a total newbie that is taking his very first steps into producing his first runner, only to be told that cylinder pivot pins should be made of such and such a grade of oil hardened silver steel. This poor builder just might say, 'Well this is not so easy, I will give up now', instead if given a bit of information as I did, he just might have a rethink and carry on. The first engine, after maybe a couple of hours running will be consigned to the workshop shelf. The modeller will then go on and on making bigger and better engines, and start to understand the meaning of stressed components and wear factors.

I am not saying that this post is very technical to old hands, but to a newbie, it may as well be quantum physics.


Surely you can't be suggesting that we split the site into newbie and old hands sections.


I was giving them a get out clause and a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.


John

 
K

Kludge

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Mcgyver said:
the question was about heat treating and if you use the wrong medium cracking and failing to get it to the proper hardness is a very real problem.

however believe it or not you can increase the hardness of common mild steel through a cold brine quench
rake60, do you have an emoticon for utter frustration for someone who doesn't have any hair to pull out?

McGyver, the point is that I do NOT know what quench to use with what kind of steel, and what harm would be done using oil with whatever steel I happen to have on hand? That "whatever steel" is an unknown in a number of cases since I haven't a clue what a good chunk of it is. My finances (Remember - VA disability pension that doesn't even come close to keeping up with inflation) don't allow me to go out and buy materials so I almost have to use what's on hand.

The fact that nails can't be helped a lot by anything but a brine quench wasn't something I knew in the past. Thank you.

making cutters and such is a big part of successful model engineering
I don't see a need to make cutters (unless you're including lathe tools which is mostly reshaping), in large part because I'll be living up (or down, dependent on point of view ;)) to my username and using what's on hand including more gears than one can comfortably count, dress maker's pins, and, of course, the nails.

better to buy a tool steel and quench properly when you need to harden something
Why? And what's a proper quench? This goes back to the original question - what kind of steel usually gets what quench and what harm will come if I just use an oil quench for everything (aside from salads & my Jeep)?

Best regards,

Kludge ... who is even more confused now than before
 

Mcgyver

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Don't feel frustrated, you're almost there...

the point is that I do NOT know what quench to use with what kind of steel,
i answered...

generally, the metallurgy of the steel determines the quench, ie O1 is an oil hardening steel. you could quench it in water but this faster quench might cause cracking whereas an air quench is so slow it won't reach the desired hardness.
the medium determines the speed and different recipes of steel react best to different quench speeds. There is a broad broad array of steels, 100's if not 1000's of them so to know what the right quench is, you need to know what the steel is. this is why mystery metal might be ok for many tasks but is less than satisfactory for heat treating. For complete beginner, they should know that only certain classes of steel can be hardened and that is generally determined the the % of carbon. high carbon and tool steels (like O1, W1 etc - drill rod for example is tool steel, often O1) are common steels you'd heat treat. Mild steels are not directly heat treatable but can be case hardened, a process where the required percent of carbon is added to outer layer via soaking a high temp bath that it pulls carbon out of.

the brine/nail quench was offered as a curiosity, not super practical as the hardening effect is minimal. Generally, you are only quenching high carbon or tool steel.....or case hardened mild steel. This is done when you specifically are trying to harden a part for some application and you would not go about quenching things you made of regular old mild steel as nothing is accomplished.

I don't see a need to make cutters
famous last words :D mostly im talking milling cutters and taps, that sort of thing. its not to avoid the cost of buying but to address specialty situations where you can't buy, or are working away on a Saturday and want a left handed tap NOW - easier to spend half an hour on it than wait and pay $50 OR you need some miniature reverse counter bore that isn;t commercially available.

anyway, you may not have encountered the need yet, but they are easy to make so keep it in mind - it expands your repertoire and gives new options to solving problems

better to buy a tool steel and quench properly when you need to harden something
So you know what you've got - if its mystery metal you don't know if it is a steel that can be hardened let along what the appropriate quench is

And what's a proper quench?
the right one for the steel -. Its usually obvious, for us backyard mechanics if you have o1, its oil for example, W1, water....but like anything it can be made complicated, special quench formulas, temps etc. mostly we'll encounter O1, W1 and A1 or high carbon steel that is generally water quenched

That "whatever steel" is an unknown in a number of cases since I haven't a clue what a good chunk of it is. My finances (Remember - VA disability pension that doesn't even come close to keeping up with inflation) don't allow me to go out and buy materials so I almost have to use what's on hand.
Kludge, look, we all use mystery metal all the time, I'm not saying you need mill certs for everything you machine....BUT the subject of the thread is what quench medium to use. Now in this thread however we're talking quenching/heat treating and here it matters - mystery metal is a non starter

It's not much a budgetary problem though - how much of what you're making is hardened? if you right now are heating up every piece of steel and quenching it you're wasting the VA pension on fuel - you only quench what you need hardened and you only harden certain kinds of steel. In the home shop this mostly means the odd cutting tool or more rarely an engine part. Mostly home shops avoid making every fixture/tool from tool steel the way industry does because most homeshops don't have the grinding facilities to deal with the hardened stuff nor the wear and tear to require it in the first place. Sooooo, its much to do about nothing - when you need something hardened use a piece of O1 drill rod and take comfort that you'll not need to do so very often

at the rist of over complicating things, The other approach to get hardened parts that works well is casehardening mild steel like using Kasenit. doesn't' get a very deep case, but it does work.

John, as you surmised, I took it that you were referring to the thread subject of quenching/heat treating.

Imagine a total newbie that is taking his very first steps into producing his first runner, only to be told that cylinder pivot pins should be made of such and such a grade of oil hardened silver steel. This poor builder just might say, 'Well this is not so easy, I will give up now', instead if given a bit of information as I did, he just might have a rethink and carry on. The first engine, after maybe a couple of hours running will be consigned to the workshop shelf. The modeller will then go on and on making bigger and better engines, and start to understand the meaning of stressed components and wear factors.
that's the core of it, we're both trying to help the newb but have different tacts on it. Your attitude seems one of making things more accessible to newbies by ploughing a lot of stuff to side - i get why this will help some and what you are trying to accomplish. I come at it from a different tact, if the plan calls for something hardened, the best thing is for one to learn how to make something hardened...and they more they pay attention to the details the better results they'll get. For most published ME designs there is a fair bit thought behind them with the author having good reasons for these choices and the process are with the home shop builder in mind.

I'd take your proffered scenario and say its nothing to learn how to heat treat those pins, the builder will gain confidence and the result will perform as expected leading a happy satisfied builder to go on to make bigger and bigger engines :D. same goal line, different game plan to get there. Its my view that none of this is hard or beyond anyone's reach, just requires a desire to learn and source of info and knowledge
 
K

Kludge

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Mcgyver said:
Don't feel frustrated, you're almost there...
*whew* ... finally!

There is a broad broad array of steels, 100's if not 1000's of them so to know what the right quench is, you need to know what the steel is.
Uh-huh. My point exactly.

this is why mystery metal might be ok for many tasks but is less than satisfactory for heat treating.
Is there any way short of a metalurgy lab, of which one I ain't got, to get it into a ball park?

For complete beginner, they should know that only certain classes of steel can be hardened and that is generally determined the the % of carbon.
WHY didn't someone say this at the beginning? I don't really care about specific alloys(honest!) just broad catagories and what I might find in them. (Among other things, this may help identify the mystery metal since I know where I got a lot of it.)

high carbon and tool steels (like O1, W1 etc - drill rod for example is tool steel, often O1) are common steels you'd heat treat.
And then the confusion sets in again. O1 and W1 I asume are oil and water quenched resectively. If I know I have a high carbon steel but don't know which it is, am I safe using the slower quench (ie, oil) in general or do some actually need to be quenched in water? If the latter, how can I tell?

Regarding making cutters:

famous last words :D mostly im talking milling cutters and taps, that sort of thing.
Kind of like the stuff I'd make by modifying other stuff?

its not to avoid the cost of buying but to address specialty situations where you can't buy, or are working away on a Saturday and want a left handed tap NOW - easier to spend half an hour on it than wait and pay $50 OR you need some miniature reverse counter bore that isn;t commercially available.
Like bottoming taps in watchmaker's sizes, of which I've seen none anywhere. I've had to make them because I wound up with something no self respecting watchmaker ever would, a blind hole. Actually several of them. (Thread into screw plate, shear off, make pretty, back out of screw plate to clean up the threads.)

it expands your repertoire and gives new options to solving problems
I don't know. My neighbors are getting used to my wandering up and down the hallway screaming "Why me? Why me?" ;D

Now in this thread however we're talking quenching/heat treating and here it matters - mystery metal is a non starter It's not much a budgetary problem though - how much of what you're making is hardened?
Not a lot, to be honest. What I have been hardening & tempering is usually some tool (pivot drills as an example) or part that I had to anneal to work with in the first place. I've always used an oil quench for this which got me to thinking if I might actually be doing something very wrong in doing so.

if you right now are heating up every piece of steel and quenching it you're wasting the VA pension on fuel
Nope. Nowhere near. And now that I know doing so with my nails is a waste of time I won't even bother trying.

I'd take your proffered scenario and say its nothing to learn how to heat treat those pins,
Dress maker's pins of which I've got a bunch? ;D

Its my view that none of this is hard or beyond anyone's reach, just requires a desire to learn and source of info and knowledge
Apparently it also requires asking the right questions. :-[

I'm slowly getting a handle on this so now it's a case of refining some information to help sort all this out.

Off topic: Is there a size restriction on pictures inserted into messages?

Best regards,

Kludge ... who might actually be getting it now!
 
B

Bogstandard

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Kludge,

With reference to picture size.

I get confused with all these things about pixel sizes, so I always make mine (if possible) X = 6", Y = 8" or smaller, and they seem to fit the page very well with no having to scroll sideways.

John
 

Mcgyver

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And then the confusion sets in again. O1 and W1 I asume are oil and water quenched resectively.
yes

If I know I have a high carbon steel but don't know which it is
high carbon steel is technically is not tool steel although it is often referred to as such.....for a deeper understanding its time to stop listening to Mcgyver and read machinery's handbook

, am I safe using the slower quench, oil) in general
well the sun will likely still come up, the risk if you quenching the wrong stuff is increased risk of cracking if too fast, not getting hard enough if too slow

or do some actually need to be quenched in water?
generally yes for the water quenching ones, W1, and i believe a lot of high carbon as well - if you're shooting to get it dead hard. maybe for a part you don't need dead hard and want to reduce cracking risk you might quench a W1 in oil, no law that says you can't....see above re cracking and failing to get dead hard

If the latter, how can I tell
?

you can't, in the small number of cases where you do need it heat quenched, buy it instead of scrounging it so you know its pedigree

 
K

Kludge

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Mcgyver said:
for a deeper understanding its time to stop listening to Mcgyver and read machinery's handbook
Wait. I was supposed to be listening? :big:

Anyway, I have it here in eBook form and I think I confused myself reading it. (I'm good at that.) So now, with a more fundamental understanding, I can go back in and try once more.

in the small number of cases where you do need it heat quenched, buy it instead of scrounging it so you know its pedigree
In the stuff for watch work, I know oil is good. It's the other stuff that had me stonkered. Now that I have some clue what I'm looking at, I can go back and resume my book learning. :)

By the way, I keep mentioning watchmaking & repair goodies. While I've never made a time piece, I've repaired a few clocks and watches, and have a small number of "throw away" Timex and dollar watches I'm going through slowly making a number of them work again. That lead me to using watch & clock parts to make other things and the lathe and other tools etc. It's a fun world to work in, especially with all the really cool bitzenpieces available.

Best regards,

Kludge, the highly less clueless
 
K

Kludge

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Bogstandard said:
I get confused with all these things about pixel sizes
Odd. I thought they were native to England along with Trolls, Gnomes (other than Garden Gnomes who seem to have an entirely different lineage) and Faeries.

so I always make mine (if possible) X = 6", Y = 8" or smaller, and they seem to fit the page very well with no having to scroll sideways.
Kewl, thanks. I do use Pixels (although their dust makes me sneeze sometimes) but having a physical size works as well.

Best regards,

Kludge
 

pelallito

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Kludge,
Mcgyver gave you great information.
If you want to get more information, the people at this link-http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showforum=26(Newbie)
or even better here-http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showforum=3 (Heat Treatment) can expand on everything he told you.
When you have a high carbon steel, first you heat it untill it becomes nonmagnetic, you let it soak at that temperature for a certain amount of time, then quench in the correct medium for the type of steel. After that you have to reheat it to a lower temperature to temper it to the correct hardness that you need it to be. That information is normally printed on the outside wrapping of oil or water hardening steel.
You can do some searches or just ask some questions.
I am looking forward to reading your posts on that site. :big: ;D
Regards,
Fred
 
K

Kludge

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pelallito said:
http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showforum=26(Newbie)
or even better here-http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showforum=3 (Heat Treatment) can expand on everything he told you.
Tagged 'em. Thanks!

I'm very familiar with the processes of annealing and hardening & tempering, it's just determining the steel I have in my grimy paw.

By the way, one advantage of the scale I work in is that I can use the flame from a "flame thrower" butane lighter or an alcohol lamp & blow pipe to get enough heat to handle that part of the problem. I don't know if that's going to have an effect on anything but I figured it wouldn't hurt to add that detail.

I am looking forward to reading your posts on that site. :big: ;D
I'm gonna noodle around a bit before I decide to join up. I'm not a knifemaker, just a very strange person who enjoys itty bitty machines. :)

Best regards,

Kludge
 
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