Leaded steel

Discussion in 'Metals' started by Rudy, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. Sep 20, 2017 #1

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    98
    I have access to some "leaded steel". I'm told it's easy to machine, but not weldable. Would this be an alternative to cast iron for cylinders?
     
  2. Sep 20, 2017 #2

    Charles Lamont

    Charles Lamont

    Charles Lamont

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    472
    Likes Received:
    120
    Cylinders for what?
     
  3. Sep 20, 2017 #3

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    98
    My next (seccond) project will be a Farm Boy hit and miss engine. I'm also thinking general material compatibility. If leaded steel was compatible with aluminium pistons for instance.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2017 #4

    doug11k

    doug11k

    doug11k

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rudy,
    It's fun to machine bt has little corrosion resistance. Not sure how it would react to combustion products.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2017 #5

    WOB

    WOB

    WOB

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    16
    If you are talking about 12L14 leaded steel or similar, it makes good cylinders for IC engines of all types. I have made many in the last 15 years and have had no problems.

    WOB
     
  6. Sep 20, 2017 #6

    tornitore45

    tornitore45

    tornitore45

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    76
    If coupled with an aluminum piston the piston must have cast Iron rings.
    The piston should have enough clearance to have a sliding fit (about 1/1000 per inch diameter) after accounting for the differential expansion.

    Aluminum 21-25 ppm/*C
    Steel 15 ppm/*C
     
  7. Sep 21, 2017 #7

    pickleford75

    pickleford75

    pickleford75

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    46
    12L14 leaded is very acceptable for IC cylinders.... that what is specified in Lee Hodgens radials which use 2024 aluminum for pistons
     
  8. Sep 21, 2017 #8

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    98
    Thanks guys. This is really usefull information.
     
  9. Sep 22, 2017 #9

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

    Wizard69

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    212
    Consider yourself lucky! Leaded steel is well known for good machining characteristics thus is used widely where better grades of steel are not needed.
     
  10. Sep 22, 2017 #10

    tornitore45

    tornitore45

    tornitore45

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Messages:
    461
    Likes Received:
    76
    Leaded steel easily finish to mirror, to me it feels "slippery" like lubricated in line with the fact that the chip slide easily over the tool edge. This property makes if desirable for cylinders BUT it rust as you look at it which makes it undesirable unless is kept coated with oil, most probable with an internal combustion engine.
     
  11. Apr 19, 2018 #11

    Engineeringtech

    Engineeringtech

    Engineeringtech

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    5
    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?
     
  12. Apr 19, 2018 #12

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Rudy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    98
    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.
    Rudy

    2017-11-24 20.12.35.jpg
     
  13. Apr 19, 2018 #13

    werowance

    werowance

    werowance

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    102
    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.
     
  14. Apr 20, 2018 #14

    jayville

    jayville

    jayville

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    15
    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
     
  15. Apr 20, 2018 #15

    kiwi2

    kiwi2

    kiwi2

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    75
    Hi,
    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.
    Regards,
    Alan
     
  16. Apr 20, 2018 #16

    Engineeringtech

    Engineeringtech

    Engineeringtech

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    5
    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.
     
    Rudy likes this.
  17. Apr 21, 2018 #17

    Herbiev

    Herbiev

    Herbiev

    Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    2,286
    Likes Received:
    289
    I always use leaded steel for anything requiring machining A real pleasure to work with
     

Share This Page