Leaded steel

Help Support HMEM:

Rudy

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
245
Reaction score
178
Location
Norway
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?
 

Rudy

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
245
Reaction score
178
Location
Norway
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.
 

doug11k

New Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Rudy,
It's fun to machine bt has little corrosion resistance. Not sure how it would react to combustion products.
 

WOB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2013
Messages
198
Reaction score
38
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
 

tornitore45

Well-Known Member
HMEM Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
841
Reaction score
135
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
 

pickleford75

Active Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2015
Messages
38
Reaction score
46
12L14 leaded is very acceptable for IC cylinders.... that what is specified in Lee Hodgens radials which use 2024 aluminum for pistons
 

Rudy

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
245
Reaction score
178
Location
Norway
Thanks guys. This is really usefull information.
 

Wizard69

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2013
Messages
1,356
Reaction score
270
Consider yourself lucky! Leaded steel is well known for good machining characteristics thus is used widely where better grades of steel are not needed.
 

tornitore45

Well-Known Member
HMEM Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
841
Reaction score
135
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.
 

Engineeringtech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
60
Reaction score
6
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?
 

Rudy

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
245
Reaction score
178
Location
Norway
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
 

werowance

Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
865
Reaction score
211
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.
 

jayville

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2014
Messages
69
Reaction score
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
 

kiwi2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
251
Reaction score
85
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
 

Engineeringtech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
60
Reaction score
6
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.
 

Herbiev

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Global Moderator
Joined
Jan 6, 2011
Messages
2,356
Reaction score
306
I always use leaded steel for anything requiring machining A real pleasure to work with
 

Engineeringtech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
60
Reaction score
6
Just for the reference... If you are concerned about the lead in leaded steel, you can get 12T14, a free machining steel with tin in it. Very hard to find though. I got a sample years ago. Was from a company in Canada I believe.
 

Shopgeezer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
141
Reaction score
11
Location
Canada
What constitutes “stressproof” steel? Is it an alloy or a temper? Is it also leaded? Our old instructor would use nothing but “stress” for projects and considered only one version of it the best. It was only available from one place in the US.
 

Cogsy

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Global Moderator
Joined
Jul 30, 2012
Messages
2,731
Reaction score
786
Location
Perth, Western Australia
The only stressproof I'm aware of is an 1144 alloy but I believe it is also tempered. So (as far as I know) not all 1144 is stressproof but all stressproof is 1144. The actual term 'stressproof' might even be a trademark on a particular alloy from one manufacturer. Last time I looked it was not available in Australia, but it is fantastic stuff to machine.
 
2

Latest posts

Group Builder
Top