mystery metal

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Russ Hanscom
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mystery metal

Post by Russ Hanscom » Mon May 03, 2021 8:46 pm

I need some 4” dia disks for blanks for some gears I want to make. A piece of 4” dia x 24” long stock from a shaft from an old machine seemed like an ideal candidate. The shaft is 100+ years old, I know the machine it came out of, and I expected to find mild steel or wrought iron. The shaft had an integral eccentric on one end and a large gear keyed to the other; it served as the drive for a high pressure reciprocating pump.

Surprise when I started sawing off a section and the chips looked like cast iron, and the black powder with the chips acts like graphite. When the piece parted off, the break also looked like cast iron and not wrought iron or mild steel.

Actually cast iron will be ideal for the gears, I just did not expect to find cast iron used in a shaft application.
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mcostello
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Re: mystery metal

Post by mcostello » Mon May 03, 2021 9:03 pm

Anything will work until it doesn't.

Harold_V
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Re: mystery metal

Post by Harold_V » Tue May 04, 2021 3:36 am

Yep! Amazing where one finds cast iron. Even today! Many auto engines use cast iron cams, and crank shafts are generally cast, although from ductile iron, not gray. Those two are almost identical, chemically, but ductile generally has far greater tensile strength, and, it's "ductile", so it's not brittle the way cast iron is.

H
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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: mystery metal

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Tue May 04, 2021 1:44 pm

Harold_V wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 3:36 am
Many auto engines use cast iron cams, and crank shafts are generally cast, although from ductile iron, not gray.
The Ford flathead V-8 used a ductile iron crank, which "feature" along with having only three main bearings, occasionally was the engine's undoing when hot-rodded. Don't ask me how I know. :D
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Harold_V
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Re: mystery metal

Post by Harold_V » Tue May 04, 2021 2:06 pm

Hmmm. Depending on the year, I suspect that the flathead wasn't ductile, but gray iron (which fits the description to which you alluded). Ductile iron was developed, quite by accident, in 1943, while the Ford flathead V-8 engine was introduced to the world in '32, if I'm not mistaken. Ford was slow to adapt the overhead valve design, so it is possible that later engines (after WW II) of flathead design may have been ductile. Dunno.

H

Edit: Reference to the material type is often nodular, not ductile. Same animal.
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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: mystery metal

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Wed May 05, 2021 12:09 am

Harold_V wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 2:06 pm
Hmmm. Depending on the year, I suspect that the flathead wasn't ductile, but gray iron (which fits the description to which you alluded). Ductile iron was developed, quite by accident, in 1943, while the Ford flathead V-8 engine was introduced to the world in '32, if I'm not mistaken. Ford was slow to adapt the overhead valve design, so it is possible that later engines (after WW II) of flathead design may have been ductile. Dunno.

H

Edit: Reference to the material type is often nodular, not ductile. Same animal.
Your history is right—the flathead predated ductile iron by more than a decade. However, I do know the post-war cranks were more rugged, indicating a change in metallurgy. Regardless, the three main bearing design was doomed to failure if the engine was pushed too hard. I recall seeing more than one flathead at the drag strip with the oil pan on the pavement, and the crank and main bearing caps in the pan.
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liveaboard
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Re: mystery metal

Post by liveaboard » Wed May 05, 2021 12:58 pm

I guy I knew in India who had a 1943 convertible ford with a flathead V8.
His battery was faulty, but with the low compression he just started it with the optional hand crank.
.
Apparently, only a dozen were made during the war, special order for diplomatic service gifts (aka, bribes).

I remember how smooth it ran, and quiet too. That was around 1985 or 1990. I wonder where it is now...

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: mystery metal

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Thu May 06, 2021 4:47 am

liveaboard wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 12:58 pm
I guy I knew in India who had a 1943 convertible ford with a flathead V8.
His battery was faulty, but with the low compression he just started it with the optional hand crank.
.
Apparently, only a dozen were made during the war, special order for diplomatic service gifts (aka, bribes).

I remember how smooth it ran, and quiet too. That was around 1985 or 1990. I wonder where it is now...
Given the rarity of that car, it would be worth a fortune to a collector, provided it was still in reasonable shape.
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liveaboard
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Re: mystery metal

Post by liveaboard » Thu May 06, 2021 6:26 am

As I recall, the Ford was in amazing shape; even the rag top was intact. It had been garaged for decades.
But it wasn't possible to legally export it from India unless a certificate of no objection was issued by the classic car club.
Otherwise it would have returned to the US long before.

The rich in India had (have) their own culture, and part of that was never selling anything. When they bought a new car, the old one would be parked in a shed or garage.
I had a 1965 Chevy Impala that I bought to impress a girl with (it worked too!), that gave me an in. I've seen one of those garages; like an urban myth, rows of classic cars covered with dust.
It's very rare to see any on the roads, because gasoline is crazy expensive and culture dictated that anyone who would waste their money putting it in a car like that is dumb.
But I saw a few.
In a Bombay traffic jam, an antique Rolls was stuck alongside us. Cool.
I met a guy with a 1962 Impala, that was really pretty, unlike my square box 1965.
I knew a guy who had a 50's oldsmobile, fantastic classic bomb with little chrome rocket motifs on it. He took out the big block V8 and dropped in a 4 cylinder diesel. Top speed was 40 or 50mph, but it was cheap to drive. The V8 was on the floor of his garage; he told me it had hardly been used.

Rich people in India didn't drive themselves back then, even middle class people would have a driver, because if you had an accident (which was likely), the driver gets held by police until everyone is paid off. If you have a disposable person, they don't charge much.
But if a wealthy person was driving they can milk him / her dry.
That's what they do for a living. It's expected.

I don't know what happened to the Ford; I think he resold in inside the country.

After totally rebuilding the V8 and replacing all the suspension parts, I sold the Chevy.
New owner had an accident the next day; they milked him dry.

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