Sign in to follow this  
Patrick Kerns

Breaking down an axel shaft with minimal tools

Recommended Posts

Hello! Just picked up two F150 axel shafts today at my local pick and pull. My question is how to best go about breaking them down into usable lengths. My current plan is to anneal the shaft near the plate at the end and then hacksaw it off, then anneal the rest of the shaft and cut lengths on an as-needed basis. Any advice would be helpful. I have minimal tools at this point but hope to be making a fair number of hardie tools/chisels/hammers out of the axel shaft. I've calculated it out and the price I paid works out to about 1$ per pound for the round stock of what is probably 4340

.20150829_100336.thumb.jpg.566e4a3066edab

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zip wheel on a 4 1/2" grinder comes to mind. If you are going to do much metal work, a 4 1/2" grinder is almost a necessity.   Just grind most of the way thru all the way around. Abrasive chop saw would be a 2nd thought if you have one, that or an OA torch. Other options, sawzall, portaband, abrasive wheel in a circular saw, push comes to shove metal blade in a jig saw.

If you forge your hot cut 1st, you could then heat and hot cut the rest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings Pat, 

Why don't you just cut off the flange than forge your hammers and cut off tools than cut them off.. Much easier than tongs.  

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've got a place here called Northern Tool and Equipment.  I don't know if they're a big place, or if they're around your parts...  Anyhow, I went in there and got a 4" angle grinder for 20 bucks.  1/16th inch metal cutoff wheels are 1-2 dollars each.  Probably my favorite tool so far.  It's helped me quite a lot. I get my steel from the steel yard in town...it's a pain to try and hold a 10' (cut in half already to transport) piece of metal in the forge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hack saw. It's not Hard, it's heat treated to be tough. A 12tpi blade will go through it in under 5 minutes with good technique.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where do you find 12tpi hand hacsaw blades?! 18 is a fine as I find unless I go to mechanicals and they are hard to find. Not everyone makes up their own like TP

Hot set and hot cut hardy. Cutting off the flange requires a big fire and two peaple, one turns the axle wile holfing the hot set and the other swings the sledge. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the advice!

Frosty, when you say it's heat treated to be tough do you mean it was hardened and then had a lot of tempering done on it? Will let you guys know how the muscle building goes :) Also I have a sawzall for backup!

Also, what do you guys do with the flanges - seems like they would have some usefulness as a base for something. Oh snap, I think I just figured out what I'm using for a tuyere grate.

Edited by Patrick Kerns

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Took a crack at the axel with both a hacksaw and a metal cutting bladed sawzall - no love. Will probably take it with me to the guild meet and see if anyone is willing to help me hot cut off the flanges at one of the guild forges in exchange for me doing some striking for them, or for a chunk of axel!

Edited by Patrick Kerns

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have no hot cuts at all and a hack saw didn't work try and find someone with a AO torch. should take about 1 minute per cut at the longest. the AO cut will leave slag and burnt metal that needs to be ground away and that will take more time that the cutting:wacko:.

since you have found yourself in this position I think the first thing you need to make IS a hardie hot cut! look up the videos of Brian Brazil making them.  I made one out of a axel and used it in Nicaragua along with a wood burning forge to cut up another axel to make a drift pin out of, and cut a lot of leaf spring with it.

 

 

Russell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Morning,

I was wondering how long it would take you to get away from the keyboard and actually try something.;);)  The splined end of the axles have been hardened, so as not to wear the splines with normal use. You must heat up the splined end and let it cool naturally to anneal it, then you can use your hacksaw. The axle just taught you a lesson!!

I use a chop saw and it cuts better when the steel is hot.

Use the axle to make some tools, you need more tools!! No excuse to say "I don't have a .............", you now have the material. Use the flange end to make a flatter, weld up the center of the end, cut the flange square as large as you can, punch a hole for a handle (you have the material to make all the tools necessary).

Neil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got 12 tpi hack saw blades at the local hardware store, Sandvics as I recall. the rule of thumb is 3 teeth on the cut at all times and it's really HARD to find blades coarse enough to be efficient.

The 3 tooth rule is of limited use for a hand saw we're just not physically strong enough to push say a 3tpi blade through 1" steel. The problem is folk think finer is better but it's just not true.Too fine is worse than too coarse, the cuttings can't be carried out of the cut and roll up between the teeth, bind gall and you're done. If it happens in your band saw or power hack saw you may not be able to get the blade out at all. If the blade is too coarse just turn the feed rate down to a crawl, you can hear when it's cutting right or hogging too hard. You gotta listen to what your tools tell you.

The best I've found for my horizontal vertical band saw are 12-14 tpi variable blades. I still have the pack of 12 tpi hack saw blades I bought I don't know how long ago. I have a band saw so don't use my hand saw as much as I used to.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think annealing/normalizing it would soften it up, though I'm certainly far from an expert.

Portaband is an essential tool, IMHO. You'll probably be getting one eventually, anyway. Milwaukee is the way to go. I use mine constantly.

Absent that, a 4-1/2" angle grinder with a cutoff wheel should go through it fairly fast, whether or not it's too hard for a hacksaw. Angle grinder's another essential tool, and you can get cheap ones at HFT for about $12 ... and they last a lot longer than 1/8 as long as one of the name brands that cost 8X as much (they even include replacement brushes!)

Edited by Crunch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you didn't anneal it first, the bearing area as Charles said is going to be the hardest part to cut. Try about 1/2" away from that. May go much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And for Charle's reference:  I take bandsaw blades and cut them into hacksaw blades and mount them into bow saws---a 30" hacksaw can be quite handy!

Cur from the backside of the blade and let the hardened edge break off and I punch the holes in the softer area---I punch a bit closer than the wood saw blades have them so they tension a bit more when I install them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And for Charle's reference:  I take bandsaw blades and cut them into hacksaw blades and mount them into bow saws---a 30" hacksaw can be quite handy!

Cur from the backside of the blade and let the hardened edge break off and I punch the holes in the softer area---I punch a bit closer than the wood saw blades have them so they tension a bit more when I install them.

^^mind blown. Nice one TP. 

 

With regards to the axle surely 5 minutes and a metal cutting disc on an angle grinder would be the way to go? But as has been said you'd be better off leaving it long to handle it while forging. 

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I take bandsaw blades and cut them into hacksaw blades and mount them into bow saws---a 30" hacksaw can be quite handy!

I made one of these bow hack saws they work great, I keep it in the car just in case,  also carry the saw blade for wood with it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

test

The axle is 1045H. I worked in the shop that made those for 3 years.The axle is uniformly hardened into a case and core hardness from the splines down to the flange. I cut them with a bimetal bandsaw all the time. The case stars at the surface and declines as you reach the center.

If heat treating do not hold longer than to get a uniform heat and quench in oil. Temper within 45 minutes, as quench cracking can occur if not tempered before 45 minutes. A water quench is a crack nightmare. This steel makes good hammers and hot cuts.

If an axle is 1 3/8" diameter in the unforged shaft it is 1045H and if bigger say from a dump truck or semi than 1541H. Big rubber tire loader with say 3" shafts are usually 4140.

The splines and bearing area are the same hardness as the shaft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ptree comes through in a big way!  :D

Big axles are hard to come by around here, but standard truck axles are a dime a dozen.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a couple of photo's of the BFH team's trvel anvil, a 252# Axle forging. This is an as forged, not machined 4140 axle shaft. The flange was undersize and so scrapped. My big striking anvil looks much the same but is 454# and is taller so the flange is burried some to bring the top down to the right height.  Our team has forged 9 of these big split crosses from 3" square, a couple of carved wizards from 3" square and recently a boat anchor from 2" round bar. This axle shaft anvil rings loudly. The top although not heat treated has not mushroomed under the steady assault of as many as 4 strikers, although errant blows have dented it occasionally. We have traveld to Pontiac Ill. , Tipton Indiana and Cannelton Indiana as well as Jeffersonville indiana twice to demonstrate with this anvil.

Finished split cross.JPG

Tipton cross team resized.jpg

100_3854.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this