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scottyp74

Quick question about alloy?

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I'm making a detecting how or detecting pick. It will be used to dog up earth and cut through roots and bust through very thin layers of loose rock. 

My question is should I look at using 10xx series, spring steel or some other alloy? Im wanting to keep the cost relatively low. Any ideas.

Here are some pics of one that I have seen.

3132.jpeg

3123.jpeg

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recycled Farm disk?

10XX covers everything from dead soft mild steel---like 1001 to more brittle high carbon steels like 1095    5160 is cheap and easily found and fairly easy to work---but it doesn't work like mild steels. Do you know how to work alloy steels?

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What dimensions are you trying to achieve as well? Based on the first picture, it looks like a chunk of leaf spring would work pretty well for you. 5160 is a common alloy for leaf springs, but because it's scrap steel, the same rules apply as with other scrap. 5160 also makes good heavy use tools like axes and picks in my opinion. Just temper it appropriately. 

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If I am not mistaken, wildland firefighter tools of very similar shape and usage are made from disk harrow blades.  Good steel, readily available new or used nationwide in the US. The shape is already there, and a suitable chunk of pipe or rectangular tubing welded to it for a handle to fit in completes it.

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On 5/13/2017 at 0:10 PM, ThomasPowers said:

recycled Farm disk?

10XX covers everything from dead soft mild steel---like 1001 to more brittle high carbon steels like 1095    5160 is cheap and easily found and fairly easy to work---but it doesn't work like mild steels. Do you know how to work alloy steels?

I'm not sure i understand what you are asking. I use 5160 and work it a lot as well as 1045, 1060, 1074, 1084, and 1095. I use these steels all the time to make blades out of. I'm leaning towards the 5160. It is just tough stuff and easy to work. Also it is cheap and easy to find. I was just wondering if there was any other metals that might work that is not to costly and easy to get a hold of. It sounds like using 5160 or some high carbon 10xx series metal would work.

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A pick is going to take serious abuse you do NOT want high carbon steel, 5160 is max carbon and even then the impact zones can work harden and becoe brittle enough to chip. Flying steel chips are BAD things.

Jack hammer bits are typically a 1045 or equivalent carbon steel and they take more abuse than a mere human can administer.

I'd start with a coil spring ,1045 or a used jack hammer bit from a rental outfit. The Home Depot sells worn jack hammer bits for $5.00 but I haven't tried other places they may just toss them.

About the jack jammer bits, I have a power hammer. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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4 minutes ago, Frosty said:

A pick is going to take serious abuse you do NOT want high carbon steel, 5160 is max carbon and even then the impact zones can work harden and becoe brittle enough to chip. Flying steel chips are BAD things.

Jack hammer bits are typically a 1045 or equivalent carbon steel and they take more abuse than a mere human can administer.

I'd start with a coil spring ,1045 or a used jack hammer bit from a rental outfit. The Home Depot sells worn jack hammer bits for $5.00 but I haven't tried other places they may just toss them.

About the jack jammer bits, I have a power hammer. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

Thanks Frosty. I was wondering about 1045. I use it for hammers and abuse the mess out of them and i have never had a crack. I will try that out.

Thanks for the tips guys. I have some Disc blades as well I can try as well. 

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It's important when someone is asking about what alloy to use to know if they have experience working it. We recently had a question on a failed piece where the user had quenched in water but did not know about tempering afterwards and so the item failed catastrophically in use. Hence the question (and Hence the ongoing suggestions to people to learn some blacksmithing before going on to knifemaking!)

Having established your bona fides; I'd suggest making two: one of jackhammer bit and another of 5160 and *TEST* which one worked better in the field as well as record which was the easiest/fastest to forge.  Then decide which is the best wrt use and manufacturability!

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I'll add this to Thomas' suggestion, make the test pieces intended to determine abuse resistance lighter than the finished product so it'll show failure more quickly. No need to work harder than necessary to determine what you want and need to know.

Of course determining what stock is easiest and fastest to forge into the finished product is a whole different set of tests. Combining the two in some cases isn't unreasonable, maybe more practical.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank so much guys for the help. The customer wants me to make these and once we get a working prototype out. He wants to market them in North America, South America, Africa, and Australia. He is wanting to sell them for around $150 or so depending on what kind of handle you get put in it (Ash or Osage Orange). Along with a magnet and what not. I don't think there is going to be a way to make these for the price point. Even if it only takes me 2 hours to make it. It is going to cost him at least $100 a head for me to make them and that is if I get the start to finish down to 2 hours or so. He is saying he will be putting in orders of 50 to 150 at a time. I don't think I will be able to keep up with that kind of demand as a one man operation. What are you thoughts on this adventure.  

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Sounds to me as if he is looking for a small manufacturing facility, not a one person shop (unless he is just trying to scam you out of a prototype or two - how reputable is this guy?).

Ask yourself this: 

  1. If I get an order for several hundred of these will I end up hating blacksmithing after I'm done? 
  2. Do I have the equipment, or am I willing to purchase it and set it up on speculation, to go into limited production (and how does that coordinate with the price point for each item)?  If it were me I would likely want at least a hydraulic press for the punch and tapered swage, a big belt grinder to clean up the edges quickly, and possibly a fly press for the subtle curvature.
  3. How precise will the multiple items have to be to match the design and how good are you at working to spec?  Is he going to accept handcrafted variation or will he be looking for a more "machine" grade set of multiples?
  4. What about product liability?

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I can offer no advice regarding production. However, I would be very interested in obtaining a decent size piece of Osage Orange if you have any left (if you get this going, I wish you luck with it.) As a bowyer, I'm always looking for Osage, it's like gold. 

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The problem being is that you want Osage Orange with a very specific grain (oh that word!) and knot placement. *EASY* to source osage orange in the rough, folks use it for firewood, VERY HARD to source bow stave quality pieces.

For knife handles I like using 80+ year old fence posts.

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A note on him marketing these for the $100.-150. price range, there is one very similar being marketed now with a lifetime guarantee in the $70.- 80. Price range. Just something to think about. 

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17 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

The problem being is that you want Osage Orange with a very specific grain (oh that word!) and knot placement. *EASY* to source osage orange in the rough, folks use it for firewood, VERY HARD to source bow stave quality pieces.

Very true. And ideally from Osage you want the Heartwood for bows, one of the few woods where you do not want a combination heart and sapwood. Worth a shot though, there's few, if any growing in my area.

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Or mine right now: mesquite and cottonwood and pecan orchards are what I have locally; but when I lived in Arkansas and Oklahoma Osage orange was a "weed tree" and I've seen it over 4' thick in the trunk in Kansas...

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

 I've seen it over 4' thick in the trunk in Kansas...

:o

Looks like I need to go to Kansas....

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Those were on a very old fence line and you know how they arch over towards the ground?  Folks were camping with large tents inside the arch!  Largest ones I have ever seen.  I've rescued some "firewood" when I lived in Arkansas and split it into slabs and waxed the ends for making knife and hammer handles---my wife uses the shavings for dyeing.

It's amusing how folks use what's local and common to them---My college roommate's parents lived in an old farmhouse framed in black walnut...

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

(WOW!) ...old farmhouse framed in black walnut...

And people were complaining that I used an old piece of maple, that happened to be spalted from sitting in my yard too long, for my anvil stand. :rolleyes:

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Back in my woodworking days, my dad and I got hold of some black walnut that was (A) curly and (B) RED (it had grown over an iron deposit). The boards were cut from a 16" square beam that had been part of the frame of a Pennsylvania barn.

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Back when I lived in New Jersey our house was in a development that had been a farm once.  The New York City folk who had bought it and subdivided it were rather focused on money and didn't make the best of Neighbors.  One day I came home to find they had bulldozed the old barn and burnt it. Made me so mad I showed them the ad for a company in NJ that would have bought that barn for US$50K as it was framed with 150 year old black walnut, oak, chestnut, etc.  I salvage one 12' long 2" thick 16" wide black walnut board from the burning pile. What a waste!

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44 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Back when I lived in New Jersey our house was in a development that had been a farm once.  The New York City folk who had bought it and subdivided it were rather focused on money and didn't make the best of Neighbors.  One day I came home to find they had bulldozed the old barn and burnt it. Made me so mad I showed them the ad for a company in NJ that would have bought that barn for US$50K as it was framed with 150 year old black walnut, oak, chestnut, etc.  I salvage one 12' long 2" thick 16" wide black walnut board from the burning pile. What a waste!

People like that make me sick. There are too many old building with salvageable materials that are destroyed or left to rot just because people don't care. I salvage everything I can when I'm stripping out a house or other building.

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I have a bit of reverence for old wood because it is something that you just can't make quickly. Steel can be remelted and cast, etc. Wood is a one shot kinda deal. 

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25 minutes ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

I have a bit of reverence for old wood because it is something that you just can't make quickly. Steel can be remelted and cast, etc. Wood is a one shot kinda deal. 

Agreed, absolutely.

 

2 hours ago, Michael Cochran said:

People like that make me sick.

Also, agreed.

 

Thomas

Sounds like a lot of fun, camping under nature's tent. Can't imagine framing with black walnut though. It runs about &8 or $9 per board foot around my area. 

JHCC

Red black walnut? Yeah, I want me a piece o' that!

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2 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

I have a bit of reverence for old wood because it is something that you just can't make quickly. Steel can be remelted and cast, etc. Wood is a one shot kinda deal. 

It's not like it grows on trees? :huh:

Frosty The Lucky.

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