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I Forge Iron

Water based machine tool coolant for quench

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I'm just barely getting started down the forge road.

Plan on finishing my makeshift anvil tonight. Making a 55 forge (actually a 30 forge..lol) this weekend.

I'm trying to do everything with minimal expense.

Anyway..my real question today is..

Would water based machine tool coolant/cutting fluid work well as a quench for "cheap" steels like 1075?

My company actually makes the stuff and I could get a few gallons of concentrate for about nothing.

My thought is it must be slower than water though not as slow as canola (which is my next best cheap quench from what I've read) and it's not going to flare up.

The main components of the coolant is water, some water soluble oils, soap, and some sodium nitrite. 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thank you



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yes it is..lol

Fact is we have a few companies that swear by it and have been using it for years.

Basically, the previous maker died, his kids wanted nothing to do with the very small company and sold it to the company I work at for a reasonable price.

It is just a very tiny side to the company. Literally only make about 55 gals of it a year....sometimes less.

...it's almost done as a favor to the buyers of the stuff...lol

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You may be correct about experimenting.

....though at my level of ZERO experience I don't even know how to tell if it works good or not.

Sure I can see if the metal gets hard by running a file over it, try to break it etc...but that's about it with my limited knowledge...lol

Just part of the fun I guess!

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3 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Well if you lived in the USA you could connect with your local ABANA affiliate and try to find some more skilled people to work with in testing it.

If you are on Chiron Beta Prime then you are out of luck...

I hear the weather on the southern continents are lovely this time of year. :) 

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As a machinist I would recommend no less than a 100% solution of soluble oil, since it is thin to begin with and should not be used on mills due to it's thermal shock to the tool.  In years by gone machinists (myself included) used cutting OIL to cool tools and remove chips from mill and lathe operations (broaches etc as well), but in today's terms "coolant" is a mix of water soluble oils and water which are NOT recommended for any tool with intermittent or significant thermal cycling.  In a machine shop this means no use on interrupted lathe cuts or any milling tools due to the heat cool cycling since "coolant e.g. 3-5% oil 95-97%" water causes thermal cracking.  Coolant has excellent heat dissipation rates which as I understand it would be good for W class steels but risks fracturing most other steels like 1xxx, O, S, A, or L class steels since their desired dissipation far lower than that of water.

My personal trials quenching in up to 50% (I ran out of volume in a 5 gallon bucket) was that coolant is good for W steels OK for <1045 and hard on >1045 (test 5160, 1095, d2, s7, a2).  

Can anyone remind me of the term I am thinking of for the span of time a super heated object is inserted into a quenchant prior to the vaporization phase? I think that is the proper placement for the phase beginning with L?

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On 10/10/2017 at 8:37 PM, ThomasPowers said:

I want a true cybernetic pancreas!

I'm a Pharmacist who works mainly with diabetics, and there is one in the making... an implantable device with live beta cells in a matrix, actually responds to and adjusts according to endogenous insulin and blood glucose levels.  I believe the expected lifespan of the implantable device is estimated at 5-7 years? It's been a while since I read about the project, but its in the works!

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"The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day." nunc, nunc, nunc

I've also read about the work being done with a two reservoir pump: insulin and glucogen with a CGMS to indicate which one is needed.

Either way I turn 60 this year and so unlikely to get either one save on a trial basis.  I'm just to sweet for my own good!  (listens for the sounds of hundreds of smiths choking...)

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