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Steel Composition of Hydrualic Pistons?

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Most are pretty mild steel for toughness, a few are as high as 1045+ but are special applications.

Sanding the chrome off isn't quite as bad for you as burning it off but it's still exposing yourself to serious carcinogenics.

If you have access to a metal lathe just hog it off with a 15-20,000ths cut. Typically it's just the rod that's chromed but there are exceptions.

The piston itself is typically mild as are the cylinders though the cylincers are typically DOM (Drawn Over Mandrel) mechanical tubing, NOT black pipe.


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I was given two pieces of hydraulic cylinder from a machine shop here in Baton Rouge, LA. Both pieces were chromed and were 1050. I looked at the paperwork the lady had when they were ordered. So, 1045 is pretty close. Of course, it does not mean all cylinders are 1045 or 1050. But hope this information can help you.

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Just my $0.02:
We serviced a lot of cylinders where I started my apprenticeship. In spite of this I can't offer much advice. We kept chromed rod in stock. The machinist would use a torch to draw out any hardness where he would cut the stock to length with a bandsaw. My only involvement was to attach the ends to the cylinder rods and the procedure was simple: enough preheat to drive off any moisture and weld with 7018....and Lord help you got any spatter on the chrome...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been wondering some of the same things. Particularly the alloy. And did some research before forging.

I have a long 7' x 2" hydraulic piston, that I am slowly turning into useful things. I have found that the chrome will flake off during forging or grinding. The chrome didn't burn or oxidize or anything, and I kept the forging only to bright orange. Forges well. Very hard to cut with abrasive wheel.

I didn't worry about chrome burning because it melts at 3465F or boil until 4840F. Both temps much higher than steel melting or forging temps. Also chromium is not known for rapid oxidation, think about stainless steel, doesn't rust. ALso nickel, often plated under chrome, melts at 2651F and boils at 5275F. Also not known for rapid oxidation ( also in stainless steel)

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