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Free cutting mild steel

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Glyn Davies17/06/2019 10:40:09
121 forum posts
29 photos

I want to make some grinding wheel adapters for my universal cutter grinder, which involves a lot of turning 50mm bar down to 20mm. Much of the BMS I've bought in the past does not really turn well using HSS tools on my little Myford so I'd like to get some mild steel that is truly free cutting.

Should I be asking for EN1a Leaded as being the free-est cutting BMS that money can buy?

ega17/06/2019 10:56:23
1713 forum posts
150 photos

You could follow the advice for the Quorn and use Loctite to combine the components, perhaps.

If there is a flange next to a paper "blotter" I would recommend (free-cutting) stainless steel to avoid rusting.

colin hawes17/06/2019 10:57:15
504 forum posts
18 photos

Yes....and make sure you keep the tools sharp. Colin

SillyOldDuffer17/06/2019 11:03:36
5780 forum posts
1230 photos

Simple answer is 'yes', but I suspect there may be more to it. I'd expect a little Myford and HSS to cope reasonably well with BMS. Although BMS isn't wonderful, it shouldn't be awful. Usually it's the finish that suffers.

Have to say the first time I turned Free-cutting I was delighted - it does what it says on the tin. However, if Free-cutting doesn't fix the problem, ask again. There are several reasons why a lathe might struggle other than the metal.


Martin Kyte17/06/2019 11:07:07
1842 forum posts
33 photos

GLR Kennions free cutting machines really well.


Hopper17/06/2019 11:23:31
4530 forum posts
94 photos
Posted by Glyn Davies on 17/06/2019 10:40:09:

... turning 50mm bar down to 20mm. Much of the BMS I've bought in the past does not really turn well using HSS tools on my little Myford ..

That's about six cuts of about 2.5mm deep each. Easy peasy on a Myford with HSS. Sharpen your toolbit as per LH Sparey's instructions for knife tool in "The Amateur's Lathe".

Ian S C17/06/2019 15:44:59
7468 forum posts
230 photos

I find no difficulty turning hot rolled "mild Steel"(no spec) with a fairly worn Box-Ford A using HSS or carbide tools.

Ian S C

Glyn Davies17/06/2019 17:20:06
121 forum posts
29 photos

Thanks for the replies - I'll grind a right hand knife tool with 55 degrees top rake and give it a go with whatever EN1a steel I find.

I think a 100 thou depth of cut is going to make it chug a bit though!

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