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Old gear

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Derek Lane18/09/2021 20:51:29
524 forum posts
96 photos

Whilst I have been reinstating my workshop and finding homes for many bits and pieces as well as my new toys which will be arriving on Tuesday I found this old gear which is nothing to do with anything I have.

As can be seen it is a nice size for possible use as a small engine flywheel would I be correct in this' It looks like Brass rather than a bronze type metal (I have an old gear which I know is bronze to compare it to)

I know that many say try and use known metals from a reliable source but this just seems too good to throw in the scrap bin

Nigel Graham 218/09/2021 21:16:05
1706 forum posts
20 photos

It might be Aluminium-bronze or similar, which does look more brassy than bronzed. A metal suited particularly to marine equipment.

SillyOldDuffer18/09/2021 21:38:27
7550 forum posts
1680 photos

Posted by Derek Lane on 18/09/2021 20:51:29:


I know that many say try and use known metals from a reliable source but this just seems too good to throw in the scrap bin

I'm against beginners trying to learn on random scrap because it's so hard to tell if any resulting problems are due to them, the lathe, or the material. New boy abandons fun hobby on day two because his new mini-lathe run at the wrong speed fails to cut a nasty lump of scrap work-hardening stainless steel!

As gearwheels have a hard life, it's quite likely the metal is tough as old boots. So don't blame the lathe or yourself if the gear turns out to be nasty hard stuff that won't cut properly. May be necessary to experiment. In this case there's nothing to be lost by trying. Go for it!


Trevor Drabble18/09/2021 22:00:35
261 forum posts
5 photos

Before you go anywhere near a lathe with this gear , suggest you undertake a spark test on it first in order to give you some indication of workability . Trevor

Clive Hartland18/09/2021 22:08:49
2724 forum posts
40 photos

This gear is stated to be bronze or Non ferrous, spark test how?

John Olsen18/09/2021 22:22:38
1196 forum posts
92 photos
1 articles

Try it with a magnet first. Obviously if it really is bronze or brass there won't be any suck, however this looks a bit like a couple of gears I have in a drawer. They were spare primary drive gears for some sort of two stroke motorcycle engine that I picked up at a surplus shop. Mine are steel, but as is sometimes done they had been copper plated. This is done selectively to allow nitriding only the surfaces that need to be hard. So the teeth would not have been plated, and would get the hardlayer, while the rest of the material would remain in its normal state. Which is still likely to be fairly tough. The plating typically seems to end up going black, but apparently is enough to stop the nitrogen reaching the steel underneath.

I've seen connecting rods treated the same way, so the eye where the rollers ran on the crankshaft would be hardened while the body of the rod would not.


Derek Lane18/09/2021 22:24:34
524 forum posts
96 photos

Thank you all. I will not be attempting to turn it yet if it is any good, this was just to see if it was worth keeping for the suggested idea.

I will have to investigate further to see if I can narrow down the metal type. I have in the past quite a few years ago done some turning other than woodturning

JasonB19/09/2021 07:32:40
21435 forum posts
2448 photos
1 articles

The large bore compared to the OD means you would have to turn away the hub and fit something less bulky and with a smaller bore if you wanted it to look reasonable as a small flywheel but it could be put to that use. If not worried about looks then a simple bush to reduce the bore would work.

not done it yet19/09/2021 10:34:35
6322 forum posts
20 photos

If teeth can’t be removed easily by a cutter in the lathe, they could be ground off….

Where there is a will, there is a way…. as they say.

Bazyle19/09/2021 23:29:16
6038 forum posts
220 photos

Leave the teeth on to one day drive something or be driven by a concealed electric motor for display. Put a bush in the hole, You are hardly going to be making a precision replica of some old engine with it. Leaving the gear itself unmolested means if necessary you can use it as a gear in something else if the planned engine doesn't work out or you find a more appropriate bit of scrap to make a replacement with.

not done it yet20/09/2021 07:57:44
6322 forum posts
20 photos

Might be worth posting the DP or MOD, along with the tooth count. It might be valuable commodity for someone as a potential change wheel or something.

Nigel Graham 220/09/2021 09:35:52
1706 forum posts
20 photos

I think for the work and electricity involved trying to modify a gear of unknown metal and machineability, you'd be far better off making the item from a blank of new, or at least known, mild-steel or cast-iron.

You could keep it in case you need a gear of that size etc., but there is a limit to "come-in-handy" collections, and as NDIY says, you'be be better measuring it and offering it to anyone who can use it.

Journeyman20/09/2021 10:04:01
1033 forum posts
199 photos

Definitely a 'keeper' don't use it for your first engine build but think 'Steam Punk' and it would make an interesting flywheel as is (bushed as necessary) for a home brew engine. Think positive, whatever the material it will machinable one way or another!


Derek Lane20/09/2021 11:08:07
524 forum posts
96 photos

Thank you for all your thoughts I did a file test yesterday and the metal does file easy as well as looking like it is brass.

I would not be able to turn it yet for the simple fact that at the moment I am without a lathe. BUT the good news is that tomorrow everything will change as my new toys are arriving so I am looking forward to making some very simple projects. Space is ready for them and help is also arranged just need some finishing in the workshop so that I can not only start some projects but also be able to finish some woodworking jobs I need to do.

Even at 60+ I still can get excited when new toys arrive am I alone in this feeling

Nicholas Farr20/09/2021 11:59:39
2987 forum posts
1352 photos

Hi Derek, nothing wrong with getting excited at any age, what ever floats your boat etc. doesn't matter what anyone else thinks and I hope you enjoy your ventures with your new toys.

Regards Nick.

Ebenezer Good22/09/2021 19:10:37
17 forum posts
2 photos

Nice bit of stock for something, rotary table project springs to mind, nice lump for the worm wheel.

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