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Brass Durability

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Johan Crous31/01/2013 20:01:16
38 forum posts
1 photos

I have seen countless examples where aluminium was used in stead of steel and it worked. Not so hard but working.

I have now seen this web page : **LINK**

The owner is using Brass (although more expensive, it is possibly more durable)
Take for example a brass tap. The mechanism is rubbing against each other for very long years and it still last.

Here he made tool holders for a QCTP: **LINK**

Here parts of the T & C Grinder: **LINK**

Parts of this grinding rest: **LINK**


A lot here: **LINK**

Boring Head: **LINK**

Advanced grinding rest: **LINK**

I just want to know what is your opinion on the use of brass. It will machine easily on my mini mill. I just don't know how durable / hard it is.

Will I be able to cast in brass?

David Littlewood31/01/2013 20:08:51
533 forum posts


There are hundreds of varieties of brass, with a very wide range of properties. Some of them have a tensile strength higher than mild steel; some are better than others for casting. A quick Google search threw up this useful looking resource:


I'm sure a more careful search would throw up many other informative sources.

Hope that may help.


Michael Gilligan31/01/2013 21:05:10
16352 forum posts
712 photos


Many of the "Ornamental Turning" lathes, such as Holtzapffel, made extensive use of Brass for slideways, etc.

However; as David says, there are many grades of Brass; so there is no easy answer.

As for DIY casting ... please take care.

If I understand correctly; very little Brass Casting is now done in this Country -- simply because of the related Health problems. (I will see if I can find some detail, and post later)



This thread is worth reading.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 31/01/2013 21:11:49

Stub Mandrel01/02/2013 21:06:52
4311 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles

I made a gib strip out of brass I had bought to make free-hobbed gears from. It was so hard the first gear came out one tooth short, and the second one tooth extra, I gave up and got some engraving brass hich was fine for gears.

As I say the hard brass went into a gib strip - it was amazingly difficult stuff to work, but I was able to preserve the mirror finish on the bearing surface, which I then finished by flatting it with very fine abrasive paper. the result was silky smooth in use and has shownno visible wear.


Ian S C02/02/2013 10:26:03
7468 forum posts
230 photos

One of the main problems is the cost of brass over as a block of hot rolled steel.

Brass is (well it was a yr or so ago) cast in Christchurch, although I had to change foundries, as the one I used to use now only does ferrous castings. Every yr or two I get a hundred or so Horse Brasses cast for the souvenir shop at our museum. I made 8 patterns. Ian S C

Versaboss02/02/2013 12:11:54
458 forum posts
51 photos

If it looks like brass but is d@mn hard it could well be Aluminium Bronze. The colour is almost the same. I once gave up drilling a 3 mm hole in this stuff (yes I used a good drill...)

Greetings, Hansrudolf

Stub Mandrel02/02/2013 19:44:42
4311 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles

Hi Hansrudolf,

Not so much hard, as nasty to work - it grabs toolbits and repels all but brand new files.

It was 1/4" thick CZ108 from CES, I re-ordered the leaded engariving brass CZ120 which was much easier to work.


Gordon W03/02/2013 10:30:39
2011 forum posts

While clearing up in the w/shop I found a few old nozzles from oxy-acetaline and oxy-propane cutters. They look like bronze of some sort, does anyone know what? IE will they be any use for ,say, bearing bushes ? Or do I just weigh em in?

Les Jones 103/02/2013 11:06:34
2161 forum posts
149 photos

Hi Gordon,
All the cutting tips I have seen have been made from copper.


Gordon W03/02/2013 14:54:48
2011 forum posts

Thanks Les, I've cleaned one up and you are right, of course, the burning does put a nice colour on tho'. They'll come in for something.

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