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HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.


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  #1  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:57:06 PM
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Gene O. Carpenter Gene O. Carpenter is offline
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Default HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

I searched for and found the 2 threads on drilling hardened steel and know what to do now! BUT I have a question! The washer in question is unplated, 5/8 bore, 2 1/2 daimeter and 1/8" thick.. Why would this washer be hardened? Are all washers hardened? It doesn't look like the standard "stamp pressed"washer that would normally be found in the neighborhood hardware store.

Also in the threads the members were talking about the hardning process and Rockwell Hardness testing...Years ago,1960 or so, we had an older neighbor( I was just a 24 year old snot nosed kid then) who was one hell of a nice guy! He would take a can of Arsnic, a torch, sharpen a scratch awl or whatever, heat the item to cherry red and plunge it into the Arsnic..He would then touch the item to a grinder look at the sparks and do it again til the color of the sparks met his approval..He could also make a lathe or milling machine "sing"!

"Red" unfortunately passed on to that great machine shop in the sky before I could pick up much of his vast knowlege.The 1st thing he taught me was to look at the project at hand , figure 3 ways to do it and then do it the easiest of the 3 ...I wish he was still around , he would be in his glory with my Stover and Hercules engines.
Thank you..
Gene O.
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Old 03-09-2005, 11:44:38 PM
Chuck Woycke Chuck Woycke is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

gene. most hardened steel washers are called thrust washers they are used in machinery to take up space.like a rear end in a car to shim up the ring pinnion gear.the reason they are hardened so they will not wear.out.you can not drill then out.you can use a grinder to enlarge them to the size you want or i have not tried this but a friend like red told me to soften harderened steel you heat it to cherry red and put it in powered limestone untill it cooles after you machine it you can harden it by heating it up again an quening it in oil.maybe someone can add to this
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Old 03-10-2005, 07:40:15 AM
bimjy bimjy is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

Don't know about this process, but was wondering, could you get a soft washer the correct size and then harden it with the red hot heat and oil method?
Jim Hunter
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:23:29 AM
Harvey Teal Harvey Teal is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

What is the washer used for, Gene?
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:53:53 PM
Dave Hyatt Dave Hyatt is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

The washers you buy in a hardware store are not hardened, they are soft. Hardened washers are made to a specific standard per the ASTM. When you have a mechanical joint held by a bolt and nut or by a hex head cap screw, the bolt/screw must be torqued properly. You cannot torque fasteners incorporating lockwashers (split, hi-collar or toothed) as lockwashers cannot be torqued or they will break.

For that reason, hardened washers are used in their place. A soft washer would be too soft and compress, then the bolt tension would become loose. A lock washer would break. So a hardened flat washer is used. It can take great tension and it does not compress a bit. Torque a bolt/screw today and over the coarse of time it will not lose tension because of breakage or compression. In manufacturing, you will typically see hardened washers used whenever bolts are to be torqued when installed. That rule doesn't always follow the automotive industry because they use lockwashers on everything and call out torque values, but that's because they have been doing it that way for 100 years. So the car industry is not a good example of how to use fasteners.

An HSS (high speed steel) drill bit may be too soft to drill a hardened washer. Try a drill bit with either 5% or 10 % cobalt. You can usually get these at a hardware store, Sears, Graingers or tool supply store. A TiN or Titanium Nitride coated drill bit would be the next step after cobalt, though it's only a coating a couple microns thick. Once the coating is gone or you resharpen the drill, the strength is gone. Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:19:04 PM
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Mike Monnier Mike Monnier is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

In response to the question of hardening a soft washer, it can be done, but probably not in your garage. Most washers are probably made from 1010 or 1018 steel because it can be stamped easily. Unfortunately, what makes it easy to stamp makes it difficult to heat treat. It does not have enough carbon in the chemistry to make it hard. All you can do is case harden the material. This done by packing it in a mix of bone and charcoal and heating it above the upper critical temperature, roughly 1600 deg. F. Then, you can quench it in water or oil and the result is a very hard layer .010-.020" deep. This is produced by the heat opening up the crystalline structure of the steel to allow carbon atoms to migrate in from the charcoal mixture. When you quench the part, you lock the carbon into the structure to give it hardness. Probably oversimplified, but you can get the idea.
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:51:30 PM
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Gene O. Carpenter Gene O. Carpenter is offline
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Thumbs up Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

Chuck,bimji,Harvey,Dave & Mike, thanks for yor answers!! I sorta thought the washers weren't washers but machine spacers, as you stated, they just did'nt look or feel like the hardware variety, edges are sharp and are'nt rounded like the stamped out kind.
I am building a cart for my Stover, using 2 1/2"X3 1/2" barn oak for rails, rear cross member and swinging front crossmember, the barn was built before gasoline engines were ever built ...8" CI wheels w/5/8"bore, roller bearing .The front crossmember pivot is a 7/8"X8' bolt which is in the center section of the cross member so mounting an axel would require counter boring the c/m and the axel would lay across the pivot bolt, meaning if I want to tighten the front pivot due to wear I would have to remove the axel....So I decided to make the front axel a 2 section welded to the piv pt washer.I now can get a socket on the bolt at any time, so it will be a worth while undertaking.. To make it more acurate and easier, LOL, I decided to drill and counter sink the washer and drill and tap the axel to hold them secure and streight during the welding, that way I won't need that 3rd never available hand , Like yeah!!..I drilled 2 holes thru the washer with no problem but one was not centered properly, so I started to drill 2 more holes 90* from the 1st 2 holes...That's when I started burning bits...Can't understand why 1st drilling went thru almost like butter and the 2nd attempt ruined 2 bits. Could a deeper center punch mark have broken that thiiiiin hardened surface enough to allow the 1st drillings?

Like one of you said to, I heated the edge cherry red and the bit went right thru on both holes, even countersunk with the same heating. I relieved a 1/8" deep flat on the axel so the threaded hole is 90* to the flat, laid it out on edge of saw table and tightened screws...It work's, tomorrow if it isn't snowing here in New Joisey I'll get the Mig out and hope the helmet battery is charged up enough to auto darken...Thanks agan fellas.
Gene O.
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:43:28 AM
David L. Showerman David L. Showerman is offline
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Smile Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

The reason it was possible to drill the first two holes easily, and then have a very hard time drilling additional holes happened because of "work hardening".
In a proper machine shop it is possible to run coolant over the work piece while machining. This avoids the reason for "work hardening" - friction generated heat. This only applies to "tool steel". If this is not completely correct, I'm sure someone else can fill in the blanks. Dave in Holt.
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Old 03-11-2005, 04:05:37 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

Dave,
Dipping red hot steel into arsenic is the method used to produce "case hardening"..a hard surface with a softer core. It was used on old fireams and produces the rainbow colors you see on them. Don't even THINK about trying it as you're playing with deadly fumes, etc. Order a can of Kasenit powder from any major supplier. Heat your material and simply plunge it into the can and let cool. If you want a deeper case treatment, just repeat. I have used this to harden the ends of home made pushrods (and other parts) for some of my engines. It's safe and produces a very tough wearing surface. George Andreasen
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Old 03-11-2005, 04:53:14 PM
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

I have never heard of using arsenic for hardening.
Years ago we used Potassium Cyanide which gives a hardness that is UNBELIEVABLE.
It is still available but VERY dangerous stuff so we, too, now use a non-toxic powdered hardening compound.
STILL can't beat that Cyanide hardness and case depth though!!!
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:33:39 PM
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Gene O. Carpenter Gene O. Carpenter is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

Now George and Craig got me wondering!! When I said Arsnic I was remembering something that I saw my neighbor, Red, do 45 years ago, and it probably was Cyanide and not Arsnic!! I knew that it was deadly if not handeled properly ! I myself would'nt have either around the house! Too much chance of an accidental poisoning!

It cleared up here in sunny New Joisey today, just long enough for me to roll out the Mig and weld that axel together.. It actually turned out better than I thought it would..

And thanks again for you replies, and to Harry for the opportunity to use this site..
Gene O.
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Old 03-12-2005, 06:32:33 AM
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Smile Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

hey guys thanks for the info on hardening tools. i have a home made cole chiesel 25 years old and still sharp as ever
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Old 03-15-2005, 09:40:47 AM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

Gene..I stand corrected! I meant cyanide, not arsenic. I guess I need to stop breathing computer fumes........George
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Old 03-15-2005, 05:22:12 PM
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Gene O. Carpenter Gene O. Carpenter is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

George, it was ME that got the issue clouded!! We had an incident, around the same time Red was showing me the Cyanide hardening trick, where a guy from a neighboring town grabbed a jug of "water" and took a big swig only to find out it wasn't water! Yup was an Arsnic solution that some fool hadn't marked in any way ! They took him to hospital but all efforts failed and he died..Never did figure out how and why it was even in the house to start with.That's why I won't keep anything like that around the house! Have used insecticides and weed killers but made sure that they were used and disposed of safely..
So when I wrote about Red's demonstration I used the wrong word! But you'se guy's streightened me out right away...
Gene O.
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Old 03-18-2005, 08:57:56 PM
Kevin Beitz Kevin Beitz is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

The cheapest way to drill holes in hard steel is to use a cement bit... You will need to put a better edge on the carbide tip, but after you do this you can drill through a ball-bearing... A normal grind stone will sharpen the cement bit... Try not to get it to hot...
A cheap way to case harden steel is to take a flash-light battery and bust it open... Take out the carbon rod and bust it up with a hammer... Put the object to be hardened into something like an old pan and cover with the carbon dust... Heat red hot and let it soak...
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Old 03-20-2005, 04:11:13 PM
Bob Schaeff Bob Schaeff is offline
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Default Re: HELP!!!! Drilling holes in hardened steel washers.

I think gene and chuck are correct in what there saying.
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