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Steel ball bearings...


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What alloy might they typically be? I forged a blade from one, and I'm curious how to approach the heat treatment. Sparks are bright and complex, so I'm guessing something like 52100 or close - high carbon with enough other stuff to resist corrosion and retain shape under use...

 

 

 

20131214181544-XL.jpg

 

 

5.5 inches of blade, plus tang, from a 1 inch sphere. I love forging. :D

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Yeah, they can often be 52100. The bearing races will often have 52100 stamped into them if that's what they are.

 

I have played with it, there are a couple of really interesting things the stuff will do in heat treat for sure that makes it tempting to mess with. But, it is so damn stiff to forge and does not like being forged at lower temps, which is a real problem for me, I tend to crack the stuff alot.

In the end, can't get it to cut any better than the 1086m or the w1 or w2.

 

But it is kinda neat...

:0)

Randal

www.rhgraham.simpl.com

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well, 52100 is the classic alloy for bearings,, so i'd say its a pretty fair bet that whatever it is, it will have similar working properties. with any mystery simple carbon steel, my h-t is pretty much the same - normalise 3 or 4x at descending heats (at least 4x if i've worked it very hot for long periods - the first couple of normalisations are very hot, just to get everything evened out, then descending heats to just about non mag), checking for non mag at each heat, to calibrate my eye. heat to no mag a final time and slowly bump up the heat until i see the transformation, hold for a minute, and quench in oil. check the edge with a file, and if it's hard, temper 1hr at 400f. then i test the hardness with a file, maybe grind clean and etch to see the depth of hardening. if everything seems good, temper once more and start testing, if it seems chippy, bump up the tempering temp...

 

i'm sure you know all this, my point is that if you watch for the transformation, it doesn't really matter what the actual temperature is, so long as you go slow... good luck - that's a really nice blade. what do you use to grip the bearing at the start?

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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I'm comfortable HT'ing 52100, and it does some goofy things if you work it right.

 

To forge, I took 1/4" mild round and welded it to the ball, and that weld is where I cut off the tang, so all you see above is bearing steel.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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Talking about being stiff to forge. :wacko:

 

Reminds me of the time when a friend I had, tried to forge a trailer hitch ball. He got the thing bright red hot, put it on the anvil, and took one whack with a hammer, and the trailer ball shot out of the tongs he was using and rolled across the driveway and on to ( and then across ) his garage floor into a pile of clean shop towels at the back of the garage, before it came to a stop.

 

Total distance ~45-50'

 

Forging session comes to fast stop and fire suppression session comes to a fast start, as everyone first couldn't believe what happened, staring at what the ball was doing, and then dropping everything when they realized it was going into the garage.

 

Oops.

Edited by Greg H.

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.

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ive always wanted to forge some bearings and then try forge welding with them see what you could get.

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If it's just 52100, then there's nothing too special about it - mix with some 1095 for contrast. 1.5% Chromium, everything else is basically the same, besides the manganese maybe.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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If it is a Timken bearing than yes it will be 52100. Having worked for them I can attest that they very rarely make bearings out of anything other than 52100. The races, on the other hand, are not as consistant in material.

 

Daniel

WAXING MOON FORGE

 

 

The blacksmith and the artist

reflect it in their art

they forge their creativity

closer to the heart.

 

Rush

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52100 should have around 1.5% Cr, .35%mn, and .20 nickle. It's one of those steels that the mix does things a little different than the individual elements would seem to indicate... Regardless, it is as you say nothing particularly special, if you like forging something that stiff. :0).

Makes bainite right easy which is the only reason I messed with it.

Randal

www.rhgraham.simpl.com

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