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Thread: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

  1. #1

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    Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    First I read about the machine technicalities and metallurgic properties, I once worked in a chemistry lab of a foundry, then I sourced advice from "experts", machinists, and old timers. Finally I bought a new die set, not the Harbor Freight junk, the expensive high speed steel ones. For hand threading the major diameter is the key, along with lubrication and slow threading with small advances. It's not brass! This metal is really hard. It heats up and sticks if enough care isn't taken. I wasn't sure at the outset that I could cut decent threads in stainless steel shafting but it worked. I'm threading the ends for SS knobs and using SS gears on it. This is all going on the camera I'm building. X2, front and rear drive shafts, bearings, gears, and knobs. One never stops learning.

  2. #2

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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Curt, nice going, I think you have the idea. It's a slow process of threading by hand and it may help by having the diameter of the piece slightly under sized. Also use the best cutting oil. When threading, go a bit then back off letting the cutting chips fall free. Then continue, alternating cutting with backoff.

    What is the diameter of the piece you are threading. Also what stainless alloy are you using? Low chrome and higher nickel content will help. Type 316 is a bitch while 25-5 is a lot easier.

    Good luck.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  3. #3
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    What alloy? There's a big difference.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  4. #4
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Curt,

    I'm a hack. I worked in a materials test lab for 30 years. My main mission was make it fast and just good enough, since we trashed every set-up as soon as we were done. Custom does not always means highest quality.

    I admire your efforts. Tapping and cutting can be difficult at first. Everything you learn will be useful again.

    I would have tack welded the knobs to the shaft with a Mig welder. Done in a jiffy. I was team leader, my meticulous understudies always preferred beauty over speed.

    We await your camera, DIY lives!

  5. #5

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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    1/4" and I'm going to get several pieces and see which is the best. I'm interested in a D-Profile in 303 but I had a thought about how accurate the gear hubs set screws are located. That could be unfortunate. Machinability verses hardness is a determining point too. I'm aiming at a single material instead of say brass and stainless mixed. Many old wood cameras have done very well with brass for the shafts, racks, and pinion gears though. The problem I have decided to work out is getting the gear specifications, bore and OD, pitch, etc., to work with a shaft that requires a diameter specified for the knobs I have picked out. Without elaborating on the details it's a choice between knob style and hub size verses pinion hub bore. It's just one of the many technical exercises on this project. I'm enjoying it though and that makes a world of difference.

  6. #6

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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Curt, if you have any problems, you can try all thread rod instead. I hate working with stainless, it's my nemesis
    Erik

  7. #7

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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    Curt,

    I'm a hack. I worked in a materials test lab for 30 years. My main mission was make it fast and just good enough, since we trashed every set-up as soon as we were done. Custom does not always means highest quality.

    I admire your efforts. Tapping and cutting can be difficult at first. Everything you learn will be useful again.

    I would have tack welded the knobs to the shaft with a Mig welder. Done in a jiffy. I was team leader, my meticulous understudies always preferred beauty over speed.

    We await your camera, DIY lives!
    Nate, Leigh, and Randy, thanks for the feedback it's all excellent. I have an Oxy Acetylene but no TIG here at my home shop. I'm not adversed to having a machine shop thread the ends but I'm confident I'll be able to do the job. I have what I think is a 303 shaft that earlier I threaded to 10 32. That piece was 3/16" and I had to reduce the diameter but the threads came out great. Nice and smooth. My standard is the Ebony line. I'm using Rosewood and Ebony, no Restricted Wood, but no titanium. I don't expect to achieve the Ebony status but getting as close as I can will be rewarding. It's going to be an 11x14 and I have already made a film holder to ANSI specs and that's very detailed. I'll show it at the end. It's in a different species, the final wood has been in the shop for years and is as stable as its going to get. I have a wood shop so I put a lot of pressure on myself to get a fine product. At 61 I've had a lot of technical background and college along with my Seabee stent and can do attitude from the Navy and Vietnam.

  8. #8

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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    Curt, if you have any problems, you can try all thread rod instead. I hate working with stainless, it's my nemesis
    Erik
    Erik, that's right, there are SS tubes with ID clearance that makes it look good. If all else I could use that for the visible portion and not have a problem with it. That falls into a "best fit" option. Thanks for mentioning that option.

  9. #9
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Since you need to buy the gears and racks anyway, why not buy the shafts and other fittings?

    McMaster-Carr has a large selection www.mcmaster.com with no minimum order.

    Stock Drive Products www.sdp-si.com has a huge selection of gears and shafting.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  10. #10

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    Re: Threading Stainless Steel Shafts

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    Since you need to buy the gears and racks anyway, why not buy the shafts and other fittings?

    McMaster-Carr has a large selection www.mcmaster.com with no minimum order.

    Stock Drive Products www.sdp-si.com has a huge selection of gears and shafting.

    - Leigh
    Reid, Nordex, Berg, and others, I've buried myself in these. It's interesting about McMaster Carr. The have a huge selection of products. I had it all together but needed a shaft threaded on both ends. I saw their line about if you don't see it ask and we'll get it. After several email exchanges they sent a one liner. "We don't thread shafts". Talk about being misunderstood, I just shook my head. It's a lot like going to the hardware store looking for the right combination except through mail order fit and finish is only suggested by little photos on a screen. You have to "shop around" and find the right parts. At least it's with a cup of coffee. I'm no Howard Roark though and a compromise to get a good fit is fine. If I had $15,000 and a years wait I'd get an Ebony but what's the fun, and torture, of that.

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