Question: Soft metal drag and chip problem

SalihKara

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Hi,

I am working on a floor plate for a rifle.

I don't know what type of metal it is but metal is very soft and I think this cause the problem. I bought the part from internet and it is a aftermarket plate, not a original factory made plate.

No matter what type of cutting I make, I am having trouble with drag and chip.

1- Even if I cut straight line, I am having chip at the both edge of the line. When I cut, it looks deep and wide but when I touch it, I can feel the chip and drag, when I use sand paper very softly all the chip and drag are gone but this time I see that my cutting is very shallow and narrow.

2- When I cut a curved line, the problem is more dramatic. There is a lot more drag and chip.

As I mentioned, metal is very soft, I worked with soft metal before but this is very different. Especialy for the curved cuts, metal is like a mud,

I tried short heel, long heel, very well polished heel but no luck. with same graver I don't have any problem with hard steel and I don't even have problem with very soft alloy.

What can you suggest me ? I
 

John B.

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Is the metal attracted to a magnet???
If so it is probably either iron or steel.
I which case to can be heated and quenched in oil to harden it.
Then drawn back to a reasonable hardness for engraving.
Sorry you are having this problem Salih.
 

Eric Olson

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If the metal is very soft like pewter or lead your graver is probably just going too deep.
You probably need a feather touch to keep it from going too deep.
Better yet stop wasting your time and find a piece of copper.
 
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#5
Stick with what you've got. Yo will learn a lot from the experience. There is no "ideal" metal to engrave. They all have their different characteristics and not all metal cuts cleanly.......so you may as well get used to it.

Is the metal actually chipping on the top of the cut? or are you getting a ridge on both sides of the cut?..........if the metal is actually chipping out then I would have to question how good the metal would be for a floor plate. Or an obvious question is does the floor plate have a coating on it that is causing the chipping?

Drag can be caused and mostly eliminated by technique. As you go around the bends and the scrolls become smaller, raise your hand slightly. Also watch your cutting depth as the deeper you go the more the heel will drag. A parallel heel will help eliminate drag but not get rid of it entirely.

There's nothing wrong with sanding. I know that is heresy for some engravers but I do it all the time. Just make sure that you go lightly and have backed up the wet n dry paper with something hard like brass or hardwood.

Cheers
Andrew
 

SalihKara

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Is the metal attracted to a magnet???
If so it is probably either iron or steel.
I which case to can be heated and quenched in oil to harden it.
Then drawn back to a reasonable hardness for engraving.
Sorry you are having this problem Salih.

I learnt that metal is blued steel, I don't know what it means. When I get the part it was black and I used sand paper to remove that black paint and it was very easy to remove it from surface.
 

SalihKara

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Another problem might be tool geometry and technique. Make sure your heel is centered and you are not putting any side pressure on the graver.
I am sure there is no problem with tool geometry.

While I was having this problem I put a very soft alloy metal and a very hard steel into my vice and I tried to make same cuts, there was no problem. My cutting is very sharp and clean without any drag or chip.
 

SalihKara

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Stick with what you've got. Yo will learn a lot from the experience. There is no "ideal" metal to engrave. They all have their different characteristics and not all metal cuts cleanly.......so you may as well get used to it.

Is the metal actually chipping on the top of the cut? or are you getting a ridge on both sides of the cut?..........if the metal is actually chipping out then I would have to question how good the metal would be for a floor plate. Or an obvious question is does the floor plate have a coating on it that is causing the chipping?

Drag can be caused and mostly eliminated by technique. As you go around the bends and the scrolls become smaller, raise your hand slightly. Also watch your cutting depth as the deeper you go the more the heel will drag. A parallel heel will help eliminate drag but not get rid of it entirely.

There's nothing wrong with sanding. I know that is heresy for some engravers but I do it all the time. Just make sure that you go lightly and have backed up the wet n dry paper with something hard like brass or hardwood.

Cheers
Andrew
Hi Andrew,

I will try to explain the chipping.

Imagine that you are cutting a straight line, and as you cut chip starts to raise on both side of your cutting.

It is like try to write something on a beach sand by a stic, as you start to write there will be raised sand just on the both side of your lines.

Here is a photo, this is exactly what I am having on the metal.

Here is some more information
1- I learnt that metal is blued-steel, I don't know wht it is, when I got the metal it was black and I used a sand paper to remove that black color and it gone very easly.

2- I am sure that there is no problem with my graver, I used the same graver withouth sharpening or changing anything on it, on a very soft alloy and very hard steel and there is no problem.

3- I use 105 degree carbid graver, face is 50 degre,
 

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speeedy6

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SalihKara, I think you may be experiencing the same problem I had a few months ago. The soft metal is throwing off the regular way you cut, it behaves differently than harder metal. I think my problem was just holding my graver too low in the cut. The graver instead of cutting with the very front edge of the graver ,had been plowing through the metal with the tail end of the heel. The point or leading edge that's intended to cut the metal was higher than the trailing edge of the heel making the graver plow through instead of cutting. That's pushing out the metal to the side instead of cutting and removing the metal out of the "furrow". I solved my problem by just raising my graver higher than I thought I should and slowing down too. Your photo of the word in sand looks like what I saw myself. Hope that helps, Mark
 

Roger Bleile

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Many floorplates today are made of aluminum. In fact, almost all Ruger rifles have aluminum floorplates. The problem you are describing sounds very much to me like the plate is made of cast aluminum. In fact nearly any cast metal, such as cast brass or bronze tends to chip when engraved. John wrote above to see if a magnet is attracted to the plate. Did you try that yet?
 

John B.

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I learnt that metal is blued steel, I don't know what it means. When I get the part it was black and I used sand paper to remove that black paint and it was very easy to remove it from surface.
Salih, did you try a magnet? If it is blued steel a magnet will stick to it. Bluing is just a rust oxidizing process use to protect ferrous metal.
If it is attracted to the magnet try heating it to bright red hot and quickly plunging it into a thin oil. It will come out of the oil very hard and with black coating.
Sand off the black coating and heat the floorplate again until it's a soft blue color. Let it cool slowly buried in warm sand.
It should then cut cleanly if it is steel. Let us know how it goes.
 
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