12L14 with smooth surface finish..?
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  1. #1
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    Default 12L14 with smooth surface finish..?

    All the talk about tariffs, etc got me thinking. Back in the day we used to get 12L14 with a very smooth, almost polished surface finish.

    I never gave it much thought, figuring ALL 12L14 was that way. Even had a 20 year repeat part that depended on the excellent mill finish for cosmetic reasons.

    Then all of a sudden the only material available had surface finish that was crap, micro surface pitting and dull look. All my suppliers were carrying the same USA made crap finish material. We had to put a brush finish on the repeat parts to satisfy the customer. Not only was the surface finish bad, it didn't machine as well as the old stuff.

    Investigating the problem I found the material we'd gotten for years was Martin Bright from Australia. Emailed them and was told they no longer serviced North America, but would be glad to ship to me in boat load quantity. They didn't offer any reasons why they weren't selling here any more.

    I verified the problems with the material with a several large screw machine shops around the country.

    I haven't ordered any 12L14 for years and wonder if the good material is back.


    Anyway, to tie this in with the current thread about EMJ..... I asked my assigned by area salesperson, Don, if I could come down to inspect their 12L14 in case they might still have some of the good old stuff left. He said I'd have to make the request direct to the warehouse foreman and set up an appointment. When I got there I assumed we would walk into the warehouse to view the material. Nope, they would forklift it out for me. Huh? After standing there for at least a half hour here comes the forklift with a rusted together bundle of material that looked like it'd been dredged out of the drainage ditch adjacent to the parking lot. I never went back. In retrospect that was pretty much the way EMJ people in the Seattle (Kent) branch treated all less than $ix-figure per month customers.

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    All the 12L that I see is CD MF. I bought some from EMJ some time back and there was a seam in a bunch of the bars that made the parts NFG.

    Used to be all the 303 I bought would be polished, now that's all MF too. Even got some 303 that looks like it was sandblasted- that shit is still sitting on the material rack...

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    I kinda just thought 12l14 was just like that. I have never been able to get a good finish on the stuff I have used. I still have a 20ft bar of 1.5" that just collects dust. To me its like 1018 that rusts faster, and doesn't weld very good.

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    EMJ was getting a lot of leaded material like 41L42/45 from a Spanish mill. It had a centerless-ground finish, (not that it mattered since we always machine the diameter) that really impressed everybody...until we actually ran it. Using a program that had been run many, many times for years and which always produces accurate parts with a high shine, this material wouldn't break the chip! Sent a piece to the lab and its chemical composition was within spec. Lots of head scratching until we realized it was centerless-ground hot rolled material being sold as cold finished annealed. I do not believe it was EMJ's fault, as the mill either lied or, more likely, used an ambiguous material description. Anyway, after that we started specifying US mills (preferably Republic) even if we had to order well in advance and wait. Now we haven't run into any foreign-sourced 12L but in that material you should normally expect a superior finish on all features—turned, bored, grooved, threaded, whatever, and be able to run wide open like it was aluminum. If not, you have defective or misrepresented material.

    Seams in bar stock are rare but they happen. Even if the seam is ironed shut and doesn't open up and reveal itself until you start turning it, EMJ will take it back. At least they have for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    Sent a piece to the lab and its chemical composition was within spec. Lots of head scratching until we realized it was centerless-ground hot rolled material being sold as cold finished annealed.

    C/L ground is a Cold Finish opperation. You were expecting Cold DRAWN, which will produce higher T/Y's.
    Doesn't sound like anyone misrepresented anything, but rather you didn't understand the diff between CF and CD.


    I haven't ran much 12L in many years as so much has gone to 1215. About the only 12L parts that I doo are hex, and I could tell good material from cheaper doo to tracking tool life on the job. I found that my form tap would last 2wice* as long in Barron material, but Barron is gone and been rolled into Eaton 10 yrs ago. (as has been Plymouth Steel)

    The other mill that I have found good tool life with is Corey Steel near Chi-Town. That one I can verify.

    Another good option is Republic. They have been pushing their own cold finished products divission hard this last few years. I believe that Republic is actually CD'ing both in the Massilon/Canton area in Ohio, as well as somewhere up on the 401 corridor in Ontario.

    Eaton has a 10K# min qty policy last I knew. Corey will come in lower than that. Not sure what Republic's line in the sand is.

    I cannot say that I ever payed attention to the outside surface condition all that much as I can't think of too many 12L parts that the stock OD is a working surface. My recommendations are purely on machinability. Anything that was "shiney" on the OD must have gone through a grinder or at least a polisher after - or in stead of - a CD bench. ???



    * prolly closer to trippple tool life


    ---------------------

    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

  6. #6
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    Just got off the horn with the national sales manager for Republic's Cold Drawn Products divission, and he told me that they have recently shut down the Hamilton, Ontario divission and by the end of today they should have everything moved out of that location and are moving it all to Solon, Ohio (Cleveland).

    He said that it was just too much hassle with going back/forth over the border, and I'm guessin' that it's more likely just not enough regional demand up the 401 to support it?

    Anyway - since I recently posted about them being there, I thought that I would pass along the recent changes.


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    Think Snow Eh!
    Ox

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