Welding a file to mild steel

Discussion in 'Materials' started by valvebounce, May 13, 2015.

  1. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 549
    Likes: 11, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    I have mislaid the winch winding handle for my boat trailer.
    After searching,it seems unlikely that I can purchase a new one because they are not available.
    The winch is perfectly serviceable.
    I have made one from mild steel with the required offset and handle,unfortunately it has rounded off across the flats where it fits on the winch drive.
    My idea is to cut a slot in a metal hand file,and weld it to the new handle.
    The drive shaft on the winch is a threaded shaft with 8mm flats on it.
    Is it possible to weld file steel to mild steel?
    I would of course cut the file to size before welding.

    My only other option is to have one fabricated,which would probably cost as much as buying a new winch.
    Kind regards
    V
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,498
    Likes: 1,039, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    A photo would help. Files are usually made of a soft inside metal and a hardened outside. It is not impossible to weld, but extremely difficult. The hardened surface is likely to crack with the stress when cooling. The file will wear out the winch, which is more expensive than an aluminum flat bar.
     
  3. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 621
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 47
    Location: Florida

    Canracer Senior Member

    gonzo is right, it would be best to post a picture. My first thought is that hardening another mild steel handle would be easier.
     
  4. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,390
    Likes: 153, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 871
    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    As above the file is a poor choice of material for the purpose. However fairly straightforward to weld a file or piece thereof to other steel, I've done successfully in past just using some 316L electrodes in the application of creating pneumatic "jerry" irons for removal of caulking materials- used in air hammer, most important is a smooth transition of thickness of the parts & some detail in backgrinding- stringer beads & tapering of transition. So far as I'm aware only the tang of the file is soft.

    Jeff.
     
  5. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 5,875
    Likes: 311, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1749
    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

  6. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six Previous Member

    Or you could look for the handle with the same level of effort and amount of time research, development, design, welding, fitting and finishing a new handle would require.

    That wouldn't even need a picture.
     
  7. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 1,491
    Likes: 280, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 158

    Barry Senior Member

    It would be almost impossible to case harden mild steel as mild steel does not have a high enough carbon content to increase the hardness by quenching. The normal hardening process. Water, oil, salt, baths

    As millions of winch handles are made from mild steel, it would be much cheaper and easier to just get a heavier thickness of handle material, so the slot will not wear out, and just ensure that the slot fits tight over the winch input shaft.

    If you are starting from mild steel and trying to harden the surface you could carburize the mild steel, then quench, but this is quite a technical process to be done correctly

    I would suspect that a winch handle made from say flat bar 1 1/4 by 3/8 thick, would outlive the life of the winch
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 549
    Likes: 11, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    Many thanks for your replies guys,

    Sorting through the answers,I think I will go for the 3/8" flat bar idea.
    Probably take it to cherry red and quench it,and not bother tempering it.
    When I was in engineering many years ago,they used cyanide to case harden with,and could vary the depths upto 25-30 thou.
    I should imagine obtaining cyanide in this country these days would be nigh on impossible,you need a certificate to open your front door these days.HaHa.
    Once again,many thanks
    V
     
  9. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 10,390
    Likes: 1,023, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Hey V, you need a thick slot washer, weld to your handle.
     
  10. pdwiley
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 1,004
    Likes: 86, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 933
    Location: Hobart

    pdwiley Senior Member

    Not the case (ha ha). There are a number of compounds like Kasenite that can put a hard case on mild steel.

    Mild steel doesn't have enough carbon to be hardened by heating & quenching. That's not the same thing as case hardening.

    That said the idea of welding a file onto something is poorly thought through. I wouldn't contemplate that. Use normal flat bar.

    PDW
     
  11. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,498
    Likes: 1,039, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Heating in an oxygen rich atmosphere will rob mild steel of carbon and it will be softer after quenching. Hardening has to be done properly to get the expected results.
     
  12. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 549
    Likes: 11, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    Nice one Mr E,now why didn't I think of that.

    I once made a gearlever for a 500cc bsa shooting star from round bar and flat bar.I blew the splined hole through with a propane torch,and tapped it onto the splined shaft.
    I had jumped a humped up railway line on a bush track in Whyalla,when I went to go up the box,oops no gearlever.I was in third gear,and did a lot of clutch slipping to get home.
    There was a two month wait for parts from Birmingham in the UK,so I made one.
    I worked in a shipyard for BHP,and all that was available toolwise were boilermakers tools.
    (Bush mechanic) HaHa.
     
  13. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 549
    Likes: 11, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    I should have known that from my metalurgy days Gonzo,
    age fuzzes the memory,although I can still remember my first lady,funny innit.HaHa
     
  14. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
    Posts: 621
    Likes: 9, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 47
    Location: Florida

    Canracer Senior Member

    I did some internet searching ("can mild steel be hardened") and it seems that, no it can't. I guess a small amount of hardness can be had but only with complicated and sometimes toxic quenching techniques. Careful you don't tear apart the winch shaft with that harder handle.
     

  15. valvebounce
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 549
    Likes: 11, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 124
    Location: manchester uk

    valvebounce Senior Member

    Hi Cr,thanks for searching,
    the hardening process would work,but to tell you the truth,it wouldn't be viable financially.
    I think the thicker flat bar idea would solve the problem (Maybe 3/8")
    I can cut the slot out by drilling either end of the slot with an 8mm drill,and cut out the middle bit and file it.(The slot is 8mm)
    Providing the slot is a tight fit,I think it will work without hardening it.
    I have another boat trailer with a winch on it,which is similar and it is just mild steel.
    Thanks for your interest
    V
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.