Advantages of infill planes?

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alexy wrote:

It is. Not sure that 'better wearing' is meant to imply resistance though.
Castings also are notorious for warping due to residual stresses left when the thicker parts cooled slower than the thinner parts. Cold-rolled plate will have residual stresses too, but hot-rolled and annealed should minimize them.
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Old cast iron is stable. New cast iron is anything but, unless it has been normalised (heat treated).
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Steel generally wears better than iron.
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If that were the case, machine tools would be made primarily from steel. They aren't. As for the hardness of cast iron, true it is softer than steel but it's high carbon (graphite) content tends to make it somewhat self lubricating were steel will gall much easier. This is, of course, metal to metal contact so really wouldn't apply here. Should have said that in the first place. As far as stability. No steel will outdo cast iron if properly stress relieved.

infrequently.
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Well, I have to defer to you there; I know nothing about machine tools. But might there be other reasons for using CI, even if it were not as resistant to abrasion as steel?

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CW wrote:

If _what_ were true?
Large beds for metalworking machines are typically made from cast iron for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that it is possible to cast the large parts from cast iron. While there are cast steels, they don't cast as well as iron. For an appreciable number of units, casting is almost always the cheapest way to make them
Secondly, cast iron machines easier that steels due in part to the lubricity provided by the graphite inclusions mentioned above, and partly because it is softer than steel.
Cast Iron is just as stiff as steel but has better dampening, again due to the graphite inclusions.
It's good stuff.
But it is not harder or more stable than annealed steel.
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On 24 Apr 2006 21:10:24 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

What's a "bed" though? Something like a milling table is typically cast iron, but slideways on a lathe bed will be steel. Often these are steel strips attached to a cast iron bed, then machined. The iron is cheap to form and gives a stable bed, but it's worth using steel for the wear surfaces.

They cast fine (in terms of end results), it just costs more owing to the higher temperatures needed. Also most "cast steel" isn't cast (in this sense) it's just a label for a crucible steel that has been melted. Inconsequential these days, but that used to be a mark of quality over shear steels.
BTW - If anyone isn't familiar with the history of machine tools, then reading a copy of LTC Rolt's "Tools for the Job" is highly recommended.
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That has been established.
or more stable than annealed steel. If we keep this thread going long enough, you will do a complete 180. You stand at about 140 now. I've been machining this stuff for 20 years now. Using machines to make machines. I have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn't. Did some Stellite today. Want to know some tough Sh*t.

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wrote:

Infills really can be better.
First of all, they're intended to be better. They're just made for it - better fit, tighter tolerances, a design intended specifically for fine smoothing in awkward timber.
In practice, as far as my Norrises are concerned, it's the zero-backlash adjuster that makes the difference. It's the best design of adjuster I've yet found (I prefer the differential screw version) although it's notably copied onto modern Veritas planes.
As to weight, then I don;t find their extra weight to be an advantage. Weight is good, but by the time you've got to an iron plane, a lot extra isn't much extra help. The point of the rest of an infill's behaviour is that you don't have to use inertia as a hammer - it's _sharp_.
As to the blades, then mine have Sheffield laminated and tapered irons from a variety of makers. These are all good irons and chatter proof owing to the enormous thickness of both them and their cap irons. They're not as hard as Japanese laminated irons though, and they don't have anything like the eternal edge holding of A2.
I like my infills, but I wouldn't pay insane collector prices for them. You can get the same performance from Veritas, or for less weight and wedge adjustment, one of Steve Knight's.
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Many people have mentioned weight as being an advantage for an infill plane. As best I can tell, rosewood species (this seems to be a common wood for infill planes) have a specific gravity of somewhere between 0.8 and 1.2. Cast iron has a specific gravity in the 7-8 range, which would make it much denser than rosewood.
So does an infill plane really weigh more than a similarly sized cast iron plane?
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wilbur wrote:

If you filled a cast iron plane in with wood, you'd have a (heavier) infill. I imagine if someone were to fill a plane with cast iron you could still call it an infill, and it'd still be heavy.
:)
er
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wrote:

Yes - but because there's more metal in there, not because of the wood. Cast infills are notably heavier than dovetailed sheet. A "Plane o Ayr" is a real lightweight in comprison to anything, including a #4, because of the thin base and the minimal sides.
Remember that the infill pre-dates the Bailey pattern. They were heavyweight in comparison to woodies. The Bailey pattern was a way of giving the iron base and mass of the infill, with modern production methods and without all the expensive labour of fitting the infills. Infills still worked better though and so the myth grew up that even more mass had to be a good thing, just because one of their properties was extra mass.
Patrick is just _wrong_ when he claims this for the #4 1/2
"I have this half-baked, semi-baked, even fully-baked theory that Stanley offered this plane as competition for the heavier infill planes, being produced in England."
http://supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan1.htm#num4.5
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