It is. Not sure that 'better wearing' is meant to imply
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
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
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.
On 24 Apr 2006 21:10:24 -0700, email@example.com 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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