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    Has anyone used leaded steel (12L14) for a cam. I'm building the Hercules engine and drill rod is specified. Has anyone used any other materials that may be easier to machine than drill rod.
    • CommentAuthorgbritnell
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2011
    Drill rod is specified because it will hold up much better than 12L. Water hardening is the easiest to machine of all the 'drill rods'. With sharp high speed tooling it isn't a problem at all.
    I would not use 12L14, material is great for machining, but will need at least case hardening for use. I rather stay with drill rod, or chromolly steel , water hardening is easier to machine.

    I use oil hardening or 4130, machine the blank, harden and then grind the lobe shapes & clean up with emery cloth / abrasive.
    Thanks for the replys, I am not positive of the hardening type of drill rod I have so I will order some more and make sure to keep the tools are sharp. In my further research it appears I may be machining the rod with too thin a cut and at spindle speed that is too high. Off to do a little experimenting.
    • CommentAuthorgbritnell
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2011
    Hi John,
    Drill rod is not like stainless steel in that you can take a very light cut and the material won't work harden but it doesn't like high speeds. With high speed tooling it will burn the end of the tool in just a short time.
    Mr kennedy..
    I built the Hercules back in 2003. I used 12L14 for the cam and O2 drill rod for the lifters. The lifter faces were polished. I would not hazzard a guess as to the accumulated time, But it is significant. since building, the engine has never been opened up and no valve adjustment has been needed. So unless you anticipate very extreem use I think 12L14 would be a good choice.
    I do the exact opposite as Bruce. I made my cam with drill rod and the lifters with 12L14. Thinking the 12L14 would wear faster I figured it easier to replace the lifters. Like Bruce, I have not had wear problems.
    Thanks to all who have replied so far. I am not sure which way I am going to go yet but it is good to know how others have proceeded.
    • CommentTimeApr 12th 2011
    Good to see You back! Where You been for so long?