Friday, October 17, 2014

Can I Rebore Sintered Iron Coupling Hubs?

CNC Lathe

Given Lovejoy manufactures many of its standard straight jaw (L line), curved jaw (CJ), sleeve (S-Flex), and torsional (LVK & LK) coupling hubs from sintered iron (sintered ferrous powder metal) at its Downers Grove, IL facility, this is a question that comes up a lot.

Sintered iron is an extremely well proven technology for power transmission components that Lovejoy has been using extensively for more than 30 years... and the short answer is: yes. Any sintered iron hubs from Lovejoy can be re-bored or machined similar to other standard coupling hub materials (bar stock steel, forges, and cast iron) using similar feeds, speeds, cutting tools, and safety procedures. (And we know this first hand because we re-bore and machine hundreds of our own sintered iron hubs every day.)

One Major Word of Caution: Sintered iron coupling hubs ARE NOT magnesium alloy coupling hubs, and NOT to be confused with magnesium alloy hubs. At least one manufacturer does manufacturer coupling hubs from magnesium alloy (containing 85% to 96% magnesium). When subjected to significant heat (which could be introduced through machining) magnesium is a flammable metal that, once lit, cannot be put out with water or traditional carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. 

Should you find yourself with a magnesium alloy hub that needs to be machined... please take proper time to educate yourself in regards to proper machining and safety considerations of working with magnesium alloys (inclusive of pulling the manufacturer's MSDS sheet and talking with the manufacturer) prior to deciding if you really want to/are prepared to machine the hub yourself. 

Should you decide reboring magnesium isn't your thing, Lovejoy is equipped to quickly supply you with an alternative metal (sintered iron, cast iron, aluminum, or stainless steel) finished bore replacement coupling and/or a rough stock bore replacement coupling of an alternative material...  should you still really want to finish the bore yourself!
Recommended Follow-On Reading: To learn more about powder metallurgy in general, please read: Powdered Metal 101 for Mechanical Power Transmission Components

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