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Author Topic: Making stainless outdoor antenna hardware  (Read 647 times)
KE6WNH
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Posts: 126




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« on: August 02, 2009, 02:33:31 PM »

This weekend, I took down an old disused scanner antenna from a small derrick which I mounted atop my roof back in '94. The galvanized steel hex nuts holding the radials to the antenna base were so rusted they were unrecogizable, but the rest of the antenna, and the derrick, looked only slightly weathered because they were made of stainless.

To clarify, I'm not a wealthy man---I learned early on that "free" means $22.95 and "cheap" means $495.99---so I have to improvise. I built the derrick, and now that it will be adapted to use as a base for my planned 2m garage roof mast, I'm making all the other hardware out of stainless as well. I couldn't find clamps small enough to fit 1/8" cable for the guy wires, so I'm making those too.

Even working-class bums like me can afford stainless hardware, if we use our heads and our muscles. It doesn't have to be fancy and expensive.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2009, 11:11:54 PM »

You guys don't realise how lucky you are in having places like Home Depot and OSH, where you can wander down of a Sunday afternoon and buy some 1/2 inch long stainless 1/4-20 hardware or the like! Over here, stainless are special order or you go to one of the few specialist suppliers of hardware - which can mean a 50 mile each way trip. Added to which, the Home Depot prices are good compared with what we pay. In many cases, we have to swallow a minimum order quantity of 50 or 100, too.

Admittedly, I never see left hand stainless hardware in Home Depot these days, but there was some 20 years ago!
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KE6WNH
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 04:30:24 PM »

For the record, I live about 20 miles from ipstool.com... that's where KE6VRK and I go to buy our metal (much of it industrial surplus) and machine tools. I'd NEVER buy metals from an inner-city supply warehouse because they're much too expensive.

Re the LH threads... yes, IPS sold me my LH thread taps and dies too! Forget trying to hunt down reverse-thread fasteners in catalogs, it's more economical to make your own out of hex bar stock if you own a lathe.

73, Marty
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N3OX
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Posts: 8847


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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 08:00:08 PM »

Wait....

You want me to machine stainless...

for my hobby?!?!

*shudder*

:-)

I know I know... sharp tools, right speed, right coolant and it goes fine...

I don't mind the stuff I have to do with a plasma cutter though:

http://complex.umd.edu/dynamo/3m2007-09-07.jpg

73
Dan
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
KM3F
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Posts: 509




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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 12:21:18 AM »

A local hobby shop has a large selection of brass, alum, steel and SS rod stock in various sizes.
I use these to make U clamps along with ss nuts and washers from most any source.
Admittedly, most hobby shops don't have this good a selction.
And I very often custom machine and build parts as well for all kind of uses and repairs.
Build tower gable mounts, bottom plates, auto, firearm, gear shafts etc.
Sorry I can't help myself. Been doing it for many years and have the tools to do it.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 08:46:12 AM »

Like N3OX, machining stainless is something I avoid. I want nourishment, not punishment. But sometimes, one just has to...
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3729




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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2009, 05:05:39 PM »

Hi,

Mcmaster-Carr   www.mcmaster.com

73 james
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KB1LKR
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Posts: 1898




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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2009, 07:21:21 PM »

303 or 303se (free machining grades, similar to 304 or 18-8) aren't bad (though unweldable in trade for easier machining), w/ plenty of coolant lower speeds, and sharp tooling, but 304 and 316 can be a bear -- long, stringy chips in addition to the general the general tenancy of all the austinetic stainless grades to work harden if you take too shallow a cut or too gentle a feed. It's not aluminum, brass though!

Check McMaster-Carr first though, if they don't have it, than you probably don't need it anyway.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4723




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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2009, 10:57:53 PM »

Totally off the topic, there has been some suggestions recently in model engineering circles about making welded stainless steel boiler for model steam locomotives. Generally considered that the problems will be greater than any advantages. Stainless steels are not all sweetness and light!
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KE6WNH
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Posts: 126




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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2009, 11:36:41 PM »

I use carbide tipped tool bits for turning stainless, cobalt bits for drilling it. Doesn't matter if the tool bits get dull, diamond wheels from lopacki.com sharpen them right up. BTW my mast will finally come together Saturday 8-8, every part of it stainless except for the galvanized mast pipes and turnbuckles. These will give the 2m vertical about 40' rise above street level, that should be enough. Got the stainless cable for the guy wires from Fehr, the metal from IPS, the fasteners a few years back from a liquidation house which is just a memory now.
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