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  1. #1
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    Default White metal casting for restoration

    While working on my Pajero restoration project I ran into an issue where there is a white metal bush found in the extension housing of the transfer case. In my case, this bush is well worn and I need to replace it.

    Unfortunately the agents only sell the whole extension housing and not the loose bush. I simply cannot afford the price they are asking as I would rather spend this money on an aircraft ticket and fly somewhere overseas!

    Here you can see that the bush is formed by casting a white metal lining in a steel casing and cutting slots for oil distribution in the bush.












    I have searched high and low and I can obtain a new bush which, when installed will have a too large ID and not match the splined sleeve to go through it. The only option I therefore have is to cast a new white metal lining for the bush. Yeah, you are correct it is also know as casting a Babbit bearing!


    The first step for me was to find all the materials I needed to cast a new white metal lining.

    Here are most of the things I will need.






    I fortunately was able to source some white metal from an engineering shop. Flux I got from a dear friend, uncle Brian, the stainless steel brush required to clean the inside of the steel casing, bought for a small fortune from Pferd. The tinning solder was an issue as nobody sold 100% tin anymore. I was steered into the right direction on a FB group for metal workers and managed to source 97/3 plumbing solder. This contains 97% tin and 3% copper which is ideal for what I want to do.

    The ladle I got on loan from @ghouwens and the tooth brush I had in my stash in the garage.

    The next step was to get a flame thrower ...

    Many moons ago I bought a job lot of gas torches and amongst this was a vintage Cadac gas torch. I dug it out from storage and set out to restore it. It took two evenings as some wise crack decided to fill the valve section with solder ....

    Here it is all cleaned up and fully restored. Why do you always require so many tools for such a small job?







    Also required was a new LPG regulator and 3m of LPG hose. This was bought and I assembled the whole setup during the past few days.

    The very last outstanding part was the steel casing holder so that I can cast the white metal into a stable and well clamped casing.

    It was time to stand back and let Brain do some thinking! I will support him with some coffee!


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  3. #2
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Traveling a bit forward in time we get to the date of 17-01-2021 ... which is today ...

    Brain has had quite a few ideas after we watched quite a few white metal casting (or Babbit casting) videos on DaTjoep.

    Here is the draft design done in FreeSketch.





    Since I have donated all my bits and bobs of metal, I was stuck with nothing to work with. "Greenhouse ..." Brain mumbled.

    Then I remembered. In the greenhouse I built for my one son many moons back was an old builders bucket with some rusty pieces of iron in. I scratched away and returned with this.






    The flatbar was from a geyser I removed in Stellenbosch more than 36 years ago! Time flies does it not?!

    First step was to give the two pieces some love and brush it clean.






    Measuring and cutting the one piece of flat bar I will need as the one holding plate.





    Both pieces cut, ready for use.






    And I measured against the wrong piece of channel iron ....






    Oh well, "Boer makes a plan" and I will use it as it is.

    Finding the center line and marking out the half circle section I want to cut out.










    Marking the center of the circle and punching it so that the compass can get some grip in life.






    With the center marked, I looked at all my hole saws for the correct size. You guessed correctly. I did not have a 44mm diameter hole saw ....

    Oh well, I went through the same issue and steps to make a bearing puller for the Pajero's gearbox. So by know I know what to do. At least this is not spring steel!!

    Do it by hand, the old fashioned way. I scratched out a curve with a compass I restored and which is at least 90 years old.






    Next step was to cut many slots up to the scratched line. Let's play a game for not trespassing over the line!








    And some more ...






    Then cutting the teeth away ...






    And finally breaking the last bits off with a draadtang. I have no idea what a draadtang is in Ingils. Fencing pliers?? You fight and stab each other with pliers?






    Repeat the process for the locking bar and there we are!






    Onto drum sanding. The only way I can do this is to stick a sanding drum into my drill press and jack the RPMs up a bit.






    I clamped the steel piece in a small plank which secures it and allows me very good control.






    And ... off we go! Sanding away.






    Starting to shape!






    Some more sanding and some more sanding and some more sanding and some more sanding ... and first fitting.






    Take away a bit here and a tad there and siedaar,






    The clamping plate fits perfectly!


    Next step was to drill the fastening holes for the holding plate.






    And reaming the holes.







    There we are, ready to be mounted and sanded.






    Mounted and ready to be sanded. Oh yeah, you are right I did mention that did I not?






    Sanding ... and fitting







    Sanding ....... and fitting







    Sanding ................... and fitting






    Sanding .......................................... and fitting







    Yeah, all done and first check if it will work.










    Looks like it will work so onto drilling the mounting holes in the channel iron.






    And it is here where I realised that both the flat bar and the channel iron do not have flat surfaces.











    So onto some more grinding and sanding until I achieved a level surface no light could ever think of penetrating below the straight edge.








    Same for the two plate's underbellies ... underbellies should be the underside of the belly which therefore should be the top??








    A second "let's see if it will work" looksee








    Me thinks it wills works. Brain nods and gives a thumbs up!

    Onto marking out the locking plate and the center dowel's fastening holes.






    Drilled and tapped to M8 ...






    And a third "let's see if it will work" looksee.








    A test run shows that it will work very well and can actually hold the steel casing solidly in place. ooooops ... sorry ....

    To prevent the clamp from rusting in future I added some phosphoric acid and kept it in place with a cloth. It will now stand overnight and hopefully will be sealed and ready for use tomorrow!






    Brain is happy, I am happy and so is the quality inspector. The Chow Chow if you do not follow my lathe thread!





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  5. #3
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Interesting, the cutting and filling bit.

    I would have cain drilled it and then file it.

    Nice work.
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by jfh View Post
    Interesting, the cutting and filling bit.

    I would have cain drilled it and then file it.

    Nice work.
    About all the knife makers do that when they start cutting the profile from the flat bar.
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    Question Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiceman View Post
    About all the knife makers do that when they start cutting the profile from the flat bar.
    Okay, thanks. Just a new thing I learned.

    I was taught to chain drill by a A/C sheet metal worker.
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  10. #6
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    On your first post I thought to myself "boetie jy vat'n laaang kans"

    Then I saw the rest, you are not a boetie anymore rather a toppie and one that has the necessary skill and patience to pull this off. Please continue sharing I think you might jus pull this impossible task off. Keeping fingers crossed for you
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  12. #7
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by hbannink View Post
    On your first post I thought to myself "boetie jy vat'n laaang kans"

    Then I saw the rest, you are not a boetie anymore rather a toppie and one that has the necessary skill and patience to pull this off. Please continue sharing I think you might jus pull this impossible task off. Keeping fingers crossed for you
    Dankie Henk, hou sommer jou tone ook gekruis!

  13. #8
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    I just came across your thread, I have someone who had to cast white metal bearings for an engine someone was restoring. You can guess he couldnot find suitable replacements. If you dont come right PM me and Ill send you his number. Good luck.
    Last edited by Wylie E; 2021/01/18 at 01:02 AM.

  14. #9
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Wylie E View Post
    I just came across your thread, I have someone who had to cast white metal bearings for an engine someone was restoring. You can guess he couldnot find suitable replacements. If you dont come right PM me and Ill send you his number. Good luck.
    Thanks Wylie E, much appreciated. I will ask if I do not get this working!

  15. #10
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    This evening I gathered by self by the boot straps and lifted myself into action ...

    Time to test the clamping casing holder I made. It needs to be heated to the same temperature before casting of the white metal in the bush can be done. If the white metal cools down too rapidly my Metallurgy 101 at Uni taught me that the crystals will grow to rapidly and not form a strong "solid" piece of metal.

    To allow me to get the holder up to temperature quickly I used a piece of channel iron for one single reason. I want to use heat the complete steel clamping casing holder using the same working principle of a rocket stove.

    For those of you who do not know what a rocket stove is here is a picture from Da'Web.





    My version of the stove is not as fancy but I am not going to burn wood.






    First step was to see how well my restoration of the Cadac torch was. I connected it to the new regulator I bought and I only obtained a zero flame ....

    Started checking from regulator to control valve on the torch and something was wrong. It does not allow gas to pass. I disassembled it once more and then saw I missed a groove where an O-ring must be fitted to seal the spindle. With the O-ring fitted the clearances were correct and gas flowed to the front of the torch but not out of it. I stripped the jet with the small orifice once again and saw that the hole was in fact a tad too small. It must have been banged about and the edge of the tiny hole banged over. I used a syringe needle to drill the hole open again.

    Now we had a flame!

    Alas a tiny one! I then realised that the little round springy thing to control the air volume by closing holes is missing. I made a new one and voila! I had a large flame!

    However this was not a roaring flame. Off came the new regulator on went the high pressure regulator.





    Now I had a massive roaring flame!



    Ready to go and test my rocket stove based steel clamping casing holder. I think I must to like NASA and abbreviate it to SCCH. I placed a brick in front of the furthest opening and set fire to the backside of the SCCH.





    It works really well and it took a few minutes to heat to the correct temperature of about 240°C. How do I test for this? I pulled out my super dooper Covid temperature scanner and measured ... 32 °C. As usual ...

    No, I am above these silly cheap rubbish temperature scanners. I touched the heated steel with a piece of paper and it immediately blackened.






    Why on earth would I do this? The first correct answer will win a trip to Noupoort station for two!

    So one checked done. It works!

    Next step is to see if I can get tin onto the inside of the steel bush. I got my goodies out and neatly ordered them around the heated SCCH.





    Dunking the toothbrush into the liquid flux, I rubbed the flux all over the inside of the casing.








    And some more ...






    Then onto heating the casing to get the flux to clean the inside surface.





    Another way to heat the inside surface ??






    Nope, there will be a piece of wood there where the hole is!

    Rubbing with the stainless steel wire brush I managed to get the steel more or less clean or so I thought. I then started tinning and it did like a well.

    The tin simply ran to the bottom of the casing. I obviously could not get the flux to clean the surface well enough.

    I therefore put the casing horisontal and tried again.





    Rubbing with the stainless steel wire brush I managed to get the steel more or less clean or so I thought. I then started tinning and it did not go as it should. The tin and flux and the flame makes a lot of black soot or rubbish and I do not get a smooth and complete tinned surface.






    I looked at the SCCH and that was well tinned! So obviously something in this steel casing creates contaminants and or non-sticking areas I simply cannot get clean.






    Lesson learned. Make a new casing from another source of metal or go for brass.I will also try and find some brazing flux as this should work on steel. I just need to check if this brazing flux will allow tin to bond to the steel. I need a zinc chloride flux, but ask that of any salesman and he gets this blank expression ...

    I will discuss these options with Uncle Brian tomorrow and see if he can turn me another casing from some other source of steel or use brass.

    Well as I always say, if everything works the first time, you have missed something serious.

    I am getting there. Interesting process this and you need a LOT of patience.

    Brain is so busy designing the lathe's new wiring circuits he did not even chirp or comment on my lessons of the day! Oh well ...


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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by mygoggie View Post
    I will also try and find some brazing flux as this should work on steel. I just need to check if this brazing flux will allow tin to bond to the steel. I need a zinc chloride flux, but ask that of any salesman and he gets this blank expression ...
    You possibly need the flux they use for lead wiping. I have some here. Pop around with your casing and we can give it a try.
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    By the look of it the solder wire you used were Rosin core. Rosin core is for electrical components.

    Acid core works better on metal surfaces as the acid cleans the surface during the solder process.

    Also think you applied to much heat judging by the color of the metal. When using a flame you need to take extra care.
    Solder melt around 190deg C.

    You will get the best results by first tinning the bush with Tinning compound like TinSol. In person I prefer TinSol powder.
    Easiest will be to have the bush on it side slowly turning it. Put some powder on the inside and heat very mild till it melds and start sticking to tinning surface. Add powder and turn till completely tinned.
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Brain did give some time to my problem during the nightly hours and this morning when I made coffee he explained to me something to the effect of: "Heat gun test".

    I had no idea why I needed to test my heat gun. I know it is a bit broken so why do I need to test it?



    Then I realised what Brain meant!

    Do another tinning test run on a clean piece of steel using the heat gun to heat the steel.

    Off I went to put on my workshop clothes and clean a piece of metal. Sommer the off-cut piece of the SCCH project!

    Cleaned piece being heated by the heat gun. I could do some other work while this heating process was going one so I did not waste any time! Time is money and money makes the world spin. Or ... so I am told...






    Flux applied and wiped off with a linen rag.






    The first run with the tin gave a very good coating!






    Brushing the surplus tin away with the stainless brush on the Dremel tool went quickly and was surprisingly effective.






    There we are! A perfectly tinned steel surface!






    Logical conclusion is that the first prototype casing has something in the steel that is causing all the nonsense. I went to uncle Brian this morning and discussed the problems. He agrees that the steel is "not good". So next step is to use some Sched 40 piping and see what we can achieve.

    So far so good in terms of lessons!




  20. #14
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by grips View Post
    By the look of it the solder wire you used were Rosin core. Rosin core is for electrical components.

    Acid core works better on metal surfaces as the acid cleans the surface during the solder process.

    Also think you applied to much heat judging by the color of the metal. When using a flame you need to take extra care.
    Solder melt around 190deg C.

    You will get the best results by first tinning the bush with Tinning compound like TinSol. In person I prefer TinSol powder.
    Easiest will be to have the bush on it side slowly turning it. Put some powder on the inside and heat very mild till it melds and start sticking to tinning surface. Add powder and turn till completely tinned.
    Thanks for the info @grips! No, this is solid tin (OK 3% copper). The melting point is in the order of 234°C give or take a quarter of a degree either way.

    @ghouwens has some paint-on flux so I will make use of his offer if the new casings give me problems.

    I appreciate your guys' input. Gives me more insight into how to tin steel. I know how to tin do copper, brass etc but not steel. Steel I always braze or weld. Yeah, always something new to learn!
    Last edited by mygoggie; 2021/01/20 at 03:10 PM.

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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by mygoggie View Post
    Thanks for the info @grips! No, this is solid tin (OK 3% copper). The melting point is in the order of 234°C give or take a quarter of a degree either way.

    @ghouwens has some paint-on flux so I will make use of his offer if the new casings give me problems.

    I appreciate your guys' input. Gives me more insight into how to tin steel. I know how to tin do copper, brass etc but not steel. Steel I always braze or weld. Yeah, always something new to learn!
    I guess I very lucky when I did my Millwright course in the mid 80`s we did 8 weeks of welding. Part of the training were gas welding.
    Have learned to do soldering with oxygen, acetylene gas welding sets. Using a carburising flame setting. Even aluminium with gas.
    We use TinSol on all mild steel surfaces for tinning before attempting any form of soldering.

    Have done a few white metal castings on electric motors. Still have a few bearing scrapers.

    Give it a go I am following with interest
    It is not what you buy its what you build.

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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Maybe you can first pickle the piece of pipe to remove most of the contamination, or is that only done on non-ferrous metals?

  23. #17
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by grips View Post
    We use TinSol on all mild steel surfaces for tinning
    I fell of my feet today when I saw what Tin-Sol costs!

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  25. #18
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Is that the same as silver solder?
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  26. #19
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by jfh View Post
    Is that the same as silver solder?
    The same order of price yes. Tin-Sol is just the flux with tinning inside the powder as I understand things.
    Last edited by mygoggie; 2021/01/20 at 10:19 PM.

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  28. #20
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    Default Re: White metal casting for restoration

    That solder wire looks like plumbing solder, it has no flux or acid core at all. If memory serves me right red is rosin core, green is acid core and black is plumbing. Why not try the plumbing flux, it is an acid based pasteso it tends to clean pretty well and if that is plumbing solder it has a high capillary action. I also think that it melts at a slightly lower temp and is a bit harder than the other two that I mentioned, also takes a lot longer to tarnish.

    I had a water tank with stress cracks that I had to seal again. At first I battled to get the solder to "take" but in the end a combination of plumbing flux and hydrochloric acid combined with enough heat made an excellent job.
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