View Full Version : Source for ball bearings
I am in the process of making some clamps/positioners for holding smaller items that need to be welded or brazed, and to accomplish this I need to find a source for some new or used steel balls/bearings that are weldable. To these balls I will be welding some 3/8" rod which will be welded to vise grips, so I guess the size of ball I would need would be about 5/8". I did find some in a dumpster that came from some heavy equipment axle bearings, but I could not get a good weld on them even with preheat, and they were to large anyways. I have checked with local bearing businesses and found 1 that could get what I need, but will not sell directly to me because I don't have a business license. Any leads or information would be greatly appreciated.............thanks.
Look in the yellow pages and find someone that rebuilds automobile axles. A local shop in my area gives them away by the bucket load.
02-20-2004, 12:35 PM
Check the dumpster at the local CAT shop, or pop apart the scrap wheel bearings from an automotive shop.
Welding them is a bitch, gas welding with steel will work, if you must electric weld, 309 stainless will deliver the best result.
the steel yard sells different sized balls in their fence shelf.
02-20-2004, 06:46 PM
There is also ebay. Do a search on 'steel balls' Ignore the hits you get on the body piercing BS. Just got 52 total hits (about 45 of them on body piercing stuff). Some stainless steel ones and also some carbon ones currently beign auctioned. Sometimes they have a lot more selections too.
I want some for yard art projects. Maybe I'll try the local axle places and the cat repair place.
Thanks for the information guys. I did locate and buy a bag of 10 5/8" chrome plated hard balls. It states that they are grade 25 with a hardness of Rockwell C 63. I took Franz's advice and tried welding one with some 309 stainless, but didn't have good results due to my stick skill level I presume. Now my plan is to heat these balls up with the torch to see if I can take some of the hardness out of them along with burning off the chrome, then attempt to drill 3/8" holes half way through them. I will then just silver braze the 3/8" rod into the ball.........anyone see why this would not work, or have any advice on how to make the drilling process work. I suppose I could just by a positioner already made up for less money then I will have in making my own, but then it wouldn't give me any challenges or satisfaction............thanks again.
02-21-2004, 12:29 AM
[QUOTE]Now my plan is to heat these balls up with the torch to see if I can take some of the hardness out of them along with burning off the chrome, then attempt to drill 3/8" holes half way through them. I will then just silver braze the 3/8" rod into the ball.........anyone see why this would not work, or have any advice on how to make the drilling process work.
Well I can just imagine ME trying to drill a 3/8ths hole in a 5/8ths ball!!! Wouldn't be pretty. Maybe do just a tiny inset to hold the position then O/A it.
Make sure you've got all the surface temper out and don't ruin a good bit on something as small as a ball bearing.
Good luck, have fun.
02-21-2004, 01:23 AM
Pat check this out ,these are forged steel,
02-21-2004, 01:40 AM
Be damn careful heating chrome plated balls, or anything else that is chrome plated. That plating can come flying at you real quick.
As far as drilling a bearing ball, good LUCK!
Did you grind the chrome off before you tried welding them?
Run a center drill into the end of the rod, fill the drilled hole with brass, and let it cool.
Grind the chrome off the ball, 150% the diameter of the rod, and set the ball up on a firebrick using a nut or collar to hold the ball and apply a bit of paste flux to the ground area of the ball.
Gently heat the ball from the side with a torch till it is red, and place the end of the rod with the brass on the ball, and continue heating till brass flows. Withdraw the flame, and let the assembly cool.
02-21-2004, 04:08 AM
Thanks for the McMaster link. If my last mentioned mad method does not pan out I will order some from them. I am in the process of experimenting with Franz's brazing recipe. In regards to the McMaster Carr link, can anyone tell me which listed steel composition would be the most receptive to welding, brazing, and drilling...............thanks
02-21-2004, 08:39 AM
could you heat the end of the 3/8 rod till it forms a ball and use that.????
02-24-2004, 02:58 PM
Greenbay Manufacturing Co.
PO Box 56
Two Rivers, Wisconsin 54241-0056
$20.00 minimum order
They've got low carbon soft steel balls from 1/4" diameter to over an inch.
The crazy blacksmiths over on Keenjunk.com turned me on to this. These balls are made from 1010 - 1045.
02-24-2004, 05:34 PM
Those crazy smiths over on keenjunk know their balls!
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