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Thread: Tool for identifying stainless steel and aluminum

  1. #1
    wayne1956 started this thread.
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    Tool for identifying stainless steel and aluminum

    As with many folks here sometimes it is hard to distinguish whether that silvery metal is stainless steel or aluminum after you have done the magnet test. As we all know stainless throws a spark while aluminum does not. I found a cheap tool at Harbor Freight you might want to think about. It is a Rotary Tool Set. Basically a small high speed drill, and there is a bunch of attachments for it, including small thin cutoff wheels. This can be used to do the spark test, without lugging a cumbersome angle grinder around. It has many other wheels too, so can be used for many other things. The cost is $10.99, and if you have a 20% off coupon then it is less than 10 bucks, and that is including tax.


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    I have one wayne and you're right, it's great for that.....it's like a "made in China" Dremel.

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    I just take my hatchet and scratch it, if it has a dull scratch>aluminum, if it has a shiny scratch>stainless. Aluminum does not reflect the light as well as stainless or other metals. Plus its soft, like comparing butter to ice, if all else fails, I take a wack at it with the hatchet and if it shaves off a nice chunk....voila aluminum. Plus if its something to pick up, you can tell by the weight.

    P.S. did I mention I love my hatchet lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitiaMetals View Post
    P.S. did I mention I love my hatchet lol
    Gotta love the multi-purpose tools that never need charging! Great tip.
    Recyclable Material Merchant Wholesaler
    Certified Zip-Tie Mechanic
    "Give them enough so they can do something with it, but not too much that they won't do nothing."

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    seems like I do recall you mentioning something about that hatchet...lol....maybe you should change your handle to "hatchetman"

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    I go with what MilitiaMetals said. I just give it a good hit an see if its soft or hard.

    If its thin another thing you can do is try to bend it.

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    I just look at it and feel the weight. A whitish-silver light metal is aluminum. More gray and heavier is stainless. A magnet tells you what kind of stainless. Chrome plating almost always has a mirror like finish. Zinc is dull gray and heavy and fairly soft.

    I guess after you look at this stuff long enough, you can tell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dumpster Dee View Post
    seems like I do recall you mentioning something about that hatchet...lol....maybe you should change your handle to "hatchetman"
    Funny Dee, I was thinking Molly Hatchet when I started reading this thread.

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    Plus a cheap dremel can be run off a standard power inverter, The angle grinder cannot.

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    for $10.00 I don't see why not!!!


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