Originally Posted by Dan
Really like "that polished look" ...
There is also a type of steel called "free-machining steel" that is made specially to cut easily and cleanly. It costs more money than plain 4130 tho', and you may have to mail-order it. $$$ Free machining steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Most free-machining steel isn't weldable
though,,,, which may another concern. 4130 steel is the best all-around type (brazes, welds and machines fairly easily).
The local place I got to sells new material and scrap. Mainly I buy 4130 steel and 6061 aluminum as those are the best all-around types, for thicker pieces. Mild steel and 5052 aluminum are also good for thick pieces, if that's all they have or it's cheaper.
If you're buying scrap or drop steel to do machining on, just tell the guy that you don't
want anything extra-hard, like tooling plate. Also any round solid shafts with a keyway already cut, are probably already hardened as well. ...You can cut that material if you need to, but you will need carbide tools, you'll need use coolant while cutting, and it's still gonna take a looooong
time. IMO not worth the hassle unless you need to use it.