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Shaft Key Material

Shaft Key Material

Shaft Key Material

I have a nonstandard keyway due to space constraints and I'm woried about compression.  Is there any reason I can't stray away from standard keystock (1018 or 1045) and use something harder like 4140 Q&T?

RE: Shaft Key Material

You run the risk of damaging the shaft in the event of an overload.  Keys are intended to be sacrificial.

RE: Shaft Key Material

Thanks. I though that was the reason, but I was wondering if there were any other reasons.   

RE: Shaft Key Material

There is no reason that you can't use a harder material, I've used hardened keys in the past with much success.  Just keep in mind what mintjulep said, but you almost always have some repair considerations when a key shears, regardless of material.

RE: Shaft Key Material

This is an interesting question.  However, you should be careful to consider what the industrial mechanic will replace this key with if they have a failure of some type.  We recently had some issues with keys fretting and found out that our stock room was stocking 6x6 keystock material incorrectly (using 6x6 square stock c-1018.  The tolerances are greater +0/-0.078, whereas keystock is +0-0.030.


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