Metalworking (rec.crafts.metalworking) Discuss various aspects of working with metal, such as machining, welding, metal joining, screwing, casting, hardening/tempering, blacksmithing/forging, spinning and hammer work, sheet metal work.

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Old November 8th 03, 05:48 PM
George Watson
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets

so I thought would it be possible to make my own in a crucible by mixing
scrap stainless, mild steel and a measured amount of powdered graphite to up
the carbon content

anyone got any idea if this could work?

TIA

George



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Old November 8th 03, 06:10 PM
Ian Stirling
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

George Watson wrote:
I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets

so I thought would it be possible to make my own in a crucible by mixing
scrap stainless, mild steel and a measured amount of powdered graphite to up
the carbon content

anyone got any idea if this could work?


Sure, once you've got the appropriate crucible, furnace, temperature
controller, exact specs of the alloy you require and your ingredients,
it's almost trivial.

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Old November 8th 03, 06:33 PM
Jon Grimm
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

almost trivial.

much like income taxes =)


"Ian Stirling" wrote in message
...
George Watson wrote:
I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets

so I thought would it be possible to make my own in a crucible by

mixing
scrap stainless, mild steel and a measured amount of powdered graphite

to up
the carbon content

anyone got any idea if this could work?


Sure, once you've got the appropriate crucible, furnace, temperature
controller, exact specs of the alloy you require and your ingredients,
it's almost trivial.



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Old November 8th 03, 08:15 PM
Ed Huntress
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

"George Watson" wrote in message
...
I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets

so I thought would it be possible to make my own in a crucible by mixing
scrap stainless, mild steel and a measured amount of powdered graphite to

up
the carbon content

anyone got any idea if this could work?


Yes, and the idea is "no." They don't mix alloy steels that way. There is an
order, and there are fluxes (some constituents are pellets coated like M&M's
with fluxing and intersolute materials). They don't use scrap to make tool
steel. There is a lot of metallurgical control required to make anything
worthwhile.

Without remelt capabilities (electroslag or vacuum-arc remelt; don't even
consider it), the quality you could produce would be so much lower than any
European- or American-made tool steel that it wouldn't be worthwhile. You'd
be competing with China at the junk end of the scale.

Sorry to sound so discouraging, but you're barking up the wrong tree. Why
don't you consider getting a bunch of people together to buy in some
quantity?

Ed Huntress


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Old November 8th 03, 08:56 PM
Ted Edwards
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

George Watson wrote:

I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets


I make a lot of tools from old car/truck springs both leaf and coil.
Easy to anneal, machine, grind, forge, harden and temper.

Ted




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Old November 8th 03, 09:52 PM
Tim Williams
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

"Ed Huntress" wrote in message
news
Without remelt capabilities (electroslag or vacuum-arc remelt; don't even
consider it), the quality you could produce would be so much lower than

any
European- or American-made tool steel that it wouldn't be worthwhile.


But not necessarily not worth trying...
Could do it the way they did in the 1700s - take mild steel bars (they
used wrought iron), chop them up into 1/4" cubes, rods, whatever, bury
in charcoal and heat for a few days to give a good thick case hardening
on the stuff, then melt in a crucible furnace (yes you can melt steel
with coal or charcoal). Hopefully the center will still be soft and
mild, while the outer layer will be near cast iron in carbon content;
when these melt together, you get something inbetween.

Begs the question, why didn't they just take wrought and a little cast
iron, melt the one and pour the other into it. Maybe they couldn't
get it quite hot enough to melt the nearly-pure steel. (What a difference
just 100F makes!) Or they didn't make the connection.. but this was
still going on during the 19th century when they had the chemistry.
And then Bessemer came along...

Tim

--
"That's for the courts to decide." - Homer Simpson
Website @ http://webpages.charter.net/dawill/tmoranwms


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Old November 8th 03, 10:09 PM
Ed Huntress
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

"Tim Williams" wrote in message
...
"Ed Huntress" wrote in message
news
Without remelt capabilities (electroslag or vacuum-arc remelt; don't

even
consider it), the quality you could produce would be so much lower than

any
European- or American-made tool steel that it wouldn't be worthwhile.


But not necessarily not worth trying...
Could do it the way they did in the 1700s - take mild steel bars (they
used wrought iron), chop them up into 1/4" cubes, rods, whatever, bury
in charcoal and heat for a few days to give a good thick case hardening
on the stuff, then melt in a crucible furnace (yes you can melt steel
with coal or charcoal). Hopefully the center will still be soft and
mild, while the outer layer will be near cast iron in carbon content;
when these melt together, you get something inbetween.

Begs the question, why didn't they just take wrought and a little cast
iron, melt the one and pour the other into it. Maybe they couldn't
get it quite hot enough to melt the nearly-pure steel. (What a difference
just 100F makes!) Or they didn't make the connection.. but this was
still going on during the 19th century when they had the chemistry.
And then Bessemer came along...


If the idea is to recreate the processes that produced the tool steels of
the 19th century, then have at it. If the idea is to save money by making
your own tool steel, and if you're comparing it with a modern tool steel,
then it ain't gonna happen.

Those experiments are fun and satisfying. But I got the impression that the
poster was just trying to save money.

Ed Huntress


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Old November 9th 03, 01:32 AM
Harold & Susan Vordos
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel


"Ted Edwards" wrote in message
...
George Watson wrote:

I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets


I make a lot of tools from old car/truck springs both leaf and coil.
Easy to anneal, machine, grind, forge, harden and temper.

Ted

Great idea, but far from modern high quality tool steel. The tool steels of
today are not necessarily just carbon steel and don't necessarily rely on
the carbon cycle for hardness. There are tool steels that have no iron in
their makeup.

Precipitation hardening steels are a good example of steels that don't
exclusively rely on carbon for hardness. Are you familiar with Vasco-Max?
Vasco-Max 350 is capable of tensile strength of 350,000 PSI. Try getting
that out of carbon steel.

I agree with Ed, trying to duplicate super alloy tool steels of today in
order to save a few bucks is insanity. Doing it for fun, on the other
hand, would be an interesting experience, one that would give the
experimenter tremendous respect for those that are making fine quality tool
steels with reliable characteristics using modern technology and
sophisticated equipment. Some things are best left to those with
knowledge and proper tooling, particularly for analysis in process to
control the end result.

That's my take on it, anyway.

Harold



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Old November 9th 03, 04:16 AM
Ljwebb11
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

George Watson wrote:

I have notice when buying tool steel the smaller the quanity you buy the
more expensive it gets


If you are ordering from the tool supply houses, the price is extremely high.
You can get a better price directly from the tool steel houses, but you need
quantity.
I bought 500lbs of A-2 last week for about 75 cents a pound.
Some of the tool steel houses will sell remnants cheap.
I try to keep at least a 1000lbs of tool steel on hand at all times. I have an
aversion to paying full price and am always on the lookout for deals.
Tough to find a deal on a small quantity.

I remember buying a length of S-7 hollow bar that had a shipping sticker from
from McMaster-Carr on it. From Mc-M it would have cost $140. I paid $20 for it.
You just gotta get out there and dig for the deals.

Les
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Old November 9th 03, 10:25 AM
Gary Coffman
 
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Default "homemade" tool steel

On Sat, 8 Nov 2003 16:32:34 -0800, "Harold & Susan Vordos" wrote:
"Ted Edwards" wrote in message
...
I make a lot of tools from old car/truck springs both leaf and coil.
Easy to anneal, machine, grind, forge, harden and temper.

Ted

Great idea, but far from modern high quality tool steel. The tool steels of
today are not necessarily just carbon steel and don't necessarily rely on
the carbon cycle for hardness. There are tool steels that have no iron in
their makeup.


No iron?

Gary


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