Tool Steel

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Tool Steel Product Guide

The term “tool steel” applies to a wide range of carbon and alloy steels that are often used in manufacturing various types of tools. Tool steel production is conducted on a significantly lower scale compared to steel used in consumer products. However, the implementation of stringent quality control processes guarantees that a specific grade of tool steel will be capable of carrying out some function like machining or perforating.

Also, tool steel is often used in the heat-treated condition. And due to the increased proportions of minerals such as vanadium and niobium that are included in several high-carbon tool steels, these steels also have greater corrosion resistance. 

Water Hardening (W-Grades)

This is essentially high-carbon alloy steel. While it is less expensive in general, it cannot be employed in situations involving extreme temperatures. Although this steel can reach a high hardness, it is not as durable as other tool steels due to its brittleness. However, water quenching is required for all W-Grade tool steels, which increases the likelihood of warping and breaking.

Some common use of W-Grade tool steel includes reamers, cutlery, embossing, and cold heading. Other typical applications include cutting knives and tools.

Air Hardening (A-Grades)

As a result of the increased quantity of chromium, this A-Grades tool steel is very adaptable and may be used for a wide variety of applications. It has a low distortion effect during the heat treatment process. This tool steel is easy to machine and offers an excellent blend of hardness and wear resistance. 

A-Grade tool steel is used for a variety of applications, including cold shear knives, arbors, blanking, die bending, coining, embossing, cold forming, cams, lamination, cold swaging, cold trimming, gauges, chipper knives, embossing, woodworking knives, and lathe center knives, among other things.

D Type (D-Grades)

This tool steel has a high carbon and chromium content and is air-hardenable. It was designed to have both resistance to abrasion and air hardening properties in one product. These tool steels are often used to make drawing dies, forging dies, and die blocks for casting.

Some typical use of D-Grade include Burnishing Tools, File Cutting, Paper Cutters, Die Bending, Blanking, Coining, Cold Heading Die Inserts, Embossing, Cold Extrusion, Cold Forming, Lamination, Cold Swaging, Thread Roll, Cold Trimming, Wire Drawing, Gages, Paper Knives, Rotary Slitters, Cold Shear Knives, Woodworking Knives, Knurling tools, and Lathe Center Knives.

Oil Hardening (O-Grades)

This tool steel has oil-hardening properties and is suitable for general-purpose use. It provides excellent abrasion and hardness for a wide variety of applications.

O-Grade tool steel is used for various applications such as Arbors, Bushing, Chasers (Thread Cutting), Collets, Die Blanking, Cold Forming, Cold Trimming, Drill Bushing, Gages, and Knurling Tools, among others.

Shock resisting types (S-Grades)

This type of tool steel has been designed to resist shock at low or high temperatures (E.g. Jackhammer bits). Its low carbon content is required to achieve the necessary toughness. This group of metals has high impact toughness, but a low abrasion resistance.

Typical applications of S-Grade tool steel include Battering Tools, Boiler-Shop Tools, Chisel Blacksmiths, Chisel Cold Working, Chisel Hot Working, Chuck Jaws, Clutch Parts, Collets, Cold Gripper, Hot Gripper, Cold Swaging, Hot Swaging, Hot Trimming, Chipper Knives, Cold Shear and Hot Shear. 

Hot-Working (H-Grades)

This particular set of tool steels is used when the material being cut is heated to a high temperature. The H-Group has increased tensile and compressive strengths to withstand high temperatures for longer periods. They have a low carbon content and a reasonable amount of other alloys.

Some of the most common uses of H-Grade tool steel are Cold Heading Die Cases (for Die Casting), Hot Extrusion Die Casting Dies and Cores (for Aluminum and Magnesium), and hot extrusion Dummy Blocks (Hot Extrusion), as well as hot shear knives.

Tool steel is often used to create tools due to its hardness, abrasion resistance, and ability to sustain high pressures. Metal Supermarkets provides customers with access to a comprehensive selection of tool steel grades, forms, and dimensions. To learn more about tool steel, stop by a Metal Supermarkets shop near you or browse our online catalog.

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