westerwald

Is 4140 a decent die steel?

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I have access to some 4140 and a2 pieces big enough to machine dies out of. What are your thoughts on these steels? The owner wants 15 cents a lb (scrap pricing).

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I use A2 for guillotene blades and tools. It is Air Cooled hardening, so it is pretty easy to use. Kind of overkill for tools used for hot forming, but it works well.

4140 for Dies is a good choice, there is some debate between it and S7.......

I say at that price get some.

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at that price buy it all


i just paid 30 cents a pound for mild steel........i thought that was pretty good

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Expand on what you mean by "dies" please, that covers a lot of territory. Hammer dies, spring dies, big, little? You talking hammer dies? How big? I would probably feel fine using 4140 for flat dies in a 25 lb Little Giant, But in a 4 inch cross section for a 300 + lb hammer 4140 won't harden well enough or deep enough. You get the idea.

Yeah, at that price, buy all you can get!

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I also puchased some 4140 but was not hardened. Once the dies are cut and finished how do you harden them? at what temp and how long. Sorry new to this. Just finishing off tire hammer. Thanks

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plenty of information here if you search for Heat treating. Welcome to I Forge Iron.

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The dies on my 25 and 100 # hammers are 4140 and seem to hold up fine.
The dies on my 200# Beaudry [4''x8''x4 1/2''] are the same material but seem kind of soft. The only real problem is that spring dies fixed in the hammer get scale under them and that chews the bottom die up a bit .
I usually put a sacrificial piece of copper sheet under the swage if I am doing multiple pieces.
I'd rather have the dies be a bit soft than risk them chipping. They do seem to work harden over time.
Man, it was HOT in front of that fire today !

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4140 is an alloy that will quench crack if you quench it too hard. So for smaller pieces it needs to be oil quenched, and for something like hammer dies that will give you a hard skin with a slightly softer/tougher body underneath. Thats why it was used to make shafting so much in the past, reasonably wear resistant skin over a tough body. On decent sized dies like on Steve's Beaudry or larger you can get a nice sweetspot that wears into the dies over time. I like slightly harder steels for hammer dies, cause I use lots of harder tool steels. BUT that is me, I have lots of tool steel drops, use what you have available. If you have enough you can make a set of small dies, and a bigger set of dies. Smaller flat dies can act like drawing dies and get more bang for your buck on a small hammer, large flat dies are nice if you would like to be able to use some furniture on your hammer like when bending the bow on tongs. If you want to do free form forging with little to no extra tooling then crown or drawing dies might be more to your liking... Buy the 4140, and try it out, when you come across more steel suited for making hammer dies you can make more, and try something else.

"Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly 'the first time' then you can get better..."

"Nothing Ventured, Nothing gained."

It is amazing what you can do, when you foolishly and stubbornly refuse to except that something is "impossible." There are all kinds of wonderful stories of men who needed to do something, and did not allow themselves to be bound by other peoples (or even their own) doubts. "Well I can't throw money at this, how do I get it done anyway???"

Edited by Fionnbharr (finn:-)

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On 6/2/2009 at 9:04 AM, Steve Sells said:

plenty of information here if you search for Heat treating. Welcome to I Forge Iron.

 

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