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If you need to make a special die, for any type hammer, what is your favorite steel to use. Do you pick them because you can harden them yourself or are you looking for a certain toughness or hardness? Or do you stick with stock dies from your hammer manufacturer? How about all of you tire or junkyard hammer guys, you have to make your own. What are the benefits that you all have found to the steels you like? If this is a topic already discussed please let me know, I didn't see it. Thanks

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We will use H13 for normal hammer dies (ie flat). We sometimes have need to fit special dies to our small hammers for forging things like an order for 5000 off brake shoe keys. I have normally used 4340 for this application, we get about 8000 keys to 10000 keys before we need to skim the dies in the shaper.

Phil

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Im going to start using 4340... Pretty much because I bought 1920 lbs of 3 x 5 4340 bar today at an auction..

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You dog Larry, nice score!


We will use H13 for normal hammer dies (ie flat). We sometimes have need to fit special dies to our small hammers for forging things like an order for 5000 off brake shoe keys. I have normally used 4340 for this application, we get about 8000 keys to 10000 keys before we need to skim the dies in the shaper.

Phil


10000, holly @#$% thats some production, I think the most I ever made of one thing was in the 2 to 3 thousand range, what is you biggest number of parts you have made Phil?
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Dies from the manufacturer? I know not of that of which you speak.... I use 4140. My reason? I came into several tons of the stuff when Naval Ordinance closed! I had some 2375 and some T-15 but mostly its 4140. I gave away the 2375 years back and the 21/2" round T14 just doesn't do anything when I put it under the hammer! 4140 is easy enough to work and pretty commonly available. I do have a friend who buys old drop forging dies aneals them and cuts them up for his hammers. The steel is some special Finkle alloy, expensive stuff but I am not sure its worth the trouble.

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I have used both H13 and 4340 with great results. I have access to a very good heat treating plant and they charge about $80 for 80lbd of 4340 Usually I can get 3-4 pairs of dies treated for this price. These dies have functioned much better than those I have heat treated and quite frankly at that price I cant afford to heat treat dies myself.

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Dies from the manufacturer? I know not of that of which you speak.... I use 4140. My reason? I came into several tons of the stuff when Naval Ordinance closed! I had some 2375 and some T-15 but mostly its 4140. I gave away the 2375 years back and the 21/2" round T14 just doesn't do anything when I put it under the hammer! 4140 is easy enough to work and pretty commonly available. I do have a friend who buys old drop forging dies aneals them and cuts them up for his hammers. The steel is some special Finkle alloy, expensive stuff but I am not sure its worth the trouble.


Finkl is in Chicago. http://www.finkl.com/About.aspx
I have used the Finkl FX2 die steel for my 3B dies. A recut drop hammer die as you say.

I did no secondary heat treatment to the blocks, but they were soft enough to machine ...I have had them on the hammer for only one job run so its too soon to tell if I need to heat treat them further. I wish I had more of it though.

H13 and 4340 were on my list, but I had this 350 pound bottom die so....

Ric
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I have used both H13 and 4340 with great results. I have access to a very good heat treating plant and they charge about $80 for 80lbd of 4340 Usually I can get 3-4 pairs of dies treated for this price. These dies have functioned much better than those I have heat treated and quite frankly at that price I cant afford to heat treat dies myself.

Where you been Ken Making any cool stuff?
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You dog Larry, nice score!



10000, holly @#$% thats some production, I think the most I ever made of one thing was in the 2 to 3 thousand range, what is you biggest number of parts you have made Phil?

Brake shoe keys normally come in orders of 5000 off each. The largest run we have had of them was about 15000 at one time in 3 or 4 orders at once. I have'nt actually stood there and forged that many, we have apprentices for that, we pay them a time based bonus when they work shoe keys. It teaches the boys to be real good at drawing tapers to a lenght and makes them real good at getting mulitple Nos of forgings the same. They can normally forge between 150 to 230 a day depending on how applied they are, if they are buying a house and need the bonus, they normally get real good real fast.
When I was an apprentice it was forging of flight bar ends fixed and loose, then it was not a case of how many blanks are in a 44 gal drum rather how many drums there are on a semi trailer and how many semi's arrive in a month, at the end it must have numbered in the 100s of 1000s that I forged. (flight bars are fabricated hollow bars used in a flight chain in a shuttle car used in underground coal mining, and we are told that Newcastle NSW is the biggest coal export port in the world, so there are a lot of shuttle cars used in the mines around here still, flight bar ends are used in the ends of the bars to engage in the flight chain). I know it's not really interesting work, but it pays the bills and allows us to train people, I suppose that after the 3000th scroll that would not be that interesting either.

Phil
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Since I made my hammer, I have to make any die I would want for it. The ones I have made so far are made from RR track because it was free :P. I just cut the rail from the web and shaped it to the desired shape, pre-heated it and then welded it to a mounting plate. I used 1/2" mild plate for mounting plate. I had them bolted to the hammer ram and anvil to prevent warpage while I was building the hammer. I suppose I will have to make jig to bolt to make the next set because I don't want to take the hammer apart and I'm not fond of overhead welding :rolleyes:

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Jeff,
I use 4140 hardened to about RC40. Easy to machine when annealed easy to harden and welds fine with 7018 rod.
Ted

Ok, I am going to assume that you preheat this to weld it with lo-hi. For hardening, (I probably should have shifted to the hardening section)do you flame harden this and oil quench, just surface harden it, or heat the whole die. My problem is I worked in a heat treat shop for 2 years and I get real comfortable with "time and temp". I know how to do this in a Hayes vaccuum furnace but I have never worked with this in the real world. Any pointers?
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