Heatwave Blacksmithing

carbide cutter shank steel identification

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I was wondering what kind of steel is used in the shaft of carbide cutting tools. It certainly needs to be hard and tough but not necessarily high speed steel. Ultimately the question is whether it is worth throwing in the forge and shaping into something.

high speel steel.jpg

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

What did the spark test show? Do you have a set of known test pieces to compare it to?

I made a pocket hot cutter out of the carbide cutter shank with stock removal which should keep the original hardness. I tested the hardness before starting and it was around 47 Rockwell C. The spark test while showed very little spark much like cast iron. Therefore I will suggest that it is ductile iron. For fairly hard material it is surprisingly soft to grind. I have not yet tried it as a hot cutter to see how it stands up to hitting.

pocket hot cutter.jpg

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Welcome aboard Heatwave, gad to have you.

Have you contacted the manufacturer or at least googled the and asked or looked? You're making a couple false assumptions here, the reason there are carbides on the cutter is so the rest of the tool doesn't require high carbon content and it's attendant manufacturing and maintenance processes. I'd be surprised if the cutter is more than the high end of mild steel, low medium maybe. It is CERTAINLY not "high speed" steel, it's sole purpose is to hold carbide bits in precise position against predictable forces.

Only rank beginner machinists tend to break or bend the things.

However the above is not to say it won't make an excellent anvil devil. Please let us know how it works. I've only used salvaged coil spring for making devils and hacks though if you're going to be using a hack on thick stock I recommend H13, coil spring tends to turn into the bacon ingredient in a suddenly emergent piece of art.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I put the carbide cutter shaft into the fire to see what happens and it is the weirdest steel I have ever used. I thought that it would crumble apart but discovered that it is forgeable but moves slowly. I tried to harden it with oil and then water and it will not harden. Therefore it has a low carbon content but I suspect a high alloy content which makes it very tough. I tried the anvil devil (thank you for the proper name) and it worked adequately but being low carbon it will not stand up to the abuse for very long. My conclusion is that this is not a great steel to work with. It makes a great carbide holder but is not worth the effort of forging. The only redeeming quality is that it is high heat resistant but stay with H13 if you want a high heat steel.

Yes, I have a Rockwell tester that I bought cheaply off of a local buy and sell website. It is an old machine that was owned by the Canadian Government and it consistently reads about 3 points low according to my test disk. It is not suitable for a machine shop but it is close enough for smithing.

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Very cool! We use Wilson testing machines for brass where I work; I would never have even thought to look for a similar machine for private use.

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Hi Kuzuzu,

I hate to admit it but I have not tried to recalibrate my machine because I have no idea which thingy to turn. It reads close enough for me. When I use it twice a year, all I do is subtract 3 from the reading. It measures consistently but slightly off. If anybody knows which thingy to move to adjust it, that would be great.

hardness tester1.jpg

hardness tester2.jpg

hardness tester3.jpg

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On 10/20/2018 at 4:45 PM, Frosty said:

Only rank beginner machinists tend to break or bend the things.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

Or Rank beginner operators who hand edit code because they didn't want to go get a program update... This was the result of a tool # changing on the controller and a repost from my program called up the wrong tool and proceeding to rapid into a hole that was suppose to be there....  This is a seco flat bottom insertable drill that seems cast...

 

 

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Okay, that sounds reasonable. I've never run a CNC machine, I know the concept but nothing about the practice.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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"Unranked beginner".

(Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I gotta collet like I see it.)

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Dont worry about it, even the Masters can make misteaks, You can always Chuck that one and start again

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Heatwave machining you have to do a calibration before every measurement. You will find that the pad with the readings rotates, i do not know your machine but you will find a way. 

The procedure is simple. You take a calibrated test piece of steel that you know that has a specific hrc number. You make a measurement with your machine and as it is engaged you rotate the plate with the numbers to correct the reading. Now you are ready to go. 

 

You do that every time you want to measure. 

 

All this for the possibility that your tool works like mine. But that may not be the case. 

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