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W1 steel cracking under hydraulic press

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Recently, I have been having issues with my steel forming cracks when I'm drawing it out under my Hydraulic press. My first thought was that I was forging too cold, so I heated the steel to the max temp that my forge will produce and cracks still formed. I tried this with W1 steel from two separate bars and the result didn't change, so I don't think that the steel was already cracked. If you have any input, I would love to solve this problem.

P.s. I'm new to using a press, so it's possible that I'm doing something I shouldn't be. If there are any techniques that you could share to help me, they would be much appreciated.

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Welcome aboard... I can't help with the press problem, but I'm sure some who have encountered that problem will be along shortly. In the meantime, I suggest reading this to get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST    It is full of tips like editing your profile to show your location (you never know how many members are near you that could help). Other tips include how to do a search and get the best results along with how to keep the moderators happy.

I do know there is a narrow temperature range W1 can be forged at. This from a data sheet.

Quote

"Forging of the W1 steels can be performed at 1038°C (1900°F) down to 816°C (1550°F) but not below 843°C (1500°F)."

Maybe tell what you are trying to make and size of stock will help, type of forge. Pictures could also help.

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Hello, 

Maybe you are trying to do too much forging in one heat changing the stocks shape to radically to quickly?  Also hydraulic press dies tend to stay in contact with the stock for a longer period of time as compared to say a power hammer. Is it possible the outside of the stock is cooling down against the dies and causing the cracking because of the temperature difference between the center of the stock and the surface which is in contact with the dies?  

My first thoughts, hope it helps, have a great night,

W

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I haven't. How would you recommend going that? Just putting some hot steel between the dies and let it sit for a while?

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Yep...and take more heats on the stock being worked to keep within the forging heat range. When I work with W1 on cold days, I use a propane torch to preheat my anvil being careful not to over heat it.

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What alloy are your dies made from?  Some like H13 can take a pretty large preheat; very handy for fussy alloy steels and cold weather. (In cold weather preheat all your tools can help extend forging times and prevent cracking of the higher alloys.)

Also some steels have a limit to how fast you can deform them without failure. 

You've already tried the going hotter, a good place to start as long as you don't exceed the recommended forging temperature---ran into that hand forging H-13, it was arguing with the hammer, well really it was  laughing at me; so I ran the temp up and then had it cottage cheese on me. Luckily the piece was long enough to save and the "incident" gave my arm more power for a while. I'm still using the slitting chisel I forged a decade or so ago.

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26 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

ran into that hand forging H-13, it was arguing with the hammer, well really it was  laughing at me; so I ran the temp up and then had it cottage cheese on me.

Sounds like my first experience forging O-1.

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How fast is your press?  Is it a home-build, upgraded log splitter, or commercial press?  From my research, under most typical hobby forging conditions (within a certain acceptable range), speed trumps tonnage for hydraulic forging presses.  I'd take a 12-16 ton press that moved at 2.5 inches per second any day over a 25 ton air over hydraulic press that moves at 2.5" per minute.  Does your steel maintain a good minimum cherry red heat throughout the press operation, or does it cool to black at the dies before you are done pressing?  

TP: I had exactly the same experience when I forged H-13 for the first time.

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Just for fun on New Years Day I had a friend stop by the shop that afternoon and decided to work some Ti.  I had a bar of random ? and I wanted to see if we could make a hammer out of it.  First thing we learned is a major shift in workability above a certain temp.  Learned that while hot cutting the end off.  Then we worked on punching a preliminary hole through it, used my screwpress to drive the punch.  Once that was done we were done for the day. 

Ti_bar.thumb.JPG.11f170c65bf78f6107809bb469d0dd53.JPG

TiHammer_punch5.thumb.JPG.4eb6293153e94da2cf54866bdeabf002.JPG

TiHammer_punch2.JPG

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I don't know the exact speed, but it moves metal pretty fast. It's a coal ironworks 16 ton forging press. The metal never cold to black under the press but the temperature does decrease.

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Posted (edited)
On 1/5/2020 at 5:30 PM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

"Forging of the W1 steels can be performed at 1038°C (1900°F) down to 816°C (1550°F) but not below 843°C (1500°F)."

The info I found for W-1 was a little confusing. I found the same forging temperatures as posted above but I found 1 spec sheet that said the optimal forging temperature range was 1700F-1900F.  I thought it was a big enough discrepancy to mention it. https://tubingchina.com/AISI-SAE-W1-tool-steel.htm

Pnut

Edited by pnut
added link

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I guess it depends upon which steel co. spec sheet and that is a bit of difference 150F on the low range  1550F-1900F VS 1700F-1900F. IMHOP In my forges I would be hard pressed to tell 150°F.:)

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Quick update, I believe that I have fixed the problem. I noticed that the metal was cracking primarily around one area. I cut that section off with an angle grinder and kept forging. Heeding all your advice, I haven't noticed any new cracks appearing in the steel. Thank you all so much for your input and help.

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After you get good with it; please post what seems to work best for you as a data point for others working in a similar way.

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23 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

 1550F-1900F VS 1700F-1900F

There is no problem with using a more narrow range within an otherwise acceptable temperature range. Process repeatability helps in manufacturing a more consistent product. 

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