Dies for press.

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Munty Scruntfundle

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HI there. I'd like to have a go at making some steel dies for my 2 ton press, nothing special, just some different angles, I have a half decent mill so that's no problem.

I'd like to harden the steel, I don't have a fancy oven, just a small torch, but I reckon as the parts will be small I should be able to get a uniform heat. Where I'm absolutely not at all sure what I'm doing, is choosing the steel I'll need. I understand from watching a few videos you can't really harden basic mild steel. But what's basic mild steel? There are no end of variations. Can any mild steel be hardened?

If I really need a carbon (or high carbon) steel, what variety should I look for? Again there are no end of variations.

Over to you folks if you don't mind, I need some advice!
Many thanks.
 

Gordon Tarling

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Plus one for case hardening - in fact I was just typing my suggestion when Dalboy's post popped up. It's simple to do at home and your dies could be made from mild steel, which makes for easier machining. Certainly worth a try, I feel.

G.
 

Devmeister

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When it comes to hardening steel you need to look at the carbon content. Generic mild steel is 1018 for example. The 10 tells you it’s basic steel. The 18 tells you the carbon content. 18 is not enough carbon to harden. When you get to say 1095, you can really harden the stuff.

For dies, it’s not uncommon to use A2. I am not familiar enough to tell you the exact alloy. For home stuff with limited use, I would say something in the 1040 range should work. But the black smiths may have a better solution
 

hawkeyefxr

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I did just this in my apprenticeship when i had a 18 months in the tool room. It depends what you want out of your dies and punches and how many of what your making.
Our punches and dies where mounted on 1 1/2 metal plates top and bottom and they had ground and hardened steel pillars and sleeves. The punches were mounted on the top and bottom plates, the pillars kept everything in alignment. These tools would have made hundreds of parts, maybe more.
After you have hardened the punch and dies how will you sharpen them?
 
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