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Steelis a popular metal alloy consisting mostly of iron, typically with small amounts of carbon although other elements may be included such as manganese, chromium, vanadium and tungsten.
Modern steel making began in 1858 with the capability to produce large quantities cheaply. Mild steel is often used for numerous applications where wrought iron was used previously. Steel shapes include sheets, rods, plates, hexes, pipes and a variety of beams.
Steel is known for its low strength-to-weight ratio and is available in many alloys.
Properties of Steel
- High thermal conductivity
- Ductile and malleable
- Low tensile strength
- Lightweight but exceptionally strong
- Good corrosion resistance, especially with stainless steel
Steel is a popular choice for many metal products and components:
Popular Steel Alloys
Known for it’s excellent machinability resulting in improved surface appearance.
AKA “chrome-moly”, this alloy has good fatigue, abrasion, and impact resistance. 4140 is readily formed and machined in its annealed state and can be heat treated to increase toughness and wear resistance.
4140 is ideal for crankshafts, gears, axles, and shafts.
Similar to 4140, but has better weldability and formability. 4130 is often used to meet military specifications and for demanding structural applications.
O1 Tool Steel
01 has a good combination of machinability and resistance to wear and abrasion. It is often used in punch and die tooling plus cams, bushings, guides, and gauges.
D2 Tool Steel
D2 has great wear and abrasion resistance. This alloy is known for its hardness and is commonly used for long-run dies and blanking, as well as shear blades, burnishing tools, and gauges.
This alloy is known for weldability and better machinability than the lower carbon steels. 1018 is a common cold-rolled steel with good strength and some ductility. It is similar to A36 but has a better surface finish.
A36 is a common hot-rolled steel. It has a rougher surface than cold rolled steels but a lower yield strength than 1018, thus is easier to bend. A36 is more difficult to machine than 1018.
1008 has good formability and comparatively high strength, plus an excellent surface finish.
Mills use rotating tools to cut material into almost any 3D shape. CNC Mills can work with tight tolerances.
Waterjets mainly cut sheet material into 2D parts using a high-pressure stream of water and abrasive. Waterjet cutting is suitable for most materials and yields clean edges.
CNC Lathes feed cutting tools into rotating material. Turning is mainly used to produce precise, cylindrical parts.
Die-Sink and Wire EDM machines create parts by using recurring sparks to remove material. Recommended for intricate designs requiring sharp inside corners and high dimensional accuracy.
Laser cutting is often used to produce 2D parts from sheet metal. A laser beam vaporizes a cut path to achieve the desired shape. Great for prototypes and short runs.
CNC Turret Presses create 2D parts by rapidly punching predetermined shapes into sheet material. Cost-effective for production runs of simple metal parts.
CNC Plasma Cutters use a high-velocity stream of ionized gas to cut parts out of sheet metal. Excellent for producing 2D parts when working with thick metal sheets.
After manufacturing, parts may require additional processing. Secondary services include CNC bending, grinding, tapping, knurling and more.
Finishing processes are used to enhance appearance, surface durability, and corrosion resistance. Options include powder coating, anodizing, plating, polishing and more.