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Hello everyone,

 

I have done the prerequisite googling about 4140 anvils but can't find any information on if anyone has made a large anvil from 4140 but I have only come up with smallish sized anvils and people have reported good success. Has anyone made an anvil out of 4140 that is larger than 60 pounds? Second question would there be any concerns about making a large anvil, 250 pounds give or take 10 pounds, out of 4140 i.e. would this alloy not hold up well over time?

 

*edit: In theory this would be at 55 HRc

 

 

Thanks everyone

Edited by Kent Swedlund

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It should be a fine anvil alloy. How are you planning on making and heat treating it?

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I got in contact with a steel foundry and was looking into getting one poured. So far it seems I can come in several hundred dollars cheaper than a lot of the commercially available anvils out there. But I just wanted to double check that my thinking on the alloy wasn't flawed before trying to get a firm price and such.

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If you are going to be heat treating the whole anvil then it will require an oil quench. Smaller sizes of 4140 survive a hot water (100F) quench pretty well, but anything that big will be problematic. If you are only heating the face then I would think hot water may work, but that is a dicey proposition.

 

Also, a note on foundries:

The ability to cast high quality steel is decades old, even for the vast majority of foundries (and a few in China even). The ability to pour that good steel into a really good product still escapes some foundries (almost all in China, in fact I haven't seen any, but they may be out there). Foundries, like most businesses that manufacture goods, make things to the lowest quality that meets spec. This is the only way to do it and make money, for both the manufacturer and the customer. Higher specs cost more to make and can be sold for more. Don't get me wrong, this happens and it is a good thing.

That being said, many foundries specialize in certain product types. A foundry that makes weights or man-hole covers can do that exceptionally well, but produce a terrible rifle parts. The reverse is usually not the case, but the rifle part maker's manhole cover is going to cost 20 times what the foundry that normally makes them charges. I have personally seen it go both ways. I bring this up to mention that you should look at what the foundry you have found makes and see if it is generally a high enough quality product that you would want an anvil of that same quality. Their average "good enough" may not be anywhere close to good enough for you. Chances are that if they are making 4140 you're going to be just fine, but it would really suck to order an anvil at half the "going rate", only to get something that won't work for you. Good luck!

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In my experience and research 4140 dose not do well with differential heat treating and for best results can only be heat treated once. When heat treated more than once it tends to have a mottled surface hardness. My 2cents

 

 

Daniel

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We do multiple heat treats on 4140 (and 4130 and 4150) without any problems (well, the 4150 is crack prone from the get-go). 4140 is often differentially hardened (flame or induction) as well. Good temperature control is important. We take it to 1600-1650 to ensure all carbides are dissolved. The problems with doing a differential heat treatment on it is the transition between hard and soft isn't very abrupt, like with case hardened or shallow hardened material. This is a non-issue for anvils.

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Kent,

 

Just an FYI. Emerson anvils are cast out of 4140.

 

http://emersonhorseshoe.net/21-anvils

 

They also go up to 200#s.

 

Everyone that I know that has one says it works really well and from what I can tell they are holding up well. They are in the 48-50rc range.

 

Dave from Diller

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Hello Jerrod, I was hoping that you would chime in. I appreciate your experience on this. I am talking with 2 different foundries here in the US and am asking if using a styrofoam casting process (my term if there is a more industry correct term please let me know) would result in a useable anvil or if additional machining would be needed.

 

dsloan I did not know that Emerson anvils were made of 4140 that isn't a brand I am familiar with. Thanks for the info.

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There are 2 ways to go with foam:

  1. Cover it in duct tape (at least 2 layers is best) mold around it making a cope and drag separately. By this I mean you make one half of the mold with the foam part half buried, then put a parting agent down then make the other half on top of that. The parting agent allows you to pull the halves apart then pull the foam out before putting the halves back together and pouring. This is what you do when wanting to copy a part that isn't foam anyways, but can be done with foam too. If you are really good at wood working then making your anvil out of wood is an even better way to do this, especially if you can make it in two mating halves that pin together. If you go that route you will need to build it with draft.
  2. Lost foam. As the name suggests, you bury the foam in sand and leave it in there while you pour. The liquid steel will burn the foam out (thus it is lost). This is far more likely to be done. Note that you will have a hard time getting any Hardy/Pritchel holes cast this way, so make sure you get them machined prior to heat treat.

Either way you will need machining and heat treatment done. Don't forget to factor those costs into your total too. Also, the pattern should be larger than you want the final casting. Metal grows when it is heated, so your pattern should be the size of just-solidified steel, so when it cools to room temperature it shrinks to where you want it. General pattern-maker's rule of thumb on this is 1/4"/foot. So if your anvil is 12" tall, make the pattern 12.25". And add a little machine stock to the face, so you have something to remove when machining it flat. Depending on the orientation when poured and the quality of the foundry this could be 1/8" to 5/16" or more.

 

Edit to add: Option 2 is much more likely the route to go if you are going to make it out of foam.

Edited by Jerrod Miller

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