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Hey,

 

I have a source for industrial steel material (it is in a big roll sort of like a bandsaw blade) that would fit into a die in a fabric factory. Apparently (the machinist who has this stuff) says that they would bend the steel which is sharp on one side into a press that would fit a curve of a piece of fabric they wanted to cut. They would stack up hundreds of sheets of the fabric and press the die with the blade through it all- achieving the desired curve.

 

Does anyone have info on what the material could be? It's definitely high carbon (spark test & super bendy). It's homogeneous (no bits welded in as far as I can tell). Approx. 1" wide and as I said, is in a huge continuous roll. I can upload a picture of the stuff though I only have a little cut off piece right now I might do a test with. The hope is it will show up light in color when laminated with something like 1084.

 

Thanks in advance!

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It's called steel rule. It is used to make dies as you describe, and it is't the easiest stuff to buy in small quantities. We use it some at work, but I never thought about making knives form it.

 

Here is a link with some info:

http://www.bohlersteels.co.uk/english/files/downloads/Steel_Rules.pdf

 

At it comes from the factory, it is often just hardened on the edge. I don't know, however, what this means for the overall hardenability.

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Wow, thanks for the info. The stuff I can get is pretty old- likely decades at least. I don't know if they used different steel compositions then or not.

 

I'll do a hardening test and etching test on it I guess.

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My guess is that it is pretty hardenable, and that they only harden the edge at the factory so that the die makers can bend it easily. However, that is a guess. Let us know how it works out!

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Also, I asked over at anvilfire and here is the response I got from the guru's den:

 

"Steel Rule Die Steels :
Universal – H60 and H75 – hardened tipped 3pt rule with hard or extra hard bodies.

Fe, C .40-.60%, Si .10-,50% Mn .10-.80%, Cr 0-.40%. Mo 0-.10%, Ni 0-.2%, V 0-.05%, Al 0-10%, Cu 0-.20%, S & P Trace.

. . ./docs/bohler-steel-rule-datasheet-page-1.pdf

The above is the brand and specs for a very common steel rule die material. The small amount of nickle does not seem like it would make much difference in an etch."

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I am no stranger to these and have utilized them many time in the past for die cutting fabric. They are tough and never really need sharpening. But no one is swinging, slicing, stabbing, etc. only die cutting using a hydraulic "clicker".

 

Gary LT

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From the data that Eric supplied, I'd say that the steel rule die steels are a bit of a crap shoot. The carbon levels range from minimal to adequate for martensite formation. Definitely not enough for much in the way of carbide formation. The manganese levels seem to be a bit all over the place as hardenability goes as is the chromium content. The nickel, if a particular melt has any, might contribute to toughness but I don't know about etching resistance. The aluminum along with the silicon is to kill the steel and the copper is to increase the toughness, probably at the expense of hardness. I'm not sure what those low levels of vanadium and molybdenum are doing, again if they are present in a particular melt.

 

Doug

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Anything with a specification of 0-<something> means that none is added to the melt, residuals from the source melt stock is allowed up to those limits. Al is added for de-gassing, Si is generally not. Si and Mn will often be used to kill a heat after an oxygen purge (refining step), but generally there is a specified amount for other reasons. You will see higher Si levels in castings because it makes the steel more fluid, but some is good to have for forging too. And while the spec is broad, I would bet that any given manufacturer has their own internal specs that are quite a bit tighter, so if you keep getting the same thing from the same maker you are likely to have very similar material each time. Though as Doug said, it is a crap shoot where the manufacturer set those internal limits.

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