Jump to content
Buck Hedges

Need Advice on Steel Choice

Recommended Posts

I have a friend who works in an industrial welding shop, and is willing to cut out a Klingon bat'leth (that big curvy thing Klingons use to chop up Federation Red Shirts in Star Trek). Normally, I'd want to tackle this myself, because it would be mine. BUT he can do it for free, and since it would be a 4-foot chunk of steel and currently out of my price range, I'm going to take him up on it. Once he cuts it out, I will do all the edge shaping, hardening, heat treating, and finish work.

The kicker is this: The choices I have for steel are 516 Grade 70, A36, or AR plate.

I'm going to display my ignorance here and admit I have no knowledge of any of these. I've worked mostly with reclaimed leaf springs and farrier's rasps. Which would be better for a large, sword-like blade (something like spring steel?). Or, where could I look to learn more about these types of steel in regards to knifemaking?

The PDF is an official rendering another friend drew up for me, and the JPG is a rough colorized version of what it ought to look like when I'm done. The lighter gray areas will be beveled to cutting edges.

KJEV2 Batleth.jpg

KLINGON ARTIFACT.pdf

Edited by Buck Hedges
Forgot to add the art.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd go with the ASTM A516-70 out of those three.  It's basically a high-manganese 1030, barely hardenable, but has twice the tensile strength of A36.  AR plate is bendy, and, as the name suggests, abrasion resistant.  Read that to mean it'll eat belts or grinding wheels for lunch. Not hardenable, it's just very high manganese.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the A36 more hardenable than the A516-70? This doesn't need to be super-flexible like a longsword, since the blades are fairly short, but I would like to be able to put a decent edge on them.

If the AR will eat my belts up on top of that, it's out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

AR plate is bendy, and, as the name suggests, abrasion resistant.  Read that to mean it'll eat belts or grinding wheels for lunch. Not hardenable, it's just very high manganese.

This actually depends on alloy, which is not specified at all by the AR designation.  The alloy we use to make the Rhino anvils is an air hardening tool steel that we generally sell as AR500 or AR400 (the number designates the hardness in Brinell and is achieved through tempering differently).  I can assure you that it is not bendy at all, and the Mn is not overly high.  

37 minutes ago, Buck Hedges said:

Is the A36 more hardenable than the A516-70? This doesn't need to be super-flexible like a longsword, since the blades are fairly short, but I would like to be able to put a decent edge on them.

A36 should generally be considered as not hardenable whatsoever.  

Perhaps you can provide the proper material and have him cut it out of that?  I know 1070 is relatively common in sheet (I have a local waterjet place that I know uses it for things).  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite true on the AR, sorry.  I was assuming the grade we use on snowplow wear strips, which is AR200.  We want to strip ice, but leave the asphalt.  Also assuming a thickness of 1/4", which may be a mistake.  Depends on how wieldy you want your bat'leth to be, with (yet another assumption!) it's not intended for Klingon strength in the end user...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have looked at this design many times.  I realize that it is a fantasy piece, but it's hard to see how you would ever make it as a forged piece.  If I were making one (assuming that you want to make more than a simple wall hanger) I would make in 2, or perhaps 4 , pieces, with decorative plates holding the pieces together.  You'd have a single, long, double ended blade as the rear points, and the forward blades as either one piece, or three.  You could treat the center spike as a separate piece, bolted over the short blade (?).

How wide would the sheet have to be to cut it out one piece?  Aldo Bruno has 1075 in 0.250 x 15.75 x 48, 'taint cheap, but assuming that you could heat treat it, it would be plenty stiff.

I what you want is a wall hanger, and some time carry prop, how about aluminum?  Or carbon fiber over hardened cutting edges.

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's see if I can answer everyone's questions...

He's supplying the steel, otherwise I'd have gone with something like 1070 or 0-1 Tool steel. I've used that before and really liked it. It's about 4 feet from tip to tip, and 18 inches from pointy spike in the front to the back of the center grip, so it will be cut from a sizeable chunk of steel. If I remember right, a piece of tool steel this big and 1/8" thick was around $200.00 US, out of my price range at the time, and at the moment I'm between jobs, so it's a moot point.

I'm not sure what the alloy specs are on the AR my friend mentioned.

I'll probably go with 1/8" thick steel, due to the weight. I plan on swinging it around, and making it battle-ready. I am definitely not on the Klingon end of the muscle spectrum, so it needs to be fairly light. I'd like it comparable to my longsword, which is about 3 lbs, but I'll take what I can get. I don't ever think it would be really viable as a serious weapon. Wallhangers, however disgust  me. If I'm going to add a weapon to my collection, whether it's another atlatl, knife, sling, bolos, macahuitl, or whatever, it's going to be the real deal. Okay, that sounds oxymoronic when talking about a science fiction weapon.:blink:

Carbon fiber would be nice, but I only have one source who can print carbon fiber, but his printer is rather small. I've also never worked with it before. I DO have a training knife and some plates for a suit of Tatami-do armor that I plan on having him print out for me, however. Those I'll have cerakoted by yet another friend(Pics below).

So I guess I should find out the specs for his AR steel, and admit I've never worked with air-hardening steel before. I've heard horror stories. My forge is also really basic, as well: Coal-fired with a hair dryer for a blower, and 3 or 4 ASOs, and a couple of ball-peen hammers. And Larry: a 3 lb doublejack with a cut down handle. Maybe I should see if I can find a sheet of 1070, or see if my friend can, and what it would cost.

Tatami Do Plates Color Test.png

IKL Training Knife.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/11/2018 at 7:59 PM, Buck Hedges said:

Carbon fiber would be nice, but I only have one source who can print carbon fiber, but his printer is rather small. I've also never worked with it before. I DO have a training knife and some plates for a suit of Tatami-do armor that I plan on having him print out for me, however. Those I'll have cerakoted by yet another friend(Pics below).

Be careful.  The "Carbon Fiber" filaments that you see available for 3D printers are not really carbon fiber.  They are simply base thermoplastic polymer filaments with carbon fiber strands inside to add some strength.  It is sort of like glass filled nylon.

True carbon fiber uses a thermoset resin to impregnate a carbon fiber weave, and to my knowledge cannot be 3D printed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Be careful.  The "Carbon Fiber" filaments that you see available for 3D printers are not really carbon fiber.  They are simply base thermoplastic polymer filaments with carbon fiber strands inside to add some strength.  It is sort of like glass filled nylon.

True carbon fiber uses a thermoset resin to impregnate a carbon fiber weave, and to my knowledge cannot be 3D printed.

Well that's certainly good to know! I will definitely do some more research before I get something made that I might need to depend on (although if I'm depending on a Klingon bat'leth and samurai armor, we're probably all pretty much screwed anyway :)).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...