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Bit the bullet and trying my hand at crucible...


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This is my first attempt at a melt. Looks okay to me, going to do thermal cycling a few times before taking it to the press. 250 grams 1084 steel and 150 cast iron, borax-flourspar flux topped with Grolsch Pilsener bottle glass. Figure approx. 1.5 C. Mini ingot, only 380 grams.

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Good job getting your feet wet Al.  I hope it goes well with forging it out, but I do have some suggestions for you. The borax flux should never be used as it will promote graphite formation in your ingot.  Due to the higher Phosphorus level in 1084 you can be susceptible to graphite formation in the ingot.  Because of the manganese level in this ingot you will find that the pattern will be dark and any banding will be finer than what you would expect.  Did you add any Vanadium to the ingot? Without significant addition of some carbide former you will not be able to get much of a pattern.  Anyway I hope it turns out well for you and look forward to seeing how you go in the future.  Cheers!

Edited by Tim Mitchell
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5 hours ago, Tim Mitchell said:

Good job getting your feet wet Al.  I hope it goes well with forging it out, but I do have some suggestions for you. The borax flux should never be used as it will promote graphite formation in your ingot.  Due to the higher Phosphorus level in 1084 you can be susceptible to graphite formation in the ingot.  Because of the manganese level in this ingot you will find that the pattern will be dark and any banding will be finer than what you would expect.  Did you add any Vanadium to the ingot? Without significant addition of some carbide former you will not be able to get much of a pattern.  Anyway I hope it turns out well for you and look forward to seeing how you go in the future.  Cheers!

I used green glass as a vanadium source BUT- I also used borax flux. Started cracking early, I suspect graphite formation as you said.

 

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5 hours ago, Al Massey said:

I used green glass as a vanadium source BUT- I also used borax flux. Started cracking early, I suspect graphite formation as you said.

 

 

Green glass won't give you enough Vanadium if you have any decent manganese in your ingot.  With those levels of Mn from the 1084 you will need between 0.2 - 0.3%V or Nobium in order to get good banding.  Manganese chokes out the brightness of the Vanadium as it has black carbides.  Actually I have never seen any evidence of V or other CFEs getting into the melt from the slag... it could do that for sure but I doubt that it would in high enough levels to actaully make a decent difference... I may be wrong but I don't think so on this.

Edited by Tim Mitchell
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Things which will cause graphite in ingots is, Aluminum, Silicon, Nickel, Phosphorus and Borax.  Carbide Forming Elements will help to prevent graphite formation in the steel if they are there in high enough quantities.  The old blades did have Nickel, Phosphorus and Silicon in different levels, but the presence of other elements tended to help retard graphite formation.  Also they forged things in a way and heat treated the ingots in a way which minimised the formation of graphite in these ingots.

 

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You used to be able to buy ferrovanadium powder by the pound.  I'm only seeing it from Alibaba at the moment, but it's around. 

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You can get pure vanadium crystals of metal from some sellers on Aliepress and you can get Ferro-vanadium from Alibaba.  It comes in grades from about 20%V to 80%V.  It is essential to find a supplier who provides a material which is lowest in Silicone.  Ferro-V is usually high in Silicone and you want to avoid that.  Getting the material which is 80% means that even 1.5%Si is not going to cause you much trouble in your melt... but 3%Si and 20%V would be a problem.

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