View Full Version : Color codes

Norman Warfield
12-09-2005, 05:24 AM
Where does one get a chart of steel color codes? Anyplace to copy from online?

I'm seem to be collecting a bunch of steel odds and ends and I like to keep them painted,in order of size, and also I'd like to know what the paint color means.

Decimal equivalent charts are a bit rare here too. They used to hang around the shopwalls like the bull of the woods calenders. But then; the shops used to be around also...

To any one that can guide me I would be thankful for a heads up.

If it's not broken, why do I keep trying to fix it....

12-09-2005, 06:10 AM
Can't find the sheet with somew of the codes on it will keep looking. Till then this download metals site may help.

PM research one of the dealers in LS mag has a catalog with the chart and other refence charts.

In The Model Engineers Handbook 3rd edtion/Tubal Cain
Nexus Special interest Ltd ISBN 1-85486-134-4
Has one that he made up because he states that several "standard" coluor codes exist for bar stock. His code is such.
No color Aluminium
Mild steel (cold rolled)?
Yellow Free-cutting mild steel
Red common brass
stainless steel
you get the idea he made up his own.

Here is another code list http://www.southerntoolsteel.com/color_codes.html

Been there, probally broke it doing that

[This message has been edited by PTSideshow (edited 12-09-2005).]

[This message has been edited by PTSideshow (edited 12-09-2005).]

12-09-2005, 07:36 AM
Call a company like Yarde Metals (US - In New Hampshire, CT, and Mass) or connect via internet.

Many companies, from my experience, have individual codes for their product once you get away from the basic steels. There is supposed to be a standard, but I always seem to see that standard broken....

My charts are from Yarde and from Choice Metals - Burgon Tool Steel also has a chart which I have.

Burgon steel also has decimal charts for the walls.

[This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 12-09-2005).]

12-09-2005, 08:13 AM
Color codes are not standardized. Each mill and warehouse has their own system.Other than an expensive chemical analysis there is no way of telling exactly what you have. You can do a spark test that will put you in the ballpark, but that takes a little experience.
When I get a piece of stock and I know what it is, I mark it with steel stamps on the butt or the last inch. Tiny peices get a paper tag protected with packing tape.
The worst thing isn't getting a peice that machines badly. It's when you get a peice of stock that machines really well and you'd like to know the alloy so you can order more.

so ga sailor
12-09-2005, 08:22 AM
Unless they have changed, Starrett will still give you a free decimil,tap drill wall chart and cards if you write or call them--heck-just reading their catalog is a trove of information and intresting reading

12-09-2005, 11:35 AM
Like Rustybold said, they are non-standard but here are a few sources I'd collected:




For non-ferrous, Alcoa lists all of their standard aluminum alloy codes here:


Your own color code may be more important because if you paint them as you acquire them and touch up the end after cutting, you'll always be sure of what you've got.


12-09-2005, 12:09 PM
Sure would be nice if there really was some sort of standard. For aluminum as per the Alcoa site 2024 alloy is usually marked in red and 6061 alloy in blue. Naturally, I have a nice big piece of 6061 at home that is marked in... red.

Paul Alciatore
12-09-2005, 12:16 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by so ga sailor:
Unless they have changed, Starrett will still give you a free decimil,tap drill wall chart and cards if you write or call them--heck-just reading their catalog is a trove of information and intresting reading</font>

The Starrett stuff is on line but hidden a bit. You have to go to PRODUCTS, then BROWSE PRODUCTS, then you can select REFERENCE TABLES of any of the other chapters in their full catalog. But I don't know if they have anything on color coding.

Why Starrett or any company that is selling things does not make the catalog more easily available on their web site is beyond me. The VPs in charge of BS like to let you know almost everything else first. How this helps their bottom line, I don't know.

Paul A.

12-10-2005, 01:05 AM
Aluminum color codes are pretty standard:
Alcoa and Kaiser use.

As for steel, stainless, and all others the suppliers could never agree so they repaint with thier own system upon receipt fro the mill. Ryerson, Jorgensen, Fry and all the others developed systems that worked for them. There are 20 or so grades of carbon steel, 20 + of commercial quality alloy and all thier heat treated versions and another 20 or so of aircraft quality and 30-50 types of ss and nickle alloys. They ran out of different colors and had to add stripes to some of them or paint one end of bar with one color and the other end a differnt color. They did this based on what they stocked to keep separate for QC in wharehouse rack and to make ID esier.

The best you can do is to try to find wich distributor sold the material originally and get their color codes. AND ALWAYS MARK THE MATERIAL THAT YOU DO BUY WHILE YOU CAN STILL REMEMBER WHAT IT IS.

I hope this helps

Norman Warfield
12-10-2005, 07:26 AM
Thanks you guys for the heads up, I'll put to work whatever I can from this. I do try to keep everything marked as I use it,but sometimes I get lazy....

If it's not broken, why do I keep trying to fix it....