View Full Version : Custom Metal Forumulations

01-12-2012, 11:11 AM
Does anyone know of a metal supplier (maybe called a smelter?). I have a need for a specific formulation of brass. Currently I'm using 61-D material that comes from Switzerland but that vendor is in bankruptcy and I'm worried about supply.

Maybe a better/more general question. Does anyone know of companies that manufacture 61-D alloy brass?

Thanks in advance.

01-12-2012, 11:34 AM

Supposedly they're here in N. America.

01-12-2012, 12:20 PM
61D is not a real alloy designation- its kinda more like a brand name.
I think its actually 360, which is a common brass alloy.
But you need more info about what is in the actual alloy you are using.

You can search here- lots of standards and charts and crossreferencing-

these are some of the largest copper and bronze suppliers in the USA- call (not email) em up and ask a lot of questions.


what is the application?
What size and shape and quantity are you looking for?
Some copper alloys are theoretically available, but not really unless you order 40,000lbs at a time.

A Smelter is a plant that takes raw copper ore, and make it into ingots. These can be a variety of alloys, there are literally hundreds of recipes for copper and other metals.
Many times those ingots are rolled at the same plant, and many times they are not. Many companies buy copper alloys, and proceed to make sheet, or round bar from them.
Most Smelters, and many large rolling mills, have minimum orders in the truckloads.
So if you are looking for a relatively small amount- say, less than a 40,000lb semi worth at a time- most likely you will not be dealing with a smelter, but, instead, with a distributor, who stocks all kinds of copper alloys in many shapes and sizes, and can order most things. Even distributors in the US often have pretty high minimums- to keep the individual retail customers away. Then, we have local metal service centers, who in most cases dont stock much copper at all.
This makes it hard to find small quantities of any but the most common copper alloys.

Alaskan is one of the best for getting a little- they will cut stuff to size to ship UPS, although, of course, you pay for the service.

01-12-2012, 04:06 PM
I need something like 61D in that it has a very low iron content. I think it's less than .01%

01-12-2012, 06:05 PM
I cant find any info on 61D online except that its basically a low iron 360.
Since 360 is generally 60-63% copper, and 2%-2.5% Lead, and the rest zinc, with an allowable .35% iron, the vast majority of commercially made 360 is going to have too much iron in it.

looking here, you can see there are several similar alloys with .10 or less iron in them- but the zinc/lead/copper ratios may vary a bit. So it really depends on what you are doing with the material- some applications may be just fine with less lead, like a C33530, which has about 1/4 the lead, but also .10 iron. But some alloys are only made in sheet, or in round, and some theoretically available alloys dont really exist until you order a mill run.


so, I would repeat- what size and shape do you need?
what kind of quantity, monthly, or yearly, do you buy?
and what do you do to it?
(forging? machining? cold working? bending? raising? welding?- different copper alloys are needed for optimum working in any of these processes)

Is the 61D a leaded alloy? do you NEED the lead, for machining?

all of this will affect what you may be able to substitute.

01-12-2012, 07:10 PM
Sorry, relatively small diameter rod is what is needed; generally under 1" diameter. It will be machined in all cases so some lead will probably be important.

The finished parts are used in MRI equipment so it needs to have, ideally, no iron in it at all.


01-12-2012, 09:33 PM
I would be looking at a wide variety of copper alloys- most likely, you got to where you are thru the simple process of asking a machine shop what brass machines nicely, and being told 360, which is the most common leaded brass out there, and the standard alloy for generic brass that needs machining.

Then, with the MRI requirement, somebody probably said- hey, the Swiss make a 360 with very low iron content.

But are there really reasons why a standard copper/lead/zinc brass alloy is required?

Aside from ease of machining, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other copper alloys, and a lot of them have zero iron in them. So if there are not welding, forging, or color issues, you should consider making some test parts in other alloys, and testing the machinability.

A bit of lead is always good for machining, even though it is horrible for welding or forging.

What I would do if I was you is call, (again, dont waste time emailing- you just wont get enough info) the top two or three national distributors of copper alloys, and keep asking questions til you get a knowledgable salesman or applications engineer, who can tell you what is actually stocked, as opposed to theoretically available, in zero iron alloys, preferably with some lead, in round bars in the sizes you need. Then, order some sample quantities, and have your machine shop guys run some parts. They will quickly tell you if the alloy is not friendly to your particular machining techniques.

I would call copper and brass sales, rotax, alaskan, and industrial metals, and ask them all.

In terms of alloys to look at, some of the lower number 300 alloys would be good, there are a half dozen or so that are leaded, but have FE contents at .07 or below.

But there are other bronze alloys that might work just as well. There are aluminum bronzes, and silicon bronzes, that have virtually zero iron, and they may work for your purposes.

Again, you have to call salesmen, and make em do their job, to tell you what is really made that has zero iron. My guess is that you can easily come up with a dozen or more alloys that dont have any iron in them, and then its narrowing down based on machinability and price.

01-12-2012, 09:47 PM
If you have the chemistry for the material you need you might try National Bronze in TX. Not affiliated but have used them in the past.


01-13-2012, 08:49 AM
Thanks very much. I'll give all of that a try.