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Color coding steel

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  • Color coding steel

    I've gotten to the point where I have enough stock on hand that storing and labeling types of steel is an issue. When I buy some material it does come color painted at the end, but inevitably scraps and cut-offs accumulate.

    Question one; is there a industry standard for color coding steel?

    Question two; other than whipping out a can of spray paint every time I cut some steel rod, what other methods of labeling/storing can you recommend.


    Appearance is Everything...

  • #2

    Just come up with a shorthand that will make sense to you and an occasional helper.

    On my sheet-stock I simply .060 304SS (for example) Or .075 ALU (SPECIAL) for that "weird" stuff I was given.

    I whack off a piece, I grab the grease-stick and just copy the info over.

    No need to go with paint or elaborate labels!
    "The Administration does not support blowing up planets." --- Finally some SENSIBLE policy from the Gov!


    • #3
      Originally posted by goose View Post
      Question one; is there a industry standard for color coding steel?
      Not really as each steel company has its own system.

      As mentioned a grease pencil can work, but they are easily wiped off. There are also paint sticks and of course felt tip markers.

      When I did nuclear work we had to steel stamp the end of the material with the serial number after we cut off a piece and then stamp the freshly cut end of the work piece. Even while machining the piece it had to have the serial number stamped into it on a surface and of course after it was finished. They could literally trace the steel and all its alloys back to the mines if they had to do a failure analysis.


      • #4
        Every seller seems to have their own color code, so to your question the answer is no. you can get paint markers at craft stores and tool suppliers,
        Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
        I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
        All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only


        • #5
          Too bad there is NO standardization. I think there should be. I just take a magic marker and scribble 01 all up the drill rod(or whatever) every 3-4". It's the ONLY way to be sure what you'r selecting.


          • #6
            I found this system:
            Color Codes for Metals


            • #7
              Didn't take me long to get confused with even the small quantities I have "in stock," so I made up a simple chart and I color the stuff when I get it. I paint the entire length, so no matter what size piece I have left over, it's already marked when it goes in the scrap bin:


              Frank Ford


              • #8
                I mark mine with a sharpie. I also group stock by type (12L14, 1144 etc) using the round shipping tubes.


                • #9
                  I use a vibra tool. Pemanent indented marks in your penmanship that will not rub off. I mark the ends. Come to think of it I used to vrery careful of material ID but I've been getting slack lately.

                  Note to self: shape up.


                  • #10
                    tool shop i worked in we painted the ends. soon learned to cut from the unpainted end. a raddle can would last a long time. there is no standard that i know of.


                    • #11
                      Lowes sells a variety of electrical tape in different colors. I use it to identify at a glance what I have. I don’t differentiate between grades of steel, because I buy mine from a scrap yard. But I can spot something I want pretty quickly. Blue=aluminum; Red=stainless; Yellow=brass; Green=Bronze; Black=steel
                      You could use the different colors for different grades of steel.


                      • #12
                        When I get some new hardenable tool steel stock, I slice off a piece from a sample of each and try it for hardening, to find out how it best works for me. I stamp a number in the end of the stock, and on the sample. Any other of the same type get the same number, and I keep a book, along with the sample.

                        I suppose I could extend that to CRS etc, but I just paint mark that if it seems important.

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan


                        • #13
                          There is no standard. My metal supplier painted the cut off ends (scrap) like this. Green was mild steel, pink was stainless and blue was aluminum. I bought it ALL. Cut offs were inexpensive and priced per pound. I loved the green cut offs, 9 cents a pound.

                          I mark the stuff I pay for (known metal) with a sharpie pen. If you know what it is when you buy it mark it. 4130 will look like 1018 until you weld on it. I have alot of metal for a home shop and I like to know what Im working with. JR
                          My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group