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Annealing Hardened Steel Tips Needed

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  • Annealing Hardened Steel Tips Needed

    I picked up a couple of large (1-1/4 x 1-1/4) indexable tool holders and a bunch of inserts for next to nothing at the swap meet. I would like to cut a dovetail in the holders to use on my BXA quick change tool post similar to what Frank Ford did. I started to machine the first holder, however, it seems to be very hard. It looked like it would destroy the endmill and certainly my dovetail cutter long before I finished. I was thinking of sticking the holders in a charcoal fire for a couple of hours until they were red hot, then cover them with sand and let them cool down overnight. Would this be sufficient to anneal the material so that it could be easily machined? I would not try to harden them afterwards as they would only be used in my home shop. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    If its D2 it needs to be heated up to 875 degC
    And then cooled off very slowly at a rate of no more than 10 degC per hour.

    if you used carbide tooling you could mill whatever features you needed fearly easy.
    It can also be case hardened in which case only first 1/16 of surface thickness would be hard to chew through
    FSWizard - Free Online Speed and Feed Calculator


    • #3
      I would think that most toolholders are made from an inexpensive but strong steel such as 4140. I have drilled a few of them with a good sharp high speed steel drill bit, however you must run the bit very slow and resharpen immediatly if it starts to squeal.I have always used carbide endmills when I milled them. Now to answer your question, YES ,I would bet money that you could easilly aneal them in the maner that you describe. Good luck ,Edwin Dirnbeck .


      • #4
        Find someone with a wire EDM. They might be able to cut the Dovetails for $30 to $50 each.
        So much to learn, so little time


        • #5
          Ideal job for a shaper. The tooling is dirt cheap!
          Paul Compton


          • #6
            There is a lot of variation in hardness on tool holders even from one manufacturer. I have ruined more carbide endmills than the new holders would have cost. I did learn some lessons along the way. When I want something like this annealed I take it to a friend who has a wood stove. He leaves it in the stove overnight and it come out uniformly soft the next morning.
            Byron Boucher
            Burnet, TX


            • #7
              Originally posted by Edwin Dirnbeck View Post
              I would think that most toolholders are made from an inexpensive but strong steel such as 4140.
              +1. If they're quality Western toolholders, they'll be 4140 in the mid 50's. If they're Chinese, just mild steel.

              Heat to austentizing (cherry red), stick in vermiculite, lime, or sand, and let cool.
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."