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Characteristics of mold steels
2016-07-16 21:01:20

Characteristics of mold steels


S7 is probably the most common steel used in the USA for plastic injection molds, or moulds for the rest of the world. This steel is relatively easy to machine, can be hardened to Rockwell 54-59, which is certainly hard enough for a mold. It is easy to polish to a high lustre, is easy to weld and is relatively tough.


H13 steel is often chosen because it is excellent for diamond polishing. Mold for lenses and other plastic parts that require mirror finishes are often made of H13. It can be hardened to Rockwell 52 and is very versatile, with high hardness, toughness, and high temperature strength.


420SS is popular as a corrosion and wear resistant tool steel that is often used in medical and highly polished applications. It is easy to weld, which makes it a good choice for certain projects. 420 stainless is typically hardened to 50 Rockwell.


NAK 55 is a pre-hard tool steel which is easy to machine, hardened to 38-42 Rockwell, easy to weld and polishes nicely.


NAK 80 is a pre-hard tool steel, somewhat harder and tougher than NAK 55. It can be polished to a high lustre finish, making it popular for medical and optical plastic parts.


P20 is the old standard pre-hard steel, and it is still quite popular. It does have a tendency to work harden and contain hard spots, but, with carbide tooling so commonly used, this is not much of an issue. It is approximately 32 Rockwell and is easy to weld and polish.


Aluminum is used more often now that mold grade alloys have been developed. These metals can be much more durable than in the past and are commonly used in prototype tooling and short-run projects. QC7 is probably the most popular mold grade aluminum. It is very easy to machine, easy to weld and can be polished to a high lustre.

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