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Tool Talk Discussion Board

Re: DIY case hardening

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Posted by D.L. on January 11, 2004 at 11:45:59 from (

In Reply to: DIY case hardening posted by Craig on January 10, 2004 at 17:43:33:

I agree with some of the posts... you must have carbon (or some alloy) present to harden steel. You can heat 1018 as hot as you want and plunge it in ice water... still won't get hard! A couple years ago, I took a metallurgy class... one of our lab experiments was case hardening. The method we used was VERY crude, but worked! We took a piece of 3/4" mild steel round bar(low carbon, no alloy), heated it red hot with a torch, then plunged it into a bucket of pulverized charcoal (yeah, the kind you barbeque with) Leave the steel in the carbon until cool. Now, reheat the steel to dull red and quench in water. Presto! That mild steel tested at 55 Rc. (for reference, a file is 60 Rc) Being the inquisitive type, I cut the bar away a little at a time and tested at various depths... the hardness had penetrated more than .200"!!! Would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!

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