hole placement

There are no shortcuts in producing good tooling. Lack of attention in any of the following areas can result in poor tool quality, poor part quality, low yield or worse – tool failure:

  •  Tooling design
  • Material selection
  • Tooling manufacturing process
  • Heat treating and finishing

Today, we are going to talk about tooling design.  Careful consideration should always be given to the design, material and fabrication of tooling – let’s face it, finished parts are only as good as the tooling used to create them.

There are several variables such as heat, pressure and speed that can contribute to excessive tool wear or tool failure.  Managing these variables, sourcing the right tool steel and applying good tool design sensibility will help you avoid downtime and extend tool life.   Here are some common problems and solutions to consider when designing and fabricating tooling:

Tooling Design ConsiderationSolutions & Considerations
Performance of the tool•Design tooling to perform using the best possible materials
•Don’t expect a good wear resistant tool steel to perform in an impact use. Match the right properties to your specific needs
•Avoid the thought “we’re using this grade for this application, so it will work best in that application”
•Fit the right steel characteristics to the use and purpose of the tool
Consider your heat treater and the process•Leave enough stock to safely finish post heat treat
•Round out sharp edges and minimize size variations in the pre-heat treat design
•Avoid maxing out the hardness
•Avoid the temptation to arrive at a specific tight dimension expecting a predicted growth rate to result in a final dimension
•Consider adding a stress relieve prior to hardening to assure minimal movement during the hardening process
Tooling cracks around holes•Avoid locating holes nears edges and corners
•Align holes in a symmetrical pattern, avoid linear placement
•Blind holes and notches should have radiuses whenever possible, avoid sharp corners on inner and outer surfaces
Tooling deformation or bending•Compressive strength is often overlooked when selecting tool steel, alloy elements such as Molybdenum and Tungsten contribute to compressive strength
•Heat treatment and surface treatment guidelines for a given grade of tool steel can differ depending on your application, be sure to obtain and follow proper guidelines
•Beef up your tooling design

At Hudson Tool Steel we work closely with customers to help them select the right tool steel for the job.  There is no one size fits all, that’s why we maintain an extensive inventory of material in each of our distribution centers across the country:

  • High-speed tool steel – High-speed tool steels are designed primarily for cutting tool applications. The term “high-speed” was used when these steels were first invented. The term refers to the fact that the steels could be used as cutting tools at high turning speeds on a lathe. Click here to read more…
  • Hot work tool steel – The hot hardness (hot strength) of H13 resists thermal fatigue cracking which occurs because of the cyclic heating and cooling cycles in hot work tooling applications.
  • Cold work tool steel – Cold work tool steels are designed for tooling applications where the service temperature is under about 600°F (316°C). In selecting cold work tool steels, the metallurgical factors that ultimately affect tool performance and longevity must be considered.  Click here to read more about cold work tool steels.
  • Mold tool steel – 420 MQ Plastic Mold Steel is a highly-refined, mold quality stainless steel that is engineered to exhibit excellent polishability, good corrosion resistance, and good wear resistance.  Click here to read more…

Call 800-996-0411 if you have any questions about your tool steel needs, application suggestions, technical information, heat treating data or other material related questions.  One of our experienced sales staff will be happy to help you.

For the past fifteen years Hudson Tool Steel has been supplying customers around the country with the very best tool steel, backed with exceptional service and technical support. Hudson Tool Steel stocks all standard grades and sizes of tool steel as well as high speed steel and specialty grades.

Thanks for reading and please, call us with any questions.

Jonathan Dean
General Manager
Anaheim, CA