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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: question on casting         Reply with quote

Hi, i would like to know if there is some waste on casting high carbon steel.
i mean by that, can we still temper it without wasting carbon because of the cast?
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: Re: question on casting         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
Hi, i would like to know if there is some waste on casting high carbon steel.
i mean by that, can we still temper it without wasting carbon because of the cast?


Not sure if your question is clear ? ( Maybe thinking in French and a literal translation into English that turns out confusing ? )

Let me try to re-phrase your question and let us know if I'm making it clearer as I try to guess at what your original meaning is. Wink Cool

By waste I don't think you mean having extra cast steel in the sprue or overflow wasting material !

I think you mean a waste of carbon content as carbon in the alloy gets burned out of the steel while casting reducing the initial carbon content to below what one needs to heat treat the steel and harden it after casting ?

Now, the first question to ask is: Are there casting steel alloys that are meant to be later heat treated ? If yes, the carbon content would be chosen in the alloy to compensate for any loss of carbon in the casting or carbon might be added to the liquid metal at the time of casting ? ( Choosing the right steel to cast is probably important as not all of them will be hardenable, assuming that some are hardenable. If it's commonly available casting alloys or only very expensive specialized alloys might also be a question needing an answer ? I know that some expensive modern production knives use powder technology ultra high carbon alloys that are cast/heated under pressure to produce blades with higher carbon content that would normally produce cast iron rather than high tech knife steels ).

I think Craig at A & A mentioned that some of their pole arm head are cast of tool steel but I think they usually don't heat treat their pole arms as historically these where not heat treated. There are exception though as the glaive has a hardened edge and I have ordered their Knightly Pole Axe and a Nordland axe with the cutting edges hardened.

Anyway, the point being that if the carbon content is high enough hardening should be possible.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 12:17 pm    Post subject: Re: question on casting         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Anyway, the point being that if the carbon content is high enough hardening should be possible.[/quote]

hi Jean,
if it is as you have interpreted,
a content of the 0.40 of carbon is very low. But this enough to hardening with a hardness of around 48-50 HRCs. It is not a reliable and repetitive steel in the thermal treatment, but it reaches fit hardness for the swords. But, to be able to have a good sword, at least, carbon, has to reach the 0.65-0.75. If there are other elements in the league, everything, becomes then, best.
Regards.
Maurizio
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Acton Vale (QC) canada
Joined: 09 Sep 2006

Posts: 427

PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

you're right jean it's exactly what i meant. i thought of casting because it seem easier do do than forging so creating my first design would be maybe easier but can we really make swords by casting??? is it really possible without much risk of making a poor sword???

thats the question....it would be great to have some input about casting from someone who is doing that kind of stuff.

i loved to carve things at school so it would not be a problem to make wax parts.
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Joel Minturn





Joined: 10 Dec 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you could create a decent sword out of casting instead of forging but I'm not sure it would be less work. Creating a furnace to melt steal is no small feat. Just doing a little research on cast steel and learned a couple of things. First there is two different definitions for cast steel.

The first is the same as cast iron or cast aluminum. I found one company that specializes in that and they have a Large list of alloys they pour from corrosion resistant (stainless steels) to carbon steels and do any number of finishing things to the product. Annealing, tempering, normalizing and the like. So That points to making a sword from casting with a proper temper and is possible.

The second definition is that cast steel is an old term for tool steel. Basically for along time the best way to get specialty steels and tool steels was to have a batch of steel made to order and have then buy the billet. So saying a part is made of cast tool steel may be referring to how the raw steel was made not how the part itself was made.

hopefully that shines a little light on this.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
you're right jean it's exactly what i meant. i thought of casting because it seem easier do do than forging so creating my first design would be maybe easier but can we really make swords by casting??? is it really possible without much risk of making a poor sword???

thats the question....it would be great to have some input about casting from someone who is doing that kind of stuff.

i loved to carve things at school so it would not be a problem to make wax parts.


The short answer would be no if you mean making a sword blade by casting it.

Theoretically, it might be possible but the alloy and method would be something very high tech and not something a normal foundry would be able to do and certainly not at a reasonable price.

Having a single piece cast from a wax model is probably more expensive than making it from a block of steel and forging it or using stock removal ( grinding ) as a method.

The blades made from cast powder technology I mentioned are mostly stainless alloys with 1.5 to 2 % carbon content as well as lots of chrome and other metals: For a knife blade it means you can get a blade as hard as 62 - 65 R.C. Eek!

The same alloy with a 30" sword blade might well be very brittle and fragile and only extremely expensive research might make these alloys good or better for a sword than simpler carbon steel.

For hilt furniture casting can be a good answer and might be hardenable.

For short bladed pole arms or an axe blade casting might also be usable and even more reason to want to at least harden sharp edges.

So you have to find and find out:

A) A foundry near you? A foundry, far from you where you can mail in your wax ???
B) What alloys they can cast. ( Steel, bronze, mythrill or unobtanium !? )
C) Is one of these cast tool steel that can be hardened by them or later by someone else after the piece is cleaned up and the shape refined. ( A casting at the very least has to have the sprue cut off and some minor flashing ground/polished off ).
D) How much is this going to cost, if the above is possible, for one casting and how much more per unit would it cost to make more than one ? ( This might eventually be interesting if you actually started to mass produce these and offered them for sale for peoples DIY projects ? Well, this is more like starting a business than just making a sword. Wink Big Grin )

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Nate C.




Location: Palo Alto, CA
Joined: 13 Jun 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 02 Jul, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Etienne Hamel wrote:
you're right jean it's exactly what i meant. i thought of casting because it seem easier do do than forging so creating my first design would be maybe easier but can we really make swords by casting??? is it really possible without much risk of making a poor sword???

thats the question....it would be great to have some input about casting from someone who is doing that kind of stuff.

i loved to carve things at school so it would not be a problem to make wax parts.


Etienne,

An expert caster could indeed make a sword like object by casting steel. However, it would not be something I would want to use for many reasons. First, casting such a thin piece of metal is very difficult to get right. There are all sorts of dangers including air bubbles, incomplete casting, and metal shrinkage are but a few. The only swords I am aware of that were cast historically are from the Bronze age. They are generally shorter and were work hardened after being cast to toughen them up.

For a steel blade to be durable, it should be forged (or made from plate by stock removal). These processes toughen the steel and make it very tough by comparison to a cast equivalent. You could cast the hilt components though. In fact most production makers do just that because it is easier to get fine shapes and they don't have to be quite as tough as the blade does. Although I think most historical blades were made by forging to conserve material.

I hope that helps.

Cheers,

Nate C.

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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Jul, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Historically the swords were forged.
To make a sword for casting with fit steels, is possible. But the cost????
The stainless steel is excellent to make knives or pots not swords.
I think whether to build a sword for casting is not the best way. Happy
Personally I am very contrary to the construction of historical pieces for casting.
Today all seems standardized, manufactured and already ready for the use.
A method for casting is lent to great productions, the great productions produce standard of products. We leave out the swords from this.
Maurizio
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Justin King
Industry Professional



Location: flagstaff,arizona
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
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Posts: 551

PostPosted: Fri 03 Jul, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cast material has the carbides/precipitates/impurities/slag/etc. which are not in solution disbursed in random directions, whereas rolled or forged steel has them drawn into lengthwise strands amongst the grains of steel. Therefore forged or rolled steel has a strength axis similar to that in wood, which we take advantage of in making long, slender objects like sword blades, by having the strands oriented lentghwise in the blade, rather than perpendicular. Cast material with its random directional disbursement does not have this strength axis and therefore in a long, slender object such as a sword blade, will not achieve the same tensile strength. Thus rolled or forged material is preferable to cast material for blades.
Think of pressboard (cast metal) compared to natural, straight-grained lumber (forged or rolled steel).
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