Not Too Much, Not Too Little, Heat Treat Just Right

by Matt Seebeck

Heat-treating is part of a multi-step manufacturing process to get just the right shape, thickness, and hardness for your metal part. Some people use a rough rule of thumb of adding 20 thousandths (0.020”) on each side of the part for intermediate processing. Depending on variables such as material type, part size, and final application, that may be too much or too little. A part may grow or shrink during the heat treat process and this too can affect material usage. So how much intermediary volume should you allow?

We’ll answer your question with questions: What do you want to achieve? What other machining operations are required? What material are you using? Each material has a unique set of properties, which influence the heat treatment process. Tell us why you need to use that material and we can help you determine how much waste to allow for. Alternatively, we can recommend a different material that may achieve your goals.

Whether annealing a drill bit to increase its ductility or carburizing a part so that the outer layer is strong enough to withstand repeated use, we love working with machinists during the design phase, to help them meet the needs of their clients. Whatever your project, a quick call to Qualtek will help you determine specifications that save waste and increase efficiency.