What does heat treatment cost?

Subject pretty much says it all: What can one expect to pay for various forms of heat treatment (for hardening, not annealing)? I've been under
the assumption that any kind of heat-treat is pretty spendy, so I've been trying to pick materials that can get by without, but some folks are telling me it ain't so bad. I can find no pointers on price, though. Not so bad to one guy could be a back breaker to another...
I know different materials are going to require different procedures, so I would expect the costs to vary. However, does anyone have have any rules of thumb to get me in the ballpark of what I might expect for at least a few of the various procedures? Knowing the price differences in the treatment types would also help me in material selection.
For a general idea, think a cube of steel about 3.5" on a side. That should be about the right ballpark. Probably doing these in respectable quantity, like maybe a few hundred in a squirt. Not vast quantity, but respectable.
Thanks, tg.
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The other Thomas Gardner wrote:

You want homogeneous or localized surface hardening?
Michael Dahms
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I believe I'm after surface hardening. I'm interested in hard for wear on the surface, but still want tough (to withstand all the driving in of the wedge, possible impact in the event of mishandling, whatnot). If I'm not mistooken, I believe that spells case hardening, yes?

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The other Thomas Gardner
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

No, sounds like you need to read a metallurgy book. :/
My favorite (out of a bunch of them!:) is "Metallurgy Theory and Practice" you can get it cheap from Amazon, it's old and there's a jillion of them out there, so it's cheap too.
Other than that you prob'ly have access to ASM's Metals Handbook for free in the library. But MT&P would be the best start. :)
As far as making a metal-lathe-tool-post goes, I'd spark test one and hardness test it and go from there. Shirley the manufacturers know how to make one and make it cheap both. If you have a broken one that's even a better clue.
That's what engineering is all about ain't it? "anybody can build a bridge but it takes an engineer to design it so one can be built at a price the city can afford" (how's that go again?)
Alvin in AZ
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Thanks for the pointers. Not sure I even know enough to understand them, but I'll try.
Thanks, tg.
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The other Thomas Gardner wrote:

For localized surface hardening, a laser is a useful tool.
Michael Dahms
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Depends on how quick you want the product treated. If you are doing a batch of your product you would only need one run to fit a couple of hundred, 3 kilogram castings in the average heat treatment furnace at most foundries. If you are prepared to wait a week or two then you can probably get them done at the same time as another job, either for the foundry itself, or another outside customer.
All of the foundries that I deal with have heat treatment ovens that they drive a forklift into. (once the oven has cooled!) Each item (or for your job, about 50 per pallet) would stack on a steel pallet and go in with a forklift if you are doing a decent batch run. The steel pallets are reused in the oven for many years, so you won't have to pay for these.
The actual price is out of my experience, but if you are doing a batch at the same time, the cost per item would be much smaller than doing each item separately.
Depending on the alloy you use to make your "thing", the temperature and length of time at that temperature will vary, expect it to take about a day. Many runs are done overnight and there may be one person on shift to make sure the oven doesn't go overtemp or something silly. At the end of the high temperature phase the job might be cooled in the oven at a slow rate, or it may be removed and cooled faster by air or water or oil.
As long as you can control the temperature, and tell the time, you can heat treat. If you want to do this yourself, you could build an oven that would do the job out of common bricks and a heater, or a modified household oven, a new thermostat and a couple of extra elements. A pottery kiln could be adapted as well. You would only be able to do as many of your "things" at a time as you could fit in your oven, but this may suit your production rate for a home based industry.
Hope this helps, Peter
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How's insulated fire bricks, not controlling the temperature and no timer either, sound to you, Pete? ;)
To heat treat 1095, O1, 50100-B (W7), L6, 8670-modified and 1.22%C steel I watch for the arrest-point to make a shadow inside the outer edges and thicker (slower) sections and then as soon as the color evens-out, quench the knife blade or knife spring in fast-quenching oil, quick.
I call it "the arrest point method" as opposed to "the magnet method". ;)
I figured it out from reading Del K. Allen's rather old but really good- "Metallurgy Theory and Practice".
Ok, so I use timers and temperature control (Hg oven thermometer) in my ToastMaster toaster-oven when drawing the temper on the knife blades. ;)
For the springs, I use the fact that stuff starts to glow in the dark at 750F to draw the temper on the springs at night on the electric stove with the lights out. Then turn the lights on- and watch the oxide-colors run.
What do you guys think? :)
"we're gettin pretty sofisticated out here in arizona" ?? :)
Alvin in AZ
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Thanks.

Yup, no big hurry is part of the plan.

Week or so probably wouldn't be a problem. I plan to stay ahead of the game on this one. I think it should be easy enough to do.

That would be on my ``someday'' list. Not one of the things I want to tackle right out of the gate. Gotta get a little bigger before that can happen.

Someone else had suggested a pottery kiln. I suspect that's where I would start if I ever decided to try it, but for now, it just seems like something too easily messed up.

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The other Thomas Gardner wrote:

Is it impossible for you to pick up the telephone, and call a heat treater or two which you locate through Thomas Register ?
http://www.thomasnet.com /
You would learn far more far more rapidly by such a phone call or two than endless typing here gets you.
Just because you have the internet as a tool doesn't mean that old technologies like telephone calls are now "Taboo".
Good luck....
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2) Exercise: It's Non-Negotiable..... Chapter 22 title, Atkins book
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No, it's certainly not impossible, but it's been my experience that trying to obtain information from places like so (similar industries) primarily only gets you a run around and higher price. Here, the worst that can happen is someone gets cranky with me. Often times some other kind soul is likely to have mercy and help guide me through. I'm at the point I'm not sure what questions to ask, and when asked questions, I need to look some stuff up in my books or other resources before answering. Try that on a telephone with such an industrial service type company and they just toy with you (or ignore you and try to make you go away).
I may not be real bright, but I'm smart enough to know that much.

I suspect you're wrong. I need to learn far more before I can start making such calls, I believe. I've often marveled at the extreme talent and knowledge that hangs out in groups like these. Most of the time, I just read (when I have the time to do so), but sometimes I really need to ask. I always try to be polite, and am always grateful for any help I get.

You have no idea...
I don't really believe in Taboo. I'm just pretty sure that at this point on the learning curve, that would likely be a costly mistake.

Yeah, you too.
tg.
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Intensely Verbose.....
Sure sign of a problem.
The other Thomas Gardner wrote:

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2) Exercise: It's Non-Negotiable..... Chapter 22 title, Atkins book
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Undoubtedly. Cost of heat treatment, easy to find out. Cost of not knowing what material and heat treatment to use plenty, and slightly harder to find out.
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Whatever.
Been burned before by asking industrial supply types for pricing without having a rough idea first. Not eager to repeat.
Someone over in RCM was kind enough to supply me with rough numbers. That's all I was looking for. Just some ballpark figures to work with.

Slightly? After months of reading all the books, catalogs and webby stuff I could find that I thought might help, I was pretty bewildered. You folks should know better than anyone that this stuff isn't easy. If it were, folks wouldn't pay you to do it.
I just don't know my way around enough to know where to look. So, I asked for some guidance from folks with more experience. When folks ask me questions in one of my current areas of greatest expertise, I usually take it as a complement, and do my best to help. In this case, some tried to help, others to hinder. Eh, it's the Usenet. That's normal.
I apologize for my verbosity.
tg.
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