Punch blanks

Brought home a few punch blanks, or raw materials, which are little
round things the size of various rifle cartridges. They are made from
some wonder steel, as I discovered when I tried putting one in a
press, against a mild steel washer. The washer was fully defeated by
the punch blank.
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According to the factory manager, this is A2 or D2 steel.
I used one piece as a male brake die, but don't know what useful
things one could do with these little ones. An awl comes to mind
I would hate to get rid of them and need one later. So... Any ideas?
They are supposedly hard to machine.
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I tried sharpening one pin to the shape of a chisel, and pushed it through a piece of mild steel with a press. The result amazed me.
It cuts through steel like knife through butter.
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They are essentially round HSS tool bits. Grind a flat on one and it will make a nice insert for a boring bar. You can silver solder one to a shank and make a special tool. Any that are ground to a "normal diameter" .250, .375, .500, etc. make nice aligning pins or gages for setting tooling.
A lot of uses. If I were in your vicinity I'd stop by and pick them up just to get them out of your garage so you'd have more space in there :-)
Bruce-in-Bangkok (correct email address for reply)
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Bruce in Bangkok
On Sun, 27 Apr 2008 22:54:16 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm, Ignoramus30765 quickly quoth:
Hey, it's tool steel. Make more tools from them. Punches (duh!), chisels, alignment pins, dowels, coat racks , etc.
-- As a curmudgeon, I grok that in its entirety. --LJ
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Larry Jaques
I will make an awl out of one of them. Also will try to make a chisel style bit to cut steel bars with my press.
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Be careful, they may be brittle and shatter.
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Tom Gardner
I tried breaking one yesterday. (with a pipe and vise, using various precautions). It was very hard to break and was elastic. It finally broke cleanly without shattering into pieces.
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Don't bother trying to cut steel under power with these things (as Bruce suggested) as they are not HSS - they are D2 and A2 and don't have nearly the red-heat wear resistance of HSS.
D2 will eat your grinding wheels. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try to grind them (you don't have too many options anyway) but you should be aware. Very similar to HSS in that respect. A2 is less of a disaster, but still quite tough.
In theory, you can make punches (like punch/die press work punches) by shaping the ends, but you'll of course need the appropriate dies to match.
They're good for striking tools, although you must be careful as they are very hard (as you know) and will eventually shatter. Ideally you shouldn't use a hard-faced hammer (no ball-peen or claw hammers) to wack them. A hammer with a mild steel head could prevent a trip to the hospital (seriously) if you're really into hitting things.
I'd hold on to them if you have the space. Nice to have them available when you need something really hard.
You won't get too far with carbide tooling (really rigid setup, slowish RPM, continous cuts, don't bother with coolant, decent feed, healthy DOC). Ceramic and cermet will do it, but they're expensive.
Really, they're meant to be ground using a punch forming fixture on a surface grinder (at a minimum).
(Perhaps someone who isn't using Google can echo my post so Iggy can see it. Too lazy to post any other way).
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Mea Culpa! I guess I saw the "tool steel" and missed the rest.
Bruce-in-Bangkok (correct Address is bpaige125atgmaildotcom)
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Bruce in Bangkok

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