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General Information
Tool steels are steels that are primarily used to make tools used in manufacturing processes as well as for machining metals, woods, and plastics. Tool steels are generally ingot-cast wrought products, and must be able to withstand high specific loads as well as be stable at elevated temperatures.
Types
High-Speed Tool Steels: High-speed alloys include all molybdenum (M1 to M52) and tungsten (T1 to T15) class alloys. High-speed tools steels can be hardenend to 62-67 HRC and can maintain this hardness in service temperatures as high as 540 °C (1004°F), making them very useful in high-speed machinery. Typical applications are end mills, drills, lathe tools, planar tools, punches, reamers, routers, taps, saws, broaches, chasers, and hobs.

Hot-work Tool Steels: Hot-work tool steels include all chromium, tungsten, and molybdenum class H alloys. They are typically used for forging, die casting, heading, piercing, trim, extrusion, and hot-shear and punching blades.

Cold-work Tool Steels: Cold-work tool steels include all high-chromium class D, medium-alloy air-hardening class A alloys, water hardening W alloys, and oil hardening O alloys. Typical applications include cold working operations such as stamping dies, draw dies, burnishing tools, coining tools, and shear blades.

Shock-Resistant Tool Steels: Cold-work tool steels include all class S alloys. They are among the toughest of the tool steels, and are typically used for screw driver blades, shear blades, chisels, knockout pins, punches, and riveting tools.

Mold Steels: Mold steels include all low-carbon and one medium-carbon class P tool steels. They are typically used for compression and injection molds for plastics, and die-casting dies.

Special-Purpose Tool Steels: Special-Purpose Tool Steels include all low-alloy class L Tool steels. They are usually quenched, which makes them relatively tough and easily machinable. They are typically used for arbors, punches, taps, wrenches, drills, and brake-forming dies.

Water-Hardening Tool Steels: Water-Hardening Tool steels include all class W tool steels, and while they do not retain hardness well at elevated temperatures, they do have high resistance to surface wear. Typical applications include blanking dies, files, drills, taps, countersinks, reamers, jewelry dies, and cold-striking dies.

AISI Designations
    W:Water-Hardening
S:Shock-Resisting
O:Cold-Work (Oil-Hardening)
A:Cold-Work (Medium-Alloy, Air-Hardening)
D:Cold-Work (High-Carbon, High-Chromium)
L:Low-Alloy
F:Carbon-Tungsten
P: P1-P19 Low-Carbon Mold Steels
  P20-P39 Other Mold Steels
H: H1-H19: Chromium-Base Hot Work
  H20-H29: Tungsten-Base Hot Work
  H40-H59: Molybdenum-Base Hot Work
T:High-Speed (Tungsten-Base)
M:High-Speed (Molybdenum-Base)
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