Hardening demonstration

Host Bob Sanders

October 18, 2003

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Attendance: Dean Quackenbush, Neil Peters, Tom Davis, Robert Stewart, Tom Haltmeyer, Richard Bennett, Neil and David Butterfield, Owen Jeffers, Lee Studley, Russ Stillman, Scott Brown and of course our host Bob Sanders.
Below is some info from the internet:


The Rockwell hardness tester measures resistance to penetration like the Brinell test, but in the Rockwell case, the depth of the impression is measured rather than the diametric area. With the Rockwell tester, the hardness is indicated directly on the scale attached to the machine. This dial like scale is really a depth gauge, graduated in special units. The Rockwell hardness test is the most used and versatile of the hardness tests. The desk top testing machine has a variety of attachments that make it capable of measuring the hardness of a wide variety of materials in many sizes and shapes. Among the Rockwell advantages are, tests can be made quickly, just a small mark left in the sample, and it's capable of testing very hard material. It uses two types of indenters for its "common scales". For soft materials such as copper alloys, soft steel,and aluminum alloys a 1/16" diameter steel ball is used with a 100 kilogram load and the hardness is read on the "B" scale. In testing harder materials, hard cast iron and many steel alloys, a 120 degrees diamond cone is used with up to a 150 kilogram load and the hardness is read on the "C" scale. The Rockwell test uses two loads, one applied directly after the other. The first load, known as the "minor", load of 10 kilograms is applied to the specimen to help seat the indenter and remove the effects, in the test, of any surface irregularities. In essence, the minor load creates a uniformly shaped surface for the major load to be applied to. The difference in the depth of the indentation between the minor and major loads provides the Rockwell hardness number. There are several Rockwell scales other than the "B" & "C" scales, (which are called the common scales). The other scales also use a letter for the scale symbol prefix, and many use a different sized steel ball indenter. A properly used Rockwell designation will have the hardness number followed by "HR" (Hardness Rockwell), which will be followed by another letter which indicates the specific Rockwell scale. An example is 60 HRB which indicates that the specimen has a hardness reading of 60 on the B scale.


A heating and cooling operation implying usually a relatively slow cooling. Annealing is a comprehensive term. The process of such a heat treatment may be: to remove stresses; to induce softness; to alter ductility; toughness; electrical magnetic, or other physical properties; to refine the crystalline structure; to remove gases; to produce a definite micro-structure. In annealing, the temperature of the operation and the rate of cooling depend upon the material being heat treated and the purpose of the treatment.


Any process which increases the hardness of a metal. Usually heating and quenching certain iron base alloys from a temperature either within or above the critical temperature range.


A term given to an annealed and polished high carbon tool steel rod usually round and centerless ground. The sizes range in round stock from .013 to 1 diameter. Commercial qualities embrace water and oil hardening grades. A less popular but nevertheless standard grade is a non-deforming quality. Drill Rods are used principally by machinists and tool and die makers for punches, drills, taps, dowel pins, screw machine parts, small tools, etc.


Reheated after hardening to a temperature below the critical for the purpose of changing the hardness of the steel. (See Tempering)


(Also termed "drawing.") - A process of re-heating quench-hardened or normalized steel to a temperature below the transformation range and then cooling at any rate desired. The primary purpose of tempering is to impart a degree of plasticity or toughness to the steel to alleviate the brittleness of its martensite.

Bob heating Drill Rod with MAPP gas torch to bright red (1500 degrees F) (Note that he is using tongs to hold the hot metal rod while being heated) I think Bob said it was 01 or 02 steel
Close up showing bright red glow and extra torch to evenly heat the rod
Electric furnace (not up to temp yet)
Quenching oil. (From Chevron Quenching Oil 70) Combines the high initial quenching speed of water with slow final quenching speed of oil. High flash point (365 deg F) and fire point (439 deg F) minimize the possibility of fire problems.
Drill rod after hardening (Maybe Bob could describe coloring as it relates to hardness)
Temperature chart from one of Bob's books (readable if you zoom in a bit)
Bob performing a Rockwell hardness test (C - Scale) The un-heated side of the drill rod had a hardness of 15 HRC, and the heated side of the drill rod was 62 HRC!
Bob testing some metal brought in by a group member
Close up of the hardness tester
Close up of the electric furnace (annealing oven) (Note box of 2mil metal wrap, for wrapping metal be for going into the furnace, to prevent oxidization)
Electric furnace
Bob re-heating the drill rod for Draw Back (Note that he is now holding tongs because the drill rod got to hot to hold in his bare hands!) I missed that shot.
Close up of drill rod after Draw Back operation. The hardness was re-tested and measured from 62 HRC near the end and 52 HRC in the middle of the blue area.
I forgot to take a note on this, but I think Bob called it anti scaling powder for annealing
Electric furnace at 1500 degrees F (bright red)