What Are High Speed Steels Used For?

What is high speed steel

High-speed steel (HSS) is a set of 40+ tool steel alloys that consist of carbon steel, alloyed with more than 7% tungsten or molybdenum, together with percentages of chromium, vanadium and cobalt. HSS are used as cutting tool material and machine parts in demanding high-speed machining applications. So-named as they can cut metals at high speeds, 3-4 times faster than traditional high-carbon steels. The alloying elements raise the temperature at which tempering occurs, allowing HSS to withstand higher temperatures, up to about 650°C, without losing their hardness. They can be easily shaped in both a soft and hardened state. They can also be reground, giving several cutting lives before being discarded. In essence, they exhibit exceptional hardness, abrasion resistance and resistance against softening at high temperatures.

Main Uses of high speed steel

They are mainly used to manufacture various cutting tools: drills, taps, milling cutters, drill and tool bits, hobbing (gear) cutters, power saw blades, planer and jointer blades, router bits, punches and dies.

What is high speed steel made from?

High-speed steel (HSS) is made from 40+ tool steel alloys consisting of carbon steel, alloyed with more than 7% tungsten or molybdenum, and percentages of chromium-vanadium and cobalt. Its carbon content is about 0.7%-1.65%. And the alloy content is about 10%-25%.

How hard is high speed steel?

At room temperature, in their generally recommended heat treatment, High Speed Steel grades display high hardness (above Rockwell hardness 60).

What are high speed steel drill bits used for?

They are used to drill steel, iron, and other metals such as brass, copper and aluminium alloy, and other hard materials such as wood, fibreglass, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). HSS drills can be sharpened to rectify use.

Advantages of high speed steel

  • Application temperature over 600°C.

  • High cutting speeds

  • High strength (high breaking strength)

  • Relatively low price

  • Application temperature over 600°C.

  • High cutting speeds.

  • High strength (high breaking strength)

  • Relatively low price

Disadvantages of high speed steel

  • low flexural (bending) strength

  • poor impact toughness

  • high brittleness

  • low impact and vibration resistance

  • Must be strengthened by heat treatment

  • Wears out much faster than carbide, so need replacing more often

  • HSS tools are less effective at creating good quality surface finishes