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Machining D2 Steel?

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Vic29/07/2021 12:56:07
2919 forum posts
8 photos

I’m contemplating making an item that would be very much easier if I used ground steel stock. I did originally think of using O1 as it’s readily available and I’ve machined it before. Ideally though I’d prefer to use something more rust resistant and I noticed that D2 is available as annealed ground stock. I was just wondering how this stuff is for milling, drilling and threading?

Alternatively are there any other rust resistant steels commonly available as ground stock? TIA.

pgk pgk29/07/2021 13:59:48
2321 forum posts
293 photos


These guys sell precision ground stuff and also do their own manufacture of some fastenings and sell 303 stainless (and other stuff)

Whether they do their own grinding I don't know but may be worth the ask?


Tony Pratt 129/07/2021 14:00:26
1699 forum posts
8 photos

I have used D2 in the now distant past & from memory it was more difficult to machine than O1. Maybe a little more info on the part to be made will help us.


SillyOldDuffer29/07/2021 15:15:58
7566 forum posts
1681 photos

Judging by the specification it's an extra tough tool-steel that would be hard to machine. Though it can be machined EDM and grinding are preferred. Carbide or better rather than HSS.

If you try can you let us know? I doubt many of us have done it. (Expect fifty posts saying I'm wrong!)


Graham Meek29/07/2021 15:16:27
398 forum posts
259 photos

I have used D2 in the past for press tools. It is usually vacuum hardened for this usage. The material is more dimensionally stable than O1 during the heat treatment process.

If these characteristics are not required then I would stick with O1. D2 is not something I would want to choose to machine if I had the option of using O1.

Most tool steels will rust, so if the requirement is for a non-rusting component then stainless is the way to go, but this comes with its own set of problems depending on the grade.



Stueeee29/07/2021 15:29:17
104 forum posts

If you use a CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) tool you will be able to machine D2 even when it's been heat treated. Here's a ball race I Machined a few weeks ago, according to the bearing manufacturer, the hardness is 60+ Rockwell C.

Pretty much a mirror finish, machining needs to be done "dry" as coolant will cause the insert to crack.

Len Morris 219/08/2021 12:35:57
57 forum posts
29 photos

Nearly all the steel I machined at work was D2 and in its annealed form it's lovely to work with. Best to use a tipped tool but HSS will work fine correctly ground (but not as long). A lot depends on your lathe power. High speed (1000 rpm) and medium cuts (20 thou) will leave a super finish on say one inch bar. Coolant works well but only if it's copious, otherwise do the job dry. An occasional squirt from a squeezy bottle is next to useless and will crack the tool.


Mark Rand19/08/2021 19:50:26
1061 forum posts
12 photos


D2 machines quite easily in the annealed condition. Once hardened, CBN inserts can clean it up.


Got a length of 50mm dia to make a roller for embedding diamond grit into a cast iron lap. Hardened it in SWMBOs pottery kiln and tempered it in the kitchen oven.

Edited By Mark Rand on 19/08/2021 19:51:03

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