With a deliberately low manganese content to prevent cracking during water quenching, tool steel usually has a carbon content between 0.7% and 1.4%. Since the tools derived from this metal will be often be placed under high levels of stress, it must be manufactured under carefully controlled conditions, so that the resulting alloys can resist that stress. This group of alloys is noted for its resistance to abrasion, warping at high temperatures, a comparatively high level of hardness, and an ability to hold a keen cutting edge.
Things to keep in mind about tool steel
This group of alloys is used for processes such as: Blanking, Stamping, Slitting, Embossing, Drawing, and Injection molding, but it is not limited to these particular areas. As with most metals, the type of alloy to be used for a project is largely dependent on the desired outcome. Higher carbon grades are usually used for processes such as metal cutting tools, stamping dies, etc., while the lower carbon grades are typically used for processes that require high levels of toughness, such as jackhammer bits.
There are a variety of shock resisting grades, hot-working grades, high speed grades, special purpose grades; these metals can also be graded by whether the metal was air cooled, water cooled, or a combination of oil and air cooling. With so many different grades of so many different types of alloys, finding the right metal for your project can quickly get confusing without an AISI SAE guide to get you started.