After austenizing your tool steel component, your tool will need to be quenched. Quenching is the process of rapidly cooling the tool steel below its critical temperature. This rapid cooling of the tool traps the alloying elements within the tough iron matrix. If the cooling rate is not rapid enough, then the tool will not attain the proper hardness. If the cooling rate is too fast, then the tool could crack due to stress. If you have ever heard a "Pop" or "Ting" sound while your part is being quenched, that means that it has cracked.
There are many types of quenching methods. Quenching of tool steel usually involves submerging the tool into a quenching medium. Each grade of steel may have more than one type of quenching method. Common methods of quenching include water, oil, air, salt brine and vacuum. Each quenching method cools the steel at a different rate. Water is the fastest method and still-air is the slowest method
For the complete heat treating procedure, including tempering charts, tips and tool steel data sheets, see our "Tool Steel Simplified" book.
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