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Grade Introduction:
Molybdenum high-speed steels and tungsten high-speed steels are two types of high-speed tool steels. Molybdenum high-speed steels, also known as group M steels, comprise less initial cost. Molybdenum steel types M1 to M10 have tungsten whereas cobalt is not found in type M6. Cobalt is totally absent in these types of molybdenum high-speed steels.
M42 tool steel, a type of molybdenum high-speed tool steel, has good wear resistance and hot hardness along with high hardness values.
Grade Application:
M42 tool steel is mostly used for machine materials and superalloys that are difficult to machine. The machine materials include chasers, broaches, form and gear cutters, hobs, drills, milling cutters, end mills, and taps.
Equivalent grades:
StandardASTM A600DIN EN ISO 4957JIS G4403
Addition to other grades:
MS, EN1A, EN3B, EN8, EN8D, EN9, EN19, EN24, EN31, EN32B, EN36C, EN41B, EN43B, EN47, EN353, IS2062, 42Crmo4, HCHCR, OHNS, D2, D3, H-11, H-13, CW-1, M2, M35, 2714, SKD-11, P20, P20+S, P20+Ni, SCM 420, ASTM SA-36, ASTM SA-105, SAE 1018, SAE 1020, SAE 4140, SAE 8620, 16MNCR5, 20MNCR5, C20, C35, C40, C45, C50, C60, CK45, 20C8, 40C8, 45C8, 55C8, C55MN75, SAE 52100, S40C, S355J2G3.
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Chemical composition:
The following table shows the chemical composition of M42 steel:
Mechanical Properties:
The mechanical properties of M42 molybdenum high-speed tool steel are displayed in the following table.
Mechanical PropertiesMetricImperial
Hardness, Rockwell C (oil quenched from 1204°C, 5 minutes)64.364.3
Hardness, Rockwell C (oil quenched from 1177°C, 5 minutes)65.565.5
Hardness, Rockwell C(oil quenched from 1163°C)65.865.8
Izod impact unnotched (oil quenched at 1191°C; 510°C temper temperature)13.6 J10.0 ft- lb
Izod impact unnotched (oil quenched at 1191°C; 622°C temper temperature)24.4 J24.4 J
Machinability (1% carbon steel)35.0 – 40.0%35.0 – 40.0%
Poisson’s ratio0.27-0.300.27-0.30
Elastic modulus190-210 GPa27557-30457 ksi
Heat treatment:
Heat treatment temperatures, including the rate of heating, cooling, and soaking times will vary due to factors such as the shape and size of each M42 steel component. Other considerations during the heat treatment process include the type of furnace, quenching medium, and workpiece transfer facilities. Please consult your heat treatment provider for full guidance on heat treatment of high-speed steels.
For best results harden the M42 in a vacuum or controlled furnace, or in a properly rectified salt bath. Preheat the steel thoroughly to 820-870°C then transfer to the high-temperature salt bath or furnace. The exact hardening temperature to use for M42 will depend on the type of work being treated, but in general, components should be hardened from the range of 1160-1180°C in salt or 1180-1190°C in the atmosphere or vacuum furnaces. After a short hold at the hardening temperature, quench the component without further soaking into salt at 540-595°C or warm oil. If salt quenched allow the component to equalize at the bath temperature and then complete the quench in still air.
M42 tool steel components can be tempered between 510-595°C. Components require a minimum tempering temperature of 540°C and it is recommended to provide suitable relief to the hardening stresses. Triple tempering is recommended with a minimum of two hours at temperature per cycle. The component should be cooled in still air to room temperature between tempering treatments.
Temperature [°C]500550600
Hardness [HRc]676963
Physical Properties:
The table below shows the physical properties of M42 molybdenum high-speed tool steel.
Physical PropertiesMetricImperial
Density7.81 g/cm30.282 lb/in3
Thermal Properties:
Properties Unit TEMPERATURE °C / °F 
20 / 70 400 / 750 600 / 1110 
DENSITY Kg/m³ lbs/in³ 8.03 .290 7.93 .286 7.87 .284 
MODULUS OF ELASTICITY kN/mm³² psi 225 33 · 10 6 200 29 · 10 6 180 26 · 10 6 
COEFFICIENT OF THERMAL EXPANSION FROM 20°C / 70°F per °C per °F  11.5 · 10-6 6.4 · 10-6 11.8 · 10-6 6.6 · 10-6 
THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY W/m °C Btu/sq. ft. h °F/in. 24 166 28 194 27 187 
SPECIFIC HEAT J/kg °C Btu/lb °F 420 0.10 510 0.12 600 0.14 
Forging Properties:
Preheat the M42 high-speed steel slowly and uniformly to 650-760°C and equalize. Then increase more quickly to the forging temperature of 1010-1150°C and equalize prior to forging. Do not allow the forging temperature to drop below 980°C, if this occurs reheating will be necessary. Always cool the high-speed steel very slowly after forging.
Stress Relieving:
If tools produced from M42 high-speed steel are heavily machined or ground it is recommended to stress relief after machining and prior to hardening to minimize the possibility of distortion. To stress relieve heat the component to 600-650°C and soak well (approximately two hours) Cool slowly in the furnace. The M42 tools can be finish machined before heat treatment.
Do not normalize.
Annealing of M42  is recommended after hot working and before re-hardening. Heat the M42 high-speed steel to 850°C at a rate of no more than 220°C per hour. Always hold at temperature for one hour per 25mm of a thickness (with two hours being minimum). The furnace cools slowly. The M42 annealed hardness achieved should be 269 Brinell or lower.
Physical PropertiesMetricImperial
Density7.81 g/cm30.282 lb/in3
M42 tool steel can be drilled, turned, threaded, broached, milled, and tapped when it is in its annealed condition and rated at 45% of 1% carbon steel.
Weld preheat / post-heat and interpass temp 950 – 1050 F
Welding doesn’t exceed 1000 (537C) Interpass temp.
Welding small repairs preheat to 300F (150C)
Welding type M1 filler for “edge cutting tools HRC 60
Welding type M36 filler provides both hardness and toughness.
Weld post-heat at draw tempering temp
After weld cool to 400F (200C) then temper 1000F per hr/inch
If hard surface not required consider E312 – E9018 or E11018
Use lowest amps, short arc length short bead, air cool
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