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Rapid Prototype Steel Materials for DV testing

Rapid Prototype Steel Materials for DV testing

(OP)
I've been a long time lurker and i have been very satisfied with the information that is contained in this forum.  I really thank everyone for their information based from their experiences as they have provided me with the good direction for my research.

But, given all of this good information located here, I haven’t been able to locate an answer to my current problem.

I am product designer working on a new application for one of the NAO based Automotive OEMs.  I am having a very tough time locating production based material for our functional prototypes that are used for Design Verification.  This usually consists of replacing a part that will be Forged/Quenched, Sintered Powder Metal, or Stamped Sheet with a piece that is machined from solid for these DV test prototypes.  What experience has everyone had when replacing production based steel materials (1035, 5115, DD12, 1008, HSLA, Dual Phase, etc) with normal bar stock materials (8620, 1018, 1045, 4140, 6150 etc)?  Our current solution involves ordering steel from Europe, but it is very hard to meet the time demands of the customer by this method.

To throw a wrench into the works, the material properties are very important, as this material is in a stressed Laser Weld Joint.

Thanks,
-Ryan

RE: Rapid Prototype Steel Materials for DV testing

If I understand correctly, the problem is availability of steel bars in the US?  Unfortunately, this is still a problem due to numerous market factors.  Do you have a relationship with any steel distributors or service centers that can support smaller quantities with shorter lead times?

RE: Rapid Prototype Steel Materials for DV testing

(OP)

We have several steel distributors in the area that we deal with, but they only deal in the usual steel bar materials, not forging/processed steel.  They don't mind ordering for us some forging blanks from the mill of the desired material, but we don't need a full furnace load worth as it would last us 20 years worth of prototype builds.

I think one of the real problems is that we puchase from outside sources 100% of our production forgings and machined finished parts.  Our next step is to contact our suppliers directly to see if they have any of this special material in a size we desire for their other customers.  It doesn't help that our purchasing department that deals with suppliers is at our manufacturing facility in Mexico, and that we love to change these suppliers on a weekly basis.  That is, if our suppliers are even still operating and haven't declared bankruptcy (we lost 2 in the last couple of months).

Low cost manufacturing facility in Mexico meets high tech German based design... and I am caught in the middle.

RE: Rapid Prototype Steel Materials for DV testing

HSLA, and Dual Phase matls along with IF and other sheet steels may be availabel from these guys:

Jonner Steel Industries

Here is the link:
http://www.jonnersteel.com/

RE: Rapid Prototype Steel Materials for DV testing

(OP)
Ah, i was a little misleading when including the HSLA and Dual Phase materials to my list.

What i ment to say, was that these are all processed materials and because of this trait they usually involve stamping tooling to create parts, which involves time and money.  I was looking for ways to compare test parts made quickly from common stock machined materials to prove out design concepts.

The particular problem i am having is with forging based materials.  I need to evaluate several designs involving a laser weld connection process, and also an alternative design to this same connection not using laser welding.  I am still having no luck.

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