The 303 stainless steel hex bar is a type 1.4305 steel and is known as being readily machinable. It has been alloyed with sulfur, which makes it easy to be machined and also helps it to be corrosion resistant. The sulfur also makes the steel slightly less tough. The toughness of the 303 stainless steel is lower than 304 stainless steel. However, like with the other austenitic grades of steel, it still has great strength. The machinability rating that is has received is 78 percent of B1112. On average, the cutting speed is around 130 feet per minute. It doesn’t have great welding properties, rating it between low and fair. In order to forge this metal, temperatures between 2100 and 2350 degrees Fahrenheit has to be used. It’s not recommended to use in temperatures below 1700 degrees Fahrenheit for forging.
The applications of 303 stainless steel hex bar are vast, typically being used for aviation parts and other parts that need polishing, grinding or machining. It is an ideal metal for making moving parts. Other than being crafted into machine parts, 303 stainless steel can be used small parts like bolts, screws, gears, valves and shafts.
Heat treating can be used, but not for the hardening of the metal. Instead, cold working should be used to make it stronger and harder. When annealing the metal, it should be performed using temperatures between 1850 and 2050 degrees Fahrenheit. The metal cools off rapidly, but for heavier sections, water should be used. For the lighter sections, air can be used. The range for relieving stress during this process is between 400 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit.