Carbon vs. Metal STEEL - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 03-12-2009
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Carbon vs. Metal STEEL

SCROLL DOWN FOR PICS!!!

Im shortly going to be building an ARB style bumper. Plate BUmper with a stinger. Very similiar to WOLFMAN'S.
he state taht he used "carbon steel" for his, (how thick for the plates?, or a suggestion for plate thickness... 1/4 1/8 3/16.

However, the problem lies here... my friends dad has access to all the free scrap steel in "the yard" left over from other jobs, BUT is what he calls "mild steel" i understand it isnt as hard as "carbon steel"

Can we get some comparisions... and the pros and cons of using carbon and mild.
is it foolish to use mild steel for my ARB style plate bumper??

-THANKS

Last edited by wellcom2knoxvile; 03-17-2009 at 12:43 AM. Reason: pics
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Old 03-12-2009
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Carbon steel and mild steel are the same thing. Just how much percentage of carbon is in the steel is probably what the matter is. What is the number for teh steel you're looking at? In the end i'm sure its not going to matter for a skid plate on your truck which one you use over the other.
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Old 03-12-2009
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If you want to really learn something, i could probably find some materials charts, engineering diagrams, and all kinds of other crap for the differences between "carbon steel" and "mild steel" but the truth is that you'd NEVER know the difference. It's not like carbon steel would protect your truck any better in an accident or anything like that.

For all practical purposes carbon steel IS mild steel, particularly when you're talking about home fabricators and homebrew bumpers.
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Old 03-12-2009
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They are the same thing. Steel is classified by how much carbon it contains. Anything with under 2% carbon is called carbon steel. Mild steel falls into this category. Mild steel falls under the lower carbon steel category. Usually containing less then .30 percent carbon. The more carbon steel contains the harder and more brittle it is.
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Old 03-12-2009
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so you think that a thick 1/4 inch piece of mild steel would be fine for making the plates for my ARB style bumper??

i can get it all for free!!!!
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Old 03-12-2009
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so for making and ARB Style front plate bumper. would a thick piece of 1/5 inch piece of mild steel be sufficient.???

i can get it all for free!!!!
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Old 03-12-2009
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1\4 is pretty heavy, but nothing wrong with that. Most people use 1\8 or 3\16. Hey its free get it.
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Old 03-12-2009
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i was also considering 3/16 steel,
ONE QUESTION!!!

i look at a piece of 3/16 steel, one was regular, and one piece was "hardend" which felt much more rigid. i really want the bumper to be rigid!!!

will the "mild un-hardend" steel be good enough?? how thick should i go??
can i take it to a shop to harden it??
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Old 03-12-2009
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You dont want hardened steel for a bumper, the harder something is the more brittle it is. It will crack if it is hit to hard.
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Old 03-12-2009
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also!! (after doing some reading)you can use lighter gauge carbon steel because it produces the same performance as a heavier piece of mild steel

it says that mild steel is "easier to bend at a lower tempurature" but this mite be relative to construction purposes and not to bumper building!!!

its hard to relate the strength ratings of construction and steel websites for building applications and compare them our trucks!!

so instead of a 3/16 piece of carbon..
should i use a 1/4 piece of mild??

Thanks

(what would be a final suggestion thickness for the bumper plates,, and a suggestion for the reinforcement steel behind it.)

THIS WONT BE FOR A WINCH because i have a front hitch. JUST FOR INCASE I HIT TREES WHILE ON THE TRAIL!!
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Old 03-12-2009
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3/16 Mild steel will be fine. Making a bumper strong isn't about using the thickest material. In my opinion you would be way better off designing a bumper with proper gusseting out of 1/8" material then building a big honkin' C channel out of 1/2" plate. Not saying the 1/2" channel wouldn't make a decent bumper. I'm just saying you'd probably have a bumper that would be twice as heavy as mine and about the same strength.

Personally, I'd go with whatever is free. Mild steel, carbon steel, whatever... you aren't going to be able to tell a difference. Any decent amount of steel is going to cost you more then you think, so I'd take whatever you can from the guy and just work with the scraps.
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Old 03-12-2009
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ONE MORE QUESTION!!! ive decided to go with mild steel. probably 3/16. but would 1/8 be too skinny???
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Old 03-15-2009
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You can make anything work. You'd obviously have to design in more gusseting for a bumper out of 1/8" steel to get the strength. I mean to be completely honest though, I'm simply speaking from what I know about metal fabrication. I've never made a bumper and I've never ran into anything with it. The only real way to know is to build it, hit something and see if it holds up to what you want it to.

If not, you go back and make the parts that need to be strengthed stronger. If it works, it works.
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Old 03-15-2009
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No matter what thickness steel (1/8", 3/16", or 1/4") you use, it will bend and deform in an accident. Building this bumper isnt going to save your truck from a 70 mph head on collision.
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Old 03-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malydeen View Post
No matter what thickness steel (1/8", 3/16", or 1/4") you use, it will bend and deform in an accident. Building this bumper isnt going to save your truck from a 70 mph head on collision.
Well I dont think he is building this bumper for a head on.

But I would use either 1/8 or 3/16ths. It will lighten up the bumper alot. This style of bumper is naturally going to be heavy. The lighter you make it, the less stress there will be on your front end components. But remember that you will have to gusset more places, like Sniper said. You also have to remeber that this is going on a relitivley light truck. This isn't a super duty, you dont need a massive bumper out of 1/2 inch steel to ram crap out of the way.

Are you going to be designing a winch mount into it? If you are, I would make the winch mounting plates, and where it attaches to your frame, out of 1/4. With a winch pulling, I would like to be safer than sorry.



Good luck, and post progress pics!
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Old 03-15-2009
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hey, should i post the pics in here or on a new thread. i gott some!
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Old 03-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malydeen
No matter what thickness steel (1/8", 3/16", or 1/4") you use, it will bend and deform in an accident. Building this bumper isnt going to save your truck from a 70 mph head on collision.
please tell me your not serious!! im building a trail rig bumper.
so in the instance i bump a tress ill be good to go!!

im and building a front hitch behind the bumper so the winch can be mounted only when i need it. however i will have shackle recover d hooks on the bumper..


where should i put the pics??
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Old 03-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wellcom2knoxvile View Post
please tell me your not serious!! im building a trail rig bumper.
so in the instance i bump a tress ill be good to go!!

im and building a front hitch behind the bumper so the winch can be mounted only when i need it. however i will have shackle recover d hooks on the bumper..


where should i put the pics??
Sorry I assumed that it would be for looks not for a trail rig. The pros of going thicker are going to be LESS damage if you bump a tree, but the cons are going to be weight. Tossing a couple hundred pounds on the front of your truck is gonna mess with your suspension.
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Old 03-17-2009
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it always helps to work in a steel shop for sure....all the free scrap that you want to rig something up. this summer ima get some steel together to fab up a bumper.

but ya carbon and mild steel are the same things. id just go with mild.
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Old 03-17-2009
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ill have pics up in 8 mins!!!
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Old 03-17-2009
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used 1/4 steel plate with channel on the bottom

Last edited by wellcom2knoxvile; 03-17-2009 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 03-17-2009
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FEEDBACK NEEDED!!!
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