Difference Between Steel 1018 and A36 – A36 vs 1018, Which Is Better for Machining?


The 1018 mild steel is similar to A36 chemically, when it comes to picking one of them, which one should you choose? We’ll compare them in different aspects and list all the differences between 1018 and A36.

What is A36 Steel?

A36 (ASTM A36, UNS K02600) steel is a common grade of low-carbon structural steel widely used in various industries and applications. It is named after the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) designation A36. A36 steel is characterized by its relatively low carbon content, making it easily weldable and formable. It contains a small amount of other alloying elements, such as manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, and silicon, which impart certain properties to the steel. A36 steel offers good strength, ductility, and toughness, making it suitable for structural and construction purposes. It is commonly used in buildings, bridges, machinery, welded structures, and general fabrication applications.

What is 1018 Steel?

1018 steel (SAE/AISI 1018), also known as low-carbon steel or cold-rolled steel, is a commonly used grade of carbon steel. It is named after its composition, which primarily consists of 0.18% carbon. 1018 steel is characterized by its excellent weldability, machinability, and affordability. It contains small amounts of other elements, such as manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur. This steel grade is often cold-formed, meaning it undergoes a process of rolling at room temperature to achieve its final shape. 1018 steel is utilized in various applications, including bolts, studs, screws, gears, shafts, and general-purpose components where good machinability and weldability are required. It is not as strong as some other steel grades, but its versatility, ease of fabrication, and cost-effectiveness make it a popular choice in many industries.

Difference Between Steel 1018 and A36

1. Composition:

– 1018: It is low-carbon steel with approximately 0.18% carbon. Other elements in its composition include small amounts of manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur.

– A36: It is also a low-carbon steel with about 0.26% carbon. It may contain small amounts of other elements such as manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, and silicon.

2. Properties:

– 1018: It has relatively lower strength and hardness compared to A36. The typical tensile strength is around 58,000 psi, and the yield strength is approximately 36,000 psi.

– A36: It has higher strength and hardness compared to 1018. The tensile strength can range from 58,000 to 80,000 psi, and the yield strength is around 36,000 psi.

3. Machinability:

– 1018: It has excellent machinability due to its lower carbon content, which allows for easier cutting, drilling, and shaping during machining processes.

– A36: It also has good machinability, although it may be slightly tougher to machine compared to 1018 due to its slightly higher carbon content.

4. Weldability:

– Both 1018 and A36 are generally considered to have good weldability. They can be successfully welded using common welding techniques, such as arc welding, MIG welding, and TIG welding.

5. Cost:

– 1018: It is typically more affordable compared to A36 due to its lower carbon content and slightly lower strength properties.

– A36: It is usually slightly more expensive than 1018 due to its higher strength and hardness.

6. Applications:

– 1018: It is commonly used in applications that require good machinability and weldability, such as bolts, studs, screws, gears, and general-purpose components.

– A36: It is widely used in structural and construction applications, including buildings, bridges, machinery parts, welded structures, and various industrial applications.


A36 vs 1018, Which Is Better for Machining?

In general, 1018 steel is considered better than A36 for CNC steel machining due to its lower carbon content. The lower carbon content of 1018 steel makes it easier to cut, drill, and shape during machining processes. It has excellent machinability and can be readily worked with common machining operations such as turning, milling, drilling, and tapping. However, A36 can still be machined effectively with appropriate cutting tools, feeds, and speeds. A36 steel’s machinability is still considered good but may require more power and tool wear compared to 1018.