What’s the Difference Between PH 17-4 and 300 Series Stainless Steel?

PH 17-4 vs. 300 Series Stainless Steel Grades

PH 17-4 and 300 series stainless steel varieties offer a range of applications and machining options. Each delivers unique benefits depending on the component needed. The same applies regarding cons; some PH 17-4 or 300 series stainless components may be better suited for a specific application or industry than the other. 

Below, we highlight the pros and cons of each stainless steel variety, along with use cases, machining processes, and more.

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Wrought Vs. Additive Manufacturing for Stainless Steel

Both 17-4 and 300 series stainless steel grades can be 3D printed/additive manufactured or wrought, depending on the application.

Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), a type of additive manufacturing, drastically accelerates prototyping and product development, and makes previously unattainable geometries practical in production. Its high-power and high-density lasers melt and fuse metallic powders to create intricate components.

Wrought metal, however, is melted down, poured, and run through rollers to create strong, rigid stock for subtractive manufacturing. It is generally stronger than printed metals due to differences in microstructures both in PH 17-4 and 300 series stainless steels.

However, printed stainless steels are strong enough to support a variety of demanding applications. The speed and ability to create intricate geometries can make printing a preferred choice over wrought metal.

PH 17-4 Stainless Steel

PH 17-4 is a martensitic stainless steel that is precipitation-hardenable and delivers an exceptional combination of strength, corrosion resistance, and good mechanical properties at temperatures up to 600°F. It is the most commonly used variety of stainless steel and serves a wide range of industries.

Strength and Performance

PH 17-4 stainless steel is preferred for its high strength, especially for industries like medical device manufacturers. Components that require exceptional hardness also benefit from PH 17-4 construction.

Application and Uses

Many industries rely on PH 17-4 stainless steel for production, including aerospace, medical device, gas turbine, chemical processing and food processing.

Metalcraft Solutions commonly produces the following 17-4 stainless steel components across these industries:

  • - Tire Sipes
    - Medical Device Components
    - Extrusion Dies
    - Injection Molds
    - Fixtures
    - Impellers

Cost and Manufacturing / Machining Process

While PH 17-4 often costs more than 300 series stainless steel, machining costs are often more affordable when compared to the 300 series.

PH 17-4 is commonly used in the following processes:

  • - DMLS / additive manufacturing
  • - CNC machining
  • - Swiss Turning
  • - Laser Cutting
  • - Stamping and Forming
  • - Grinding
  • - Wire EDM

300 Series Stainless Steel

Known for durability, corrosion and temperature resistant properties, the 300 series stainless steel grades include 302, 304, 316,  and others. Generally used for unmagnetized applications, 300 series stainless steels contain between 18 to 30% chromium and 6% to 20% nickel. 

The 300 series stainless steels are incredibly tough and versatile and are used across a variety of industries. Unlike PH 17-4, they are not heat treatable but do offer a higher degree of corrosion resistance.

Strength and Performance

The 300 series stainless steels are tough, wear resistant, and hold their strength well at elevated temperatures.  

Application and Uses

Many industries requiring components that are highly durable, corrosion resistant, and nonmagnetic utilize 300 series stainless steel. The automotive, aerospace, medical device, construction, and food processing industries routinely rely on this material.

Metalcraft Solutions commonly produces the following 300 series stainless steel components across these industries: 

  • - Tire Sipes
  • - Medical Devices
  • - Pump and Valve Components
  • - Heat Shields
  • - Fixtures
  • - Machine Components
  • - Mold Vents

Cost and Manufacturing / Machining Process

The 300 series steel grades are generally more cost-effective than PH 17-4’s, but machining/manufacturing costs can come in at a higher price point.

300 series is commonly used in the following processes:

  • - DMLS / additive manufacturing
  • - CNC machining
  • - Swiss Turning
  • - Laser Cutting
  • - Stamping and Forming
  • - Grinding
  • - Wire EDM

Get the Right Stainless Steel Grades for Your Components with Metalcraft Solutions

Whether you’re looking for PH 17-4 or 300 series stainless steel, Metalcraft Solutions can help you find the right variety and machining or manufacturing process to ensure you get the components you need. Fill out the form below to learn more about how we can help you complete your project on time and within budget.