SM-100 FAQ

Common questions (and answers) about SM-100.

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We’re getting a lot of questions about SM-100 mainly from the knife community, so we thought that we’d start a FAQ to address some of them.  Thanks for looking and let us know if your questions aren’t answered here.

  • What is the recommended heat treat for SM-100?
    • Plate is delivered from us in the annealed state with a hardness ranging from Rc 30 to Rc 35.  To harden it after profiling, we recommended 1800F with a 30 minute hold followed by an oil quench – this will get you to Rc 60.  We then do a stabilization treatment of 600F with a 4 hour hold air cooled.
  • What do you mean when you say SM-100 is non-magnetic?
    • We literally mean non-magnetic in the military sense according to their standard MIL-DTL-1959D (OS) “Magnetic Effect Limits for Nonmagnetic Equipment Used in the Proximity of Magnetic Influenced Ordnance“, which essentially states that a material can deviate from the Earth’s normal magnetic pull by only 5 gamma, or 5 microTesla, and SM-100 came it at 0.02!  Much thanks to Les George for helping set up the initial testing for us.
  • Since there is Titanium in the alloy, can you color or anodize it?
    • The short answer is yes, but it is not as easy to deal with as Titanium or Niobium in this regard.  Elliot Williamson has done work in this area and come up with some beautiful colors via heat tinting and anodizing.
  • What can you tell me about SM-100’s’ shape memory effect that I’m hearing about?
    • In the softened state (Rc ~30), SM-100 displays a shape memory effect.  This means that you can deform the material in the soft state, then if heat is applied to it, it will go back to the un-deformed state.  Some folks are doing some crazy things with this material attribute.
  • How is the material processed?
    • It is a powder metallurgy alloy – so if you are familiar with CPM materials, you pretty much know how we process it to get it into sheet form.
  • What is the composition?
    • Many people are asking this question.  The base chemistry is derived from the 60NiTiNOL (or NiTiNOL 60) work that was done by the U.S. Navy in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  At that point, even though the properties were astounding, it proved too difficult to work with to further pursue.  Enter Summit Materials and several years of hard work and we’re now at a point where we’ve optimized the chemistry and processing maps to a point where it is commercially available.
  • Where can I get it?
    • We are striving to keep up with demand, but it has surpassed even our expectations.  The best place to keep up to date on when new batches become available is to visit our store page and sign up for updates.
  • How to I get the cool oxide distributions like I’ve seen on some of Les George’s knives?  Oxidized Les George SM-100 blade.
    • The initial oxide coating that started this craze was actually an accident.  We were heat treating a blade for Les and had it wrapped up in foil to minimize oxidation and it leaked around one of the seams and let oxygen bleed into the foil.  The rest is artistic history.
  • What is the best way to cut out knife blanks from SM-100 sheet?
    • Folks have used many different techniques here and all have met with success; bandsaw (with carbide blade), water jet, wire EDM, laser, grinding it out – basically, whatever you typically do is fine.
  • What type of tooling should I use to machine SM-100?
    • We have found it necessary to use carbide tooling and slow machining speeds down.  You can see a short video below of SM-100 being machined on a lathe complete dry.

  • Do blades need to be taken out parallel to the rolling direction?
    • We’re not sure about the answer to this question yet.  We have only dealt with blades taken out in the orientation parallel to the rolling axis.  If anyone has done it differently, please let us know.
  • Would Summit feature my SM-100 work on their blog and Facebook page?
    • Absolutely, we love showing off our customer’s work.  Just send it to us with little description and we’ll get it done.
  • Do you have any of this information in a file?


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