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Bar Stock vs. Forging

Metal is used for many applications ranging from manufacturing vehicle parts and industrial equipment to building bridges and structures. These components begin as raw metal material that is molded or extruded into standard shapes and sizes, like sheets or bars, that are further formed or shaped into finished parts.

Here we will look at what bar stock metal is, the manufacturing processes that use it, and sample applications.

Bar Stock

Bar stock refers to a solid length of a raw metal material, such as carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, copper, or other metal. Individual pieces of bar stock are commonly made by extrusion or by melting the metal and pouring it into molds. The resulting pieces have a uniform profile (e.g., round, square, rectangular, or hexagonal), and come in a variety of lengths.

What is Bar Stock?

Bar stock may be used as-is for some applications; however, additional metalworking processes are often used to create finished parts, components, or assemblies. These include CNC machining processes like sawing, milling, drilling, or grinding, as well as extrusion, roll forming, and forging.

Benefits of Bar Stock Material

Bar stock material is used in many manufacturing processes because it can be procured in uniform shapes, lengths, and metal content. This translates to efficient and repeatable production since the stock material is consistent.

Additional benefits include:

  • Structural support: It can be machined, shaped, or formed into many high-strength products including reinforcing bars, tubes, and channels.
  • High ductility and impact resistance: Many metals retain these properties even after machining or other processing.
  • Easy assembly: Bar stock can be formed into uniform components that can be easily assembled in a consistent manner.
  • Recyclability: Many metals can be recycled without losing strength, which contributes to sustainable manufacturing practices.
  • Versatility: Many types of metal are available in bar stock form for use in a range of applications.
  • Cost-efficiency: Manufacturers can purchase bar stock material in bulk and use automated or semi-automated CNC equipment, extrusion, expert forging processes, or roll forming for fast and consistent part production. This saves labor and cuts waste.

Applications for Bar Stock

Bar stock material is used in many industrial applications and operations. Steel bar stock can be machined into equipment parts, tools, structural members, and vehicle components. Aluminum can be extruded and formed with rollers to create long pieces with a consistent profile. Bar stock material can also be forged, as we’ll see below.


Forging is a metal forming process that can be used with a variety of metals, often beginning in bar stock form.

What is Forging?

In forging, a piece of metal, often bar stock, is cut to size and then heated to a high temperature. The metal becomes very hot and pliable but remains solid. Depending on the application, it is then hammered, pressed between dies, or pushed into a mold to change its shape. Cold forging is another method in which metal is hammered or shaped without being heated.

Benefits of Forging

Forging has many benefits, including:

  • Efficient material use: Forging is not a removal process so there is minimal material waste. Most components are close to their final shape, so there is less machining or other finishing.
  • Durability: The forging process tends to improve material fatigue, impact, and shear strength.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Using forging results in less waste and reduces the need for finishing processes.
  • Material versatility: Many materials can be forged including carbon steel, alloy or microalloy steel, stainless steel, titanium, and others.
  • Enhanced tensile strength: Forging results in a piece with high tensile strength because the material stays solid as its shape changes, forcing the grain of the metal to follow the shape of the component.

Applications for Forging

Forging is a versatile process for creating parts and components in complex shapes and many sizes. Because it imparts added tensile and fatigue strength to metals, it is well-suited to heavy-duty applications in many industries. Common applications include:

  • Aerospace and automotive engine and frame parts
  • Industrial and commercial machinery and tooling
  • Hand tools
  • Earthmoving, agriculture, and infrastructure equipment
  • Oil, gas, and mining equipment
  • Forestry and lumber tools and machinery
  • Military and defense applications

Your Choice for Custom-Forged Steel

Cornell Forge specializes in custom-forged parts made from high-quality carbon steel, alloy and microalloy steel, and stainless steel. Our capabilities also include assembly, heat treatment, painting and plating, hardness testing, and other value-added services to meet your requirements.

Please contact us or request a quote to discuss your next project with our team of forging experts.

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