What's the difference between Steel and Brass branding irons?
Brass and Steel are two very different metals, in a nutshell, brass is a softer and yellow (gold) colored metal, it's probably the most common metal to use for modern branding irons because it is fairly easy to cut on a CNC mill.
Steel is harder and grey, it's the same stuff used to make traditional animal branding irons, however those were made by blacksmiths who heated up steel and bent and shaped it with a hammer, that's why most cattle brands are very simple designs with just solid lines.
The way we produce our Steel branding irons today is very different than then how they made them 100 years ago, today we use bleeding edge steel 3D printing technologies, the same process is used to make complex automotive parts not possible with traditional machining methods.
What this means is that we can create fine details down to .75mm, a level just not possible with a CNC mill that is cutting the metal with a V-shaped bit. With 3D printing we are creating your brand from empty space so a tip doesn't need to fit into the small detailed areas. But, there's a catch, it's a more expensive and time consuming method, so on average it will take about 5-7 days longer for us to produce a steel brand.
You can find our production averages for the last 10 items made in each material on our website here, we update them daily.
Both metals will work equally well to brand just about anything that is brandable,
If you have a design that will have details that are thinner than 1mm (either raised/burnt or lowered/unburnt) then we recommend choosing steel over brass. If your design had a lot of thick solid areas then we recommend brass.
Typically it's the small openings in letters that cause us to recommend steel, sometimes it's finer thin details.
In Steel we can achieve about a 6 point font or larger (.08"), in Brass we don't recommend text much smaller than about a 16 point font (.22").
If you submit an order in brass and the details are too fine to produce and we need to make it in steel we will let you know when we send your mockups.
If you chose brass and we decided that we could make it in brass, but it turns out it was too detailed, we will sometimes upgrade your order for you at no charge and make it from steel to keep things rolling.