Our milled putters are manufactured with CNC milling, like the majority of high-end putters in the market today. It starts with a billet of solid steel and then a CNC mill carves a putter out of it with a series of drill bits.
Our 3DP Design putters are manufactured with 3D printing. Instead of deductively cutting material away from a block of steel, these putters are made additively by laying down layer upon layer of powdered steel that is then fused together to make a solid object.
The primary differences are in the geometry and surface finish. CNC milling is very limited in the types of shapes that it can make (particularly in terms of sharp internal corners), whereas 3D Printing has much more flexibility and can even make internal shapes within the body of a putter. This allows us much greater control in terms of redistributing mass within a putter. And that’s why we’re able to make our 3DP Design putters with such high MOI levels.
CNC milled putters have much more polished surfaces. 3D printing tends to produce a more matte surface with layer lines from the printing still visible in the steel. They can be hand polished post-printing to achieve a more traditional look. For a much deeper dive into how our 3DP Design putters came about, check out this interview on PluggedInGolf.com
Black oxide is mildly corrosion resistant, but a black oxide putter left wet or uncovered will rust. The finish is not maintenance free. If left wet, it will rust remarkably quickly. To prevent rusting, keep your putter dry. If you play on a rainy day or even in morning dew, dry your putter completely before putting it back in your bag. Use a headcover. Each Round 4 Limited Edition Putter is shipped with a silicone cloth that can be used to occasionally apply a protecitve layer of silicone over the putter that will help prevent rusting. It is recommended that you reapply this silicone cloth after playing the putter in wet conditions.
Do not store the putter in damp areas (e.g. don't leave it in the trunk of your car or your garage through the winter). If rust spots start to develop on your putter, lightly rub it with some 0000 steel wool (anything more abrasive than that can scratch the steel). This typically removes light rust entirely. The putter should then be wiped down with a silicone cloth to prevent future rust. Deeper rust or pitting that cannot be removed with 0000 steel wool will require a full refinish/restoration.
While this lower resistance to corrosion has its drawbacks, one of the advantages of black oxide is that it can very easily be stripped and the putter can be refinished. There are a number of aftermarket putter refinishing shops that can refinish your Round 4 putter in a variety of different finishes and colors. If you would like to have it refinished by us to its original black oxide, contact us.
If you are the kind of player who doesn't bother with a headcover and doesn't want to worry about keeping your putter dry, you would probably be better suited to our 303 stainless putters or our PVD coated carbon steel putters. Our Limited Edition black oxide putters are more designed for players who are excited by the idea of a putter with the softest steel and most minimal coating available and/or the ability to do a custom refinish on their putter.
1018 carbon steel is about 99% iron with about 0.18% carbon content. The remainder is mostly manganese with small amounts of phosphorus and sulfur. It is a very soft steel with a Brinell Hardness of 126 (source: www.matweb.com). This is essentially the softest steel used in putter milling today. For example, 11L17, a more free-machining carbon steel, has a Brinell Hardness of 179.
1018 steel will rust if not coated with some sort of protective coating. We at Round 4 use black oxide on our Limited Edition First Run series as it provides essentially the softest feeling steel putter you can find. However, black oxide is not a great protectant against rust. Other forms of finishes often involve plating of some kind. Our 1018 Carbon Steel series utilize a PVD finish which is incredibly thin yet very durable and corrosion resistant.
303 stainless steel is 69% iron, 18% chromium, 9% nickel, and small amounts of carbon, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur. Annealed 303 has a Brinell Hardness of 160 (source: www.matweb.com), so it is somewhat harder than 1018 carbon steel. However, stainless steel is naturally corrosion resistant, allowing us to produce stainless steel putters without protective or colored finishes on them.
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