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Sid Wittman

Forging titanium bar ?

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I've got quite a few 6ALV4 titanium bars here, thanks to a customer of my old gunsmithing business who owned an aerospace manufacturing company and paid me sometimes in exotic metals instead of cash.

 

I never actually did much with it in the end, gunsmithing wise, as it exhibits basically all the very worst machining traits of every metal there is - combined into one ;) turning it on a lathe is OK, but anything else is a real pain.

 

The bars are 20mm and 30mm diameter IIRC and I'm wondering about forging them into pommels, guards e.t.c

 

Anyone tried this ?

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I looked up the alloy, it's heat treatable and hot workable, but I've honestly never worked with Titanium. A list of some alloys, 6AL-v4 is in the Alpha -Beta type

 

I might just slice a piece off a bar ( it's lovely stuff to hacksaw - not :) ) and see what happens.

 

I'm not going to experiment too hard, it's expensive stuff and if I end up with it cracking or crumbling on the first few tries I'll probably try to sell the bars instead.

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I've forged Ti before. You need to get it blazing hot and put some whup-ass into it, but it'll forge just fine. When it's not moving, get it hotter. It *IS* possible to burn Ti in a coal fire (ask me how I know ;)), but you have to really be putting a LOT of heat into it.

 

-d

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lathe the bar in to rings thats just one of the things i do with it but forge it no

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It's toughness and low density that makes it a bear to machine also makes it a challenge to forge. It doesn't hold heat very well so you will get 2-3 whacks and it will be cool.

 

Due to it's ghastly expense I have forged some into a better size or shape to machine. I have a large stash of .25" plate and have forged some of it down to just over .125 to surface grind to .125. Versus cutting away and wasting half the thickness.

 

And so far I have been unable to melt it in my induction forge. I can get it blazing white hot but no melt.

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Never forged it but I have machined it for years. Keep your tool cool and lubed, and never try to "skim it". Take a good bite. It workhardens as you machine it so you want to keep your tool under the hard skin that develops as you cut it. If you keep that in mind it machines very nicely. Feed over speed. Speed hardens it. You want just enough to keep your chipload between .005 and .015. A minor radius on your cutting tool again .005-.015 will keep you from breaking tools. Off topic I know but its pretty cool stuff and not hard to work once you understand it.

 

If you decide to machine it and need advice feel free to msg me

 

Good luck

Edited by Bret

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Never forged it but I have machined it for years. Keep your tool cool and lubed, and never try to "skim it". Take a good bite. It workhardens as you machine it so you want to keep your tool under the hard skin that develops as you cut it. If you keep that in mind it machines very nicely. Feed over speed. Speed hardens it. You want just enough to keep your chipload between .005 and .015. A minor radius on your cutting tool again .005-.015 will keep you from breaking tools. Off topic I know but its pretty cool stuff and not hard to work once you understand it.

 

If you decide to machine it and need advice feel free to msg me

 

Good luck

 

Great advice ! thanks - I found it turns OK, it's just every other machining operation which was a pain, tapping most of all.

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ive only ever taped it with small taps and never thought it was hard to tap a bear to grind due to any operation that generates heat hardening up the metal and orange pealing the surface

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It doesn't hold heat very well so you will get 2-3 whacks and it will be cool.

 

 

Tried forging a flat on the end of a 20mm bar today. You are so right - 3 blows and it's done moving, and the transition is almost instant.

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I have heard of suffering severe headaches from breathing fumes from grinding titanium spacers in making folders.Has anyone experience similar reactions. Sounds dangerous. Thanks for the education of working unfamiliar metals.

Timothy

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I have heard of suffering severe headaches from breathing fumes from grinding titanium spacers in making folders.Has anyone experience similar reactions. Sounds dangerous. Thanks for the education of working unfamiliar metals.

Timothy

 

I have worked with quite a bit of titanium over the years and never had any headaches. It's one of the least irritating metals and is used in jewelry for those with nickle or other sensitivities. It's also used in many different medical implants.

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It's also used in many different medical implants.

 

Tell me about it :D that stuff is holding my right leg and pelvis together thanks to a cage driver hitting my motorcycle

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