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Cutting Titanium


#1

Hi

I use a lot of sculptural rainbow titanium in my work and sometimes I
get these massive pieces that I need to cut into smaller pieces which
could be done with a diamond saw blade. I inherited a band saw for
cutting stained glass which has a diamond blade, and so I was wonder
if I could use it to cut the titanium without ruining it. I have no
intention on using it for glass, so that is not an issue. Your input
would be so appreciated.

Holly Gage


#2

Hi Holly,

I have cut up a lot of thin,less than 1mm,titanium sheet in my time.
It does shear very well, in fact I bought a guillotine when the
engineering firm I used to go to damaged the blades on their big
guillotine. So find a company with one and ask to use it. On the
same subject I saw a company in the UK yesterday who laser cut shapes
out of titanium sheet. You can get very fine details done and not too
expensive for a moderate quantity.

regards Tim Blades.


#3

Abrasive diamond saws are typically a poor choice for cutting metal
due to slow metal removal rates but it will work. Titanium and its
alloys can typically be cut with standard metal working tools (like a
jewelers saw). They wear out the cutting edges faster many than
typical jewelry metals but as long as the tools are kept well
lubricated and sharp they will cut titanium much faster and more
cheaply than diamond abrasives.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4

Jesse,

When I say a massive piece of titanium, I’m not talking sheet metal,
I’m talking about sculptural free formed rainbow titanium.
Commercially, you probably have not seen it before, but I have some
pictures on my site. Most pieces are small, but some pieces are not
"jeweler" sized and they can be anywhere from a 1/4" thick to an 1"
thick and that is why I want to cut it more easily.

The saw is a Diamond Laser 1000S. The existing blade is definitely
used and I might need another one soon if not now. I guess I can get
a new one from the company that makes the machine if I can find them
– dealing with the machine itself will be trial and error Thanks
for the link to the additive!!

Holly Gage


#5

Thanks for the reply!

Jim, the laser cutting sounds interesting and that may be an
opinion, can you refer me to who is doing it.

As far as the saw goes, I was told diamond abrasives were the best
because of the hardness and the thickness (1/4 to 1/2" thick), but
maybe a jeweler’s saw would be worth a try. What kind of lubrication
are you using for a regular saw? Does anyone have any suggestions on
a jeweler’s band saw blade manufacturer that may have a blade to fit
the machine I have?

Tim, also thanks for your suggestion. The guillotine idea sounds
interesting, but since I want to do curved lines and I am not
working with sheet metal, I wonder if that would work. All ideas are
worth investing though, so thanks.

Holly
Gage Designs


#6

Titanium is tough to cut but not all that hard, even aerospace
grades like 21S or Al6V4 are just not hard enough to need diamond
tools. It is nowhere near as difficult to cut as most tool steels or
nickel alloys. I would much rather cut titanium than even most
stainless steels. The bigest problem is keeping the blade and work
cool as titanium is a very poor thermal conductor and the heat from
cutting is not carried away from the cut by the bulk metal. This
overheats the cutting tool and causes it to lose its temper and it
ceases to cut.

On 1/4 to 1/2 " material a standard band saw with a bi-metal or
cobalt steel blade with something between 10 and 14 teeth per inch
will will work fine. You will want a coolant pump and a soluble oil
and water based lubricant like Rel-Saw semi-synthetic coolant to
keep the cutting area and blade cool. You would need similar coolant
for a diamond blade as well. I think you will find that the band saw
will cut much faster than the diamond abrasive saw.

A jewelers saw would work as well but be way too slow.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#7

I was using a modified bandsaw to cut other materials-- my supply
off narrow fine blades dried up so I searched all over I finally
found some in Switzerland :

http://ehro.ehro.ch/english/daten_saegen_f-serie.htm

These are clock and jewelry type equipment. But these aren’t for the
cutting you want to do on titanium!

jesse


#8

As a data point, I’ve been cutting titanium with standard High Speed
Steel endmills with great result, machining out shapes from sheet
stock. An old machinist friend feels that people fear working with
titanium, when it isn’t that difficult in practice. So I’d just use
a jewelers saw, or shear to cut your sheet.

Nicholas Carter and Felice Luftschein
www.cartertools.com/nfhome.html


#9

Hey, I have been on vacation and not following this thread, but I
looked on your web site at the piece you pictured. That is
definitively “splash”. It is found on the floor in titanium mills.
It is heavily oxygenated, brittle and hard. I have a piece somewhere.
Do you have a regular source for it? I guess I would go at it with
stone cutting tools. They are cheap and readily available. You might
find a lapidary shop to give it a try. Bill

Bill, Deborah & Michele
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#10

Thank you for all your suggestions.

I also did some digging and found out the “best” way to cut it is
using a carbide tipped saw for metal (not wood). This advise was
given to me by people that deal with Ti all the time and cut the
sculptural crystalline, metallic, and satin-matte titanium that I
use.

I did however try the diamond blade which worked fine. It was hard
to tell if it was slower than other blades since I have no
comparison, but it seemed to go fairly quickly. My biggest challenge
now is fitting the titanium under the clearance of the blade guides
and the guiding plate. If anyone is interested in seeing the type of
titanium I am working with stop by my site. It’s really different,
very sparkly and fun to work with.

Thanks again,
Holly
Gage Designs