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How I make my titanium rings

I’m often asked about how i make my titanium rings, and a lot of it
has to do with being one of the few people that actually use manual
equipment to make titanium rings. I also feel that showing the
process to make the rings gives a more personal feel to the rings,
and will help people connect with me as an artist and their rings!I
put together a page on my website to show how I make my rings, and
I’d love to get some of my fellow jewelers feedback! P.S. I sent the
text to my editor, and I haven’t gotten it back, so the writing might
be a little rough.

Hi Chris,

Errr. Mind a few suggestions?

An old lathe trick is to cover the ways with rags when you’re
grinding. Saves getting the abrasive grit into the way oil, which
then laps out your slides and bed. As much grinding as you’re doing,
it matters. On the other hand, rags and burning Ti sparks aren’t a
good combo, so take it for what it’s worth. That little lathe may
just get to be the sacrificial tool.

One other thing: as much Ti as I’ve machined, which would be a fair
bit, I’ve never cut it fast enough that the chips came off burning.
You might want to take a look at your cutting speeds. They seem a
mite high. Especially for that little teeny lathe.

Equally, you might want to take a look at insert cutoffs. I’m
partial to Iscar and tungaloy, both of which make smallish 1/2"
shank insert holders. They both have a variety of holders that’d fit
your machine, and make a good job at chopping through that Ti with
less wear on your machine.

I have no idea what you did to set that pile of chips on fire while
you were drilling, but that’s a pretty frightening photo, for a
variety of reasons. I’ve seen a big (car sized) pile of Ti chips
burn. The Detroit FD just ringed it with foam, and let it burn.
Wasn’t a thing they could do about it. When it finally cooled down
(a day later) the ground under the ashes was glass. Having your chip
pan go up would be the beginnings of a very bad day.

You might want to see if there wasn’t some other way to get that job
done, or take a good look at a mist coolant system. Mist coolant
will make your life a lot easier for all of that Ti work.

A basic, tankless version can be found here:

There are fancier things, but that’ll do for a start.

Now back to the ring. After looking at all the fun you’re having
machining up a washer that then gets cut and formed, I’m left
wondering why? You’re bending it after it’s made, so why not just
make some flat strip, and bend that? It’d be a lot less hassle, and
probably faster.

Certainly a lot less wasted material.

If you’re looking for stock, I’ve got 1/8" thick CP1 that’s
left-overs from the webbing in-between the Knew Concepts Ti saws
that I’d cheerfully sell you. Just shear it to strip, and bend.
Quick, simple and done. (The stock would be small, random bits, but
long enough to get ring blanks out of.) You’d need a serious shear,
but those can be had. A Beverly 2 or 3 could handle it, or a plate
shear. Not a jump shear, unless it was motorized and rated for
serious material.

(and if anybody’s looking, we also have a bunch of 1sq/ft sheets of
16Ga (.050") CP1 that we’re looking to sell off. Contact me directly
if you’re interested.) (And I even have a big plate shear for sale,
if you’re anywhere near the SF bay area.)

All that being said, my wondering about why you’re lathing it out
isn’t truly prompted by the contents of my garage. Seems like you’re
going the long way around when there are easier answers. Doing a bit
of forging on heavy strip as you bend it would let you vary the
cross section in ways you can’t now, and let you get more visual
contrast out of the forms, for almost no extra effort.


Good suggestions there Alberic. I’m saving that post for future
reference when I get a lathe and mill :wink:

I’m not sure if I understand right or not but if someone said add
some rags onto material that is in the chuck of a lathe… Please
be careful or don’t do it at all if your hands or clothing or
possibly in danger of being pulled along with the rag.

While apprenticing at a machine shop I was told horror stories about
what a slow moving but large chuck in a lathe can do by grabbing
clothing or long hair. I will refrain from retelling the true but
terrible details.

Please be careful,
Rick Powell

Hi all

The rag comment was me. The idea is to cover the BED of the lathe,
to keepthe grinding dust off of it. Nowhere near the spinning chuck.
Rick’s rightabout that: holding a rag near the chuck while its
spinning is a good way to lose a hand.

Brian Meek