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Soldering or welding titanium?


#1

I have a pair of rimless glasses that are made out of titanium, and
the piece that hinges one of the arms of the glasses to the lens
split in half. Can it be soldered/brazed or welded (tac or arc
welded)? I only have standard jeweler’s torches and do not own a tac
welding machine. I thought I read somewhere that soldering will not
work with titanium (ie. titanium solder picks). Any suggestions for
the repair?

Glenn
Shardan Jewelry


#2
I have a pair of rimless glasses that are made out of titanium, and
the piece that hinges one of the arms of the glasses to the lens
split in half. Can it be soldered/brazed or welded (tac or arc
welded)? 

Possibly, but unlikely. I’ve had some success with laser welding
eyeglass frames, but I’ve also had several “comebacks.” The problem
is that titanium eyeglass frames are not monitored for titanium
content the way precious metals are. Your “titanium” frames may
contain as little as 1% titanium.

What works best in laser welding these frames is to weld a small
amount of white gold to each piece to be joined, then weld the gold
together. I’m not sure if it’s possible to do that with a torch. I
don’t know if arc, tack, mig, tig or any other options will work for
you, but you might be able to find a competent laser welder in your
area.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#3

There are some people with laser welders that do these repairs–I
looked into this and bought a new frame. Torch repair will not work
nor will the standard tac welders.

jesse


#4

These are normally laser welded in an argon atmosphere.

Bill


#5

You can’t solder titanium, but you can weld it. The problem is it
needs to be in an inert atmosphere (we use argon), and very well
shielded by the gas. You can accomplish this by building a small
"glove" box, a box that you work in when you weld (hands, work,
torch, filler material, etc.).

Many eyeglass stores also offer repair. typically, not on premise,
but have someone that they send the work to. You could try that.

Chris
Chris Ploof Studio
www.chrisploof.com
508.886.6200 (EST)


#6

I have experimented a fair amount with titanium. I can tell you
firsthand joining titanium either to itself or to another metal with
a torch isnt going to happen. Once the metal is hot, in an oxygen
environment the oxides form much too quickly to form any kind of
bond. you can actualy color titanium alloys with a torch much like
anodizing it, though its much more controlable to use electric
current then a torch flame to do so, the result is still the same.
pretty blues, purples. etc. these oxides that form flat out stop
soldering attempts with the metal. and since its impossible for a
torch flame to ever be an oxygen free environment it just doesnt
work. Laser welding titanium IS possible, and an argon environment
is important to ensure it works properly. however I have “heard” its
possible to laser weld titanium outside of argon, However, the
oxides would still be present in the joint weakening it and making
it much more likely to break again.

My advice is seek out someone who can laser weld it for you if you
really want to get the glasses fixed. otherwise a new pair of frames
is my advice. I have NOT tried mig, tac, arc, or tig setups on it,
but the concept is still the same. you need the inert atmosphere for
a strong bond. and even a weak joint would require heating it to the
temp at which you can join the metals at a faster rate then the
oxides can form if done in the presense of oxygen.

Ryan Cazier


#7

I started repairing eyeglasses because I had people beg me to help
them get by until they could have new glasses made for them. I have
repaired eyeglasses make of titanium with a torch. I can’t get a bond
where the break exposes the titanium, but gold solder will bond to
the patina or coating on the titanium. I repaired a nose wire the
other day where the solder bonded to the sides of the wire and the
surface on the frame around where the break was. It made a nice
strong repair. I don’t really understand how this works, I thought
the colored surface was where the titanium was oxidized, but that
must not be so, at least not all the time. I can’t always get it to
work, but it works over half the time.

I have no explanation for this working. The best I can come up with
is that sometimes the colored patina is a plating bonded to the
titanium and that the solder will bond to the plating. If I burn
through the surface and expose the metal there is no way I can get a
bond. I use a water torch with green flux.

Anybody care to take a shot a why this works?

Rick


#8

Actually the ABI units and the PUK units will also do Titanium
welding quite nicely. You do have to use Argon when welding with
either unit just like with the laser, but they can all be used to
weld titanium. If they are a pure type titanium, you will get a very
clean bright and strong weld. There are some titanium frames which
state they are titanium which will not weld properly. All laser
welders including the Studio (table top) units will weld titanium
very nicely.

Phillip Scott G.G.
Technical Support & Sales
Rio Grande ~ Neutec/USA