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Soldering silver bezel cups on Titanium


#1

Hello,

I’m a long time novice and have a question about soldering.

I have a couple of titanium wedding bands that I want to solder
sterling silver bezel cups to…

Can it be done?

What kind of solder?

Thanks,
Rosanne


#2

Nope. Can’t solder to Ti. You can TIG weld it, but you need an
atmospheric chamber. You might want to look into mechanical
attachment.

Michael
www.radharcknives.com


#3

Although it is possible to solder titanium, the process is
complicated and completely impractical for jewellery, so, for all
practical purposes, it is not possible to solder titanium. It can be
welded with a laser or PUK, but soldering is out of the question.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4

Hi Rosanne,

Short answer about soldering silver to titanium: no can do. (under
normal circumstances, with gear that normal mortals can afford.)

The only real answer short of thousands of dollars of gear is screws
or rivets.

There are a couple of us on orchid with PUK welders, or lasers, we
could weld up titanium bezel cups, and weld those in place, but I
suspect setting a Ti bezel would be…entertaining.

Sorry I don’t have better news.

Regards,
Brian.


#5
I have a couple of titanium wedding bands that I want to solder
sterling silver bezel cups to.. Can it be done? What kind of solder? 

You cannot directly solder to titanium in the usual methods. The
oxides on the titanium surface are too tenacious for soldering fluxes
to penetrate, so solders don’t work.

Instead, solder a fairly heavy wire to the back of the bezel cup (or
two of them is even better). Drill matching through holes in the
titanium bands, and cut a bevel on the edges of the holes on the
inside of the bands. Insert the wires, and rivet the bezel cups to
the band. Obviously, on the inside of the band, you can’t close the
rivet with just a hammer, but you can make a chasing tool, rather
like the shape of the bend “inside ring” karat stamps, and use that
with a hammer to flare the ends of the rivet. If, instead of wires,
you used tubes, then you might be able to expand the tube rivet ends
with just a burnisher you could reach into the band with. In any
case, the idea is cold joints, rather than soldered ones.

If you really want a soldered or welded joint, it IS possible, but
not with a torch. A laser welder, using argon sheilding, can do it.
So can a PUK welder, or the “Sparkie” type fusion welder. For the
last, you’d have to make your bezel cups (or buy them if you can find
a source) with the needed little dimple on the bottom that lets the
fusion welder work, and you’d need an appropriate chuck for the bezel
cups to hold on the welder (and you need the sparkie welder). if
you’ve already got bezel cups, you can produce that little dimple by
drilling into a steel block with a number 80 drill, then hold the
bezel cup over that hole, and punch down hard in the center with a
chasing tool, which drives a little of the silver on the bottom into
the hole, giving you that dimple. The only reason I mention this is
that the fusion welders are the cheapest of all these technologies,
and they weld to titanium very well. And once you work out the
tooling (chuck, making the dimples, etc), the fusion welders are the
fastest as well.

Cheers
Peter Rowe


#6

Not with jewelers tools.

James Binnion


#7
Although it _is_ possible to solder titanium, the process is
complicated and completely impractical for jewellery, so, for all
practical purposes, it is not possible to solder titanium. It can
be welded with a laser or PUK, but soldering is out of the
question. 

I wish I had known how difficult this would be. One of our class
exercises ia to make a hemisphere in titanium, the other half is
brass or silver. So far all we are doing is soldering :frowning:

Regards Charles


#8

Hello Peter,

Thanks so much for the detailed instructions, but this is past my
skills…

I had an opportunity to purchase titanium bands at a reasonable
price and I thought it would save time and money.

Here is another question, hope it’s OK?

I want to make a ring with a large, deep bezel cup, non precious
metal to make it affordable.

How do I do that ?

Again thanks for the precious time you all take to help us novices
out…

Sincerely,
Rosanne


#9

Nope. I have a Ti solder pick on my bench because solder won’t stick
to it. Welding is the only way to get this done and that will be a
compromise. Maybe Jim Binnion can give us some insight to the nature
of Ti / Ag mixture. I would suspect the edge of the heat effected
zone would be highly unstable. Capacitor discharge, TIG, and laser.
Any weld will need an argon cover. All of these solutions can be
subcontracted. Otherwise make a mechanical connection. I suggest a
silver tubing rivet with a key; like on an onyx with a plate on top.
This is probably the safest solution. Depending on the state of the
Ti you may find it difficult to drill though. You might have to drill
it with a diamond drill. Here is an orchid post concerning annealing
titanium.

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/annealing-titanium

I wish you the best.


#10

I don’t think you can solder to titanium, why not use a mechanical
connection. Solder a smaller piece of tubing to the bottom of the
bezel cup and then drill a hole in the titanium band the same size as
the tubing. Fit it through the hole and rivet it on the inside. Much
like we used to do when we put a small diamond in the center of a
black onyx. I would set the diamond before I riveted the bezel in.

John Wade
Wade Designs Jewelery


#11

Hi Gang,

Just FYI, when I first got access to a laser, I tried welding Ti to
sterling. No dice, even with argon. Brittle joints no matter what I
tried. Gave up on it after screwing around for an hour or two. It may
be possible for the initiated, but it certainly isn’t easy. PUK’s
don’t like it either, and I’m lots better with a PUK.

FWIW,
Brian.


#12

Hi Charles,

I wish I had known how difficult this would be. One of our class
exercises ia to make a hemisphere in titanium, the other half is
brass or silver. So far all we are doing is soldering :-( 

You’re saying that the instructor of your class set you up to have
to figure out how to join a Ti hemisphere to a silver one? I sure hope
he’s got a trick rabbit up his sleeve to get you out of the corner
he’s painted you into. Otherwise, you’re looking at screws, rivets,
or some sort of a friction fit. (What kind of class is this?)

Regards,
Brian.


#13
Just FYI, when I first got access to a laser, I tried welding Ti
to sterling. No dice, even with argon. Brittle joints no matter
what I tried. 

Lasers differ some among models in how well they implement argon
shielding. You need a really good argon shield for Ti to weld well.
On my machine (an old BD type ALS35S), there are two gas sheild
hose/nozzles that can be independently aimed, etc. I don’t use them
often because the whole system leaks badly, and I can go through a
whole tank of argon in way too little time. But when I do need it,
for some white gold, etc, usually just one nozzle aimed down at the
weld area, is sufficient. No dice with Ti. That took both nozzles,
one from each side (above and below), and feeding argon at almost
twice the rate I’d use for other materials. at that setting, and
using weld parameters so the weld diameter and depth was roughly
equal to the minimum thickness of the stock being welded (allows more
shrinkage of the weld, lessening cracks and stresses), the weld would
stay clean and bright on both sides, and then it wasn’t brittle. But
the first time, I took me a good half hour and a half dozen test
samples to figure out how to get it to work. So it IS possible.
However, I don’t know whether different grades of Ti might differ in
how well they weld. I’d not be surprised to find it so.

Peter


#14
I had an opportunity to purchase titanium bands at a reasonable
price and I thought it would save time and money. 

Titanium is cool stuff. You just can’t solder to it. But you still
can use any of the cold connection methods, including screws, rivets,
and even in some cases, some adhesives (recall that aircraft wings
are assembled with such materials, and they usually seem to hold up
rather well). Rivets in particular, are fairly straight forward, and
affixing a bezel cup with rivets wouldn’t be complex. At it’s
simplest, drill maching holes (two of them, if you don’t want the cup
to spin) in the bezel cup and the titanium band. Chamfer the edges of
the holes on the insides of the band. Ball up the ends of a couple
pieces of wire matching a snug fit in the holes. Insert from the
inside of the band, so the balled up ends (don’t make them large
balls, just a bit bigger than the wire diameter) fit up into the
chamfers. Put the ring on a mandrel, which will clamp the rivets
tightly up into the band. Put on the bezel cup, mark an appropriate
place to trim off the wires leaving enough to form a rivet head and
trim them. Now, for larger bezels, a small hammer might fit into the
bezel directly to form the rivets. If not, a chasing tool would do it
easily. After the rivets are tight, trim top and bottom and you’re
there. Long paragraph, not so long a process.

Here is another question, hope it's OK? I want to make a ring with
a large, deep bezel cup, non precious metal to make it affordable.
How do I do that ? 

Um. You’re going to have to be a bit more specific for any detail.
The short answer is you’d make it the same in, say, bronze, as you
would in silver. But tell us a bit more, scale, metal, shape details
you’ve got in mind, and we can be more specific.

Peter


#15
I wish I had known how difficult this would be. One of our class
exercises ia to make a hemisphere in titanium, the other half is
brass or silver. So far all we are doing is soldering :-( 

Well, even if you don’t end up joining them, you’ll learn a lot
about the relative differences in malleability, ductility, ease of
working, etc, between titanium and brass or silver. That alone is
useful info to file away.

Or perhaps your instructor enjoys making people perspire?

Peter


#16
you need an atmospheric chamber 

Ti can be welded out side of a chamber. But an argon cover is a
must.


#17

Just for fun, try using niobium wire as welding wire, use Argon and
see how that works.

You might be surprised.

James


#18

Hi Peter,

It was a Rofin Starweld. I forget the exact model #. Two argon
nozzles. Usually positioned top & bottom of the joints.

One thing I did discover was that the argon flow speed made a huge
difference in my ability to weld niobium. (Ti was very easy, and not
particularly fussy. Ti+Ag? Not so much.) Anyway, with Nb, it turned
out that if you had the flow up to any speed at all, the argon jet
would get turbulent coming out of the nozzle, and entrain a fair bit
of atmosphere into the argon stream, contaminating the shield. Ti
didn’t care much, but Nb was really fussy about it. I did finally
get it down to where I could get joints that I couldn’t rip apart
with pliers, but I was down into 1 or 2 PSI output pressures.
Weirdly, the PUK handles Nb much more easily. Go figure.

Regards,
Brian.


#19
Anyway, with Nb, it turned out that if you had the flow up to any
speed at all, the argon jet would get turbulent coming out of the
nozzle, and entrain a fair bit of atmosphere into the argon stream,
contaminating the shield. 

This is always a problem with plain nozzles. In TIG welding picky
metals like Ti the standard practice is to use a Gas Lens type
nozzle that straightens the flow and reduces the turbulence of a
standard nozzle. Anyhow when talking to someone who specializes in
micro welding of things like dies to repair faces or broken features
etc this fellow told me that he adapted gas lens nozzles to the argon
nozzles of his laser welder and micro TIG systems with greatly
improved performance.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#20

You can soften the gas flow with an old home made remedy. Stuff very
fine steel wool or Scotch Brite in the nozzle opening.

Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sharon