I prefer grade-5 due to its better finish quality. The material is
much harder than grade-2, but that doesn’t mean it is much harder to
work with. If you have the correct tooling, it is not very difficult
to cut grade-5. If you look at the Tag or Breitling Titanium watches,
they are made from grade-5 and are highly polished, unlike the lower
end titanium watches made from grade-2, which doesn’t hold a polish as
I prefer not to work with tubing because it simply limits your
flexibility. Using a solid round bar and a lathe, you can cut any
exact inside/outside diameter you want. It only takes about 20
minutes to go from a solid bar to a roughed out ring on the end of the
bar. Then you simply part it off at the width you want and then
finish it out.
When machining titanium you must be very conscious of the fact that
titanium filings are FLAMMABLE. If the tooling is cutting with too
much friction it can easily ignite the removed chips of titanium.
These chips will burn in oxygen AND nitrogen. This is the only metal
that burns in nitrogen (the major component of air), and it burns much
like magnesium with a very intense flame.
Daniel J. Statman, Statman Designs