Titanium ring removal

 A few months ago we had a discussion on Orchid about removing
titanium rings in an emergency situation.  Apparently many
jewelers and firemen (and other emergency personnel) are not well
informed on this subject. 

I obviously missed the first part of this discussion but it gives me
a chance to ask the question as to what are the health risks of such
an operation? I was told some time ago that splinters of titanium -
such as might be produced by the final turn of a ring saw, are a risk
as if they get in the skin, they will work their way down to the bone
and ‘burrow into it’ producing a callous which, if near a joint could
lead to arthritis. Is this fact or fiction? Is working with titanium
a dangerous occupation? I have a large block of the stuff on a shelf
which I got some years ago to make watch cases from and I’m scared to
go near it!!

Best wishes,

Ian W. Wright
Sheffield, UK

My, my, amazing stories you have to wonder where these ideas come
from. A sliver of metal I guess could do that.? Any metal could do
that. Why just the mystical titanium. It is not invisible, even to
x-ray. Now, remember this is the same stuff they are going to use to
replace your hip, screw into your jaw for a dental implant, screw
your skull fracture back together and pin that broken bone. The
oxide, you know, that titanium white pigment you can buy, is in
powdered instant drinks, makeup, sunscreen, toothpaste, ceramic
glaze the list goes on and on.

Two caveats: Ok, so if you are grinding titanium or any other metal
for that matter and you have smoke and sparks. DO NOT BREATH THE
FUMES. That’s the rule. Does anyone mask up every time they go to
the grinder? Noooo… well, yes, maybe, not… gee I never think of
it. Yeah, so think about it.

Titanium will burn. Now, you probably won’t ever light a piece of
sheet metal on fire. It does not even melt until 3038=B0F(1668=B0C).
The danger is with piles of very fine filings or turnings in a
factory type setting. I have filed up a pile of dust and taken it
outside and lite it up with a torch. Behold just like a sparkler. In
fact titanium powders are used in fireworks. If a small fire starts:
Do not put water on it. It could explode. Use a dry fire
extinguisher or salt, or just let it burn out.

If you are going to turn it there are some guides about tools,
cutting angles, speeds and lubricants. Check your references and
know what you are doing or tool life will be short. Bill

Hello Ian, Titanium is really not dangerous. It is even used as body
implants, such as repairing broken bones with plates and screws. So
the arthritis story is what we in the Netherlands call (translated) a
slice of bread with ape meat. So complete bullshit.

Titanium is only a little dangerous if you are grinding it. But
every grinding dust and metal dust should not be unhealed. This
counts also for gold dust.

An other thing, titanium is a reactive metal. Reactive means that
the metal easy reacts with oxygen. The effect is that small titanium
parts will burn. Like iron filings in a flame. and the magnesium
strips in the Physics lesson at school. So if you are milling it or
grinding this metal be aware of that small parts are inflammable.

The reactive effect of this metal is the reason that this metal is
hypoallergenic. The oxide layer occurs extreme rapid on the surface.
If you are sanding titanium the oxide is instant occurring direct the
sanding cloth on the open metal surface. Also the oxide layer is so
close that no metal ions will fade out the surface. And this makes it
very suitable for body implants.

Just use your titanium and make nice thins of it.

Martin Niemeijer
N design
Molenkreek 23
8032 JK Zwolle
+31 (0)38 4539203
+31 (0)6 51831576