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Wedding bands from aerospace metal


#1

Cobalt?

Hi Gang,

Flipping through google news, I came across this:
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1d8 Interview with Scott Kay talking
up the virtue of “BioBlu B27 Cobalt” as opposed to Platinum. Mainly
for men’s wedding rings, apparently. Anybody know anything about how
it works? He mentioned that it was “ridiculously hard”.

It sounded like a PR piece trying to create buzz for a new line of
pricepoint pieces, but I’m curious about the material. I note the
designs he shows on his website are chunky as hell, and the flush-set
stones seem to be in collars. (gold?) This could just be an artifact
of his design style, or it could be designs driven by the limitations
of the material. Anybody know anything about it?

Regards,
Brian.


#2

BioBlu B27 Cobalt
Technical
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1da

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#3
Cobalt? 

No actually cobalt-chrome and quite a few other metals for good
measure. He is using Carpenter BioBlu 27
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1dc

Anybody know anything about how it works? He mentioned that it was
"ridiculously hard". 

Well that depends on your frame of reference it can get into the
upper 40’s on the Rockwell C scale. Annealed it is about 30HRC so
you can’t really cut it without carbide tooling. It work hardens
very fast so cold work is pretty much out of the question.

It sounded like a PR piece trying to create buzz for a new line of
pricepoint pieces, but I'm curious about the material. I note the
designs he shows on his website are chunky as hell, and the
flush-set stones seem to be in collars. (gold?) This could just be
an artifact of his design style, or it could be designs driven by
the limitations of the material. Anybody know anything about it? 

Scott Kay is the master of PR buzz or BS depending on your opinion
of him. The chunky designs are pretty much in keeping with his
recent lines. I doubt you can do any kind of setting directly in
cobalt-chrome alloys. I kind of like the material as it would make a
real durable, extremely corrosion resistant ring, but manufacturing
is going to be a bitch. This alloy is designed for jewelry and
watches according to the Carpenter data sheet.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#4

"Mainly for men’s wedding rings, apparently. Anybody know anything
about how it works? He mentioned that it was “ridiculously hard”.

I would NOT recommend using ANYTHING that hard for a ring. Why?

My husband had an allergy reaction to a medication. His hands, his
whole body, got very swollen in minutes. We went to the emergency
room, and it took 45 minutes to get something to work that would cut
his ring off. (It was inexcusable that their regular ring saw was
too dull). They ended up calling both the maintenence guy and the
fire department. Janitor got there first and his bolt cutters did
the trick. It was an 18K ring. His ring was ruined and the jeweller
who made it is out of business. The design nad a niobium band that
went 7/8’s around the gold band and was bolted inplace, with expoxy
over the bolts.

I RECOMMEND THAT NO ONE USE TITANIUM OR NIOBIUM FOR RINGS, unless
there is a design feature where the niobium part is mounted on
something softer and is designed with a way to cut through the
softer metal. Hand injuries are not uncommon, and I have no idea how
they’d have handled a ring made of something really hard.

Maureen Maker


#5
I RECOMMEND THAT NO ONE USE TITANIUM OR NIOBIUM FOR RINGS, 

Maureen, there may be reasons to not use Titanium or niobium in
rings, such as making the rings more difficult to size or service
for those jewelers not familier with such, but unusual hardness is
not among those reasons. Titanium can be pretty tough, but any decent
ring cutter can handle even the harder versions (which are normally
found only in the commercially/mass produced wedding bands, not so
much in the type of ring your husband had, where it’s used in
conjunction with precious metals, or the typical work from artist
jewelers rather than major manufacturers). And Niobium is always
soft. A bit tough, but soft. Both these metals form a thin tough
oxide film that can dull saws more quickly than precious metals, but
cutting with a bit of pressure to get the saw through that thin
surface film is all that’s required, and as I said, any decent
cutting implement has no trouble with removing such a ring. As you
said, the real problem is that the emergency room there was ill
equipped, not that the ring itself was of some unusually hard to cut
material, despite what some in that E.R. might have believed. Dull
ring cutters will have trouble even with soft silver rings, much
less any gold or platinum ones, or those with niobium inlays. Since
new blades cost something like five or ten dollars, someone simply
wasn’t paying attention to that bit of equipment.

Peter


#6

Hi Maureen,

Titanium and Niobium are just fine for rings. (Structurally, anyway.
They’re so soft they’ll scratch to pieces in no time, but that’s not
a structural consideration.)

What caused the problem in your husband’s case was panic and a poorly
equipped hospital, not the metals involved. They would have had just
as much trouble with that 18K ring with or without the niobium
add-on.

Neither titanium nor niobium are particularly hard, or difficult to
cut with hand tools. Titanium, at least, has a nasty rep because it
has been marketed as some sort of aerospace “super metal”. It’s not,
but it sure makes the marketing easier if people think it is.

Niobium cuts about like (gummy) brass, and most titanium alloys are
on par with stainless steel. Both of them are much softer than 14K
nickel white gold.

As far as fixing your husband’s ring, there are a couple of people
here on orchid who could probably remake it for you.

Regards,
Brian Meek.


#7
they'd have handled a ring made of something really hard. 

You don’t really want to be on the receiving end… Hospitals have
removed the finger when nothing else worked, Usually bolt cutters,
then hacksaw, then slip a thin piece of metal between the finger and
ring, put the whole hand in water and use a cut off wheel… Will do
the job if a ring cutter won’t do it.

I had the “pleasure” of assisting in removing a ring that had been
made out of a special stainless alloy nut that was originally
fabricated for use in a nuclear reactor heat exchanger, a bunch of
the guys thought it would be cool to have one of the machinists turn
the nuts down for them as they worked in the fabrication / assembly
of them and it would be an “in” thing… Worked fine till one guy
had a 250 pound chunk of metal dropped on his hand… So despite cuts,
broken bones, and crush injuries the ring had to be cut off with
specialized tools, not pleasant for the guy or us…

The nice thing with the tungsten carbide rings is that they are
brittle enough that they will shatter in a crush accident rather
than deform, like the ring I had to deal with. I suspect that those
rings could be also broken by applying pressure like using a vice to
"crush" the ring, but like the above, I’d hate to be on the receiving
end

Kay


#8

Some how the original of this thread did not make it to my desk., I
have to agree with both Brian and Peter that something else had to be
going on. We shear these metals everyday for years without
resharpening our shear. We saw it with conventional tools. Hearsay,
hearsay… I am sure this headliner subject will now show up all over
the internet and those of us that work with the materials will again
have try to re-educate both our customers and the public.

Bill
Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sharon


#9
You don't really want to be on the receiving end.... Hospitals
have removed the finger when nothing else worked 

A surgeon would probably charge north of 10,000 to remove the
finger. How much a jeweler should charge for removing a ring without
damaging the finger? Case A: finger is gone; a lot of pain for a day
or two; 10,000 bill. Case B: finger is fine; no pain; the bill should
be.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#10

Some how the original of this thread did not make it to my desk., I
have to agree with both Brian and Peter that something else had to
be going on. We shear these metals everyday for years without
resharpening our shear. We saw it with conventional tools. Hearsay,
hearsay… I am sure this headliner subject will now show up all
over the internet and those of us that work with the materials will
again have try to re-educate both our customers and the public.

Bill


#11

Very interesting point about hospitals cutting off rings. Earlier
this year, I badly cut my knuckle (would you believe it, cleaning a
new food process or blade), and when I went to A+E, they said I
would probably be OK without cutting off my wedding ring, and when I
told them I was a jeweller, and had a ring-cutter at work, they said
I would definately be better to do it myself if I needed it. Of the
half-dozen tools they had, they said not a single one was sharp
enough to cut a mens wedding band without considerable time and risk
of injury.Imagine if I’d had a serious finger injury. Scary.

Jamie Hall
http://primitive.ganoksin.com


#12
Maureen, there may be reasons to not use Titanium or niobium in
rings, such as making the rings more difficult to size or service
for those jewelers not familier with such, but unusual hardness is
not among those reasons. 

Titanium is tough, I tend rather to wear out a saw blade before
breaking them :slight_smile: Niobium about twice as dense (close to sterling),
softer and anodizes to more colours. Neither metal can be soldered
without exceptional effort Neither is too much for a ring cutter on a
mangled finger. Once again I agree complety with PeterR

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#13

Hi jeffD,

I thought you may find this interesting.

You can “make” you own titanium (I’m working on this at the moment),
and if I get it right I’ll be able to cast that titanium into
objects.

As to welding titanium, to itself and other metals, this can be
done, but like you said it requires an extreme technique. Search the
web for “explosives welding”… huge amounts of force and pressure
that will weld (before) un-weldable metals.

Regards Charles A.


#14
Of the half-dozen tools they had, they said not a single one was
sharp enough to cut a mens wedding band without considerable time
and risk of injury.Imagine if I'd had a serious finger injury. 

Sounds like an opportunity to gain good will by supplying them with
a half dozen new replacement blades for their cutters. Not a lot of
cash, but ask them to mention you in their newsletter or something.
Might bring you some business for your good will gesture…

Peter


#15
Case A: finger is gone; a lot of pain for a day or two; 10,000
bill. Case B: finger is fine; no pain; the bill should be. 

Free. The customer is already in pain. Cut the ring off for free,
but get their promise to bring it back for repair or replacement when
the finger has healed and an accurate size can be determined, etc.
Doing the original removal for free will more than pay back the good
will in the form of a grateful and hopefully then loyal customer.

And an aside, if the customer is in any condition to walk into your
shop and need the ring cut off, then the option of case A, surgery to
remove the finger, probably is not on the table. If they’re in your
store instead of the hospital, it’s not yet that bad.

Now, if you were dragged out of bed by a 2 am frantic phone call
from the local hospital wanting you, the famous jeweler, to please
rush to the hospital to remove a ring so they could avoid that
surgery, now THAT might warrant a hefty bill. probably to their
health insurance company who’d be grateful not to have to pay for the
surgery… :slight_smile: (I wonder if this has ever happened…)

Peter


#16

Peter,

I was speaking from my past carrier has a Paramedic working in Health
and safety and responding to emergency situations as a paramedic (In
a large industrial plant making locomotives), and before that working
as a paramedic in the field from an ER based Ambulance service.

That being said, your idea has merit. Hmmmm Jewelers looking for
work… Make sure you have a ring cutter (That works, not a super
cheap knockoff), drop by the local ER and speak to the Director and
offer your services on a on call basis. Most Ers have a binder that
goes under various names, but “Resource book” is as good a name as
any, ask them to list you in it… You may drum up some business
that way

Kay


#17

LOL put away the explosives… Welding titanium it’s self and
several other metals is easily (If you know how) done using the TIG
(Tungsten Inert Gas) process. In point of fact it’s a great welding
method, just takes a bit of training.

Yes there are some combos that can only be joined together by
explosive joining (Technically it isn’t a weld, If James B feels like
chiming in he can give it to you chapter and verse).

Kay

Inert Gas Shielding

An essential requirement for successfully arc welding titanium is
proper gas shielding. Care must be taken to ensure that inert
atmosphere protection is maintained until the weld metal temperature
cools below 426 C (800 F). This is accomplished by maintaining three
separate gas streams during welding. The first or primary shield gas
stream issues from the torch and shields the molten puddle and
adjacent surfaces. The secondary or trailing gas shield protects the
solidified weld metal and heat-affected zone during cooling. The
third or backup shield protects the weld underside during welding and
cooling. Various techniques are used to provide these trailing and
backup shields and one example of a typical torch trailing shield
construction is shown below. The backup shield can take many forms.
One commonly used for straight seam welds is a copper backing bar
with gas ports serving as a heat sink and shielding gas source.
Complex work piece configurations and certain shop and field
circumstances call for some resourcefulness in creating the means
for backup shielding. This often takes the form of plastic or
aluminum foil enclosures or “tents” taped to the backside of the weld
and flooded with inert gas.


#18

I apologize that my first post contained erroneous about
difficulty in cutting rings made from aerospace metals. Apparently,
they are no more difficult to cut off than other rings.

I stand corrected, and do appriciate the thoughtful posts that
educated me kindly.

Maureen


#19

Welding titanium can be a little bit simpler then the explanation
below. We are not making rocket ships or combat jets so we can be a
little less stringent then the aerospace industry. The Orion Welder
can be used to size a Titanium ring. The single source argon shield
is there and with a little ingenuity can be direct to cover the back
side. Because the weld is of such short duration and small size the
concept of a trailing shield does not fit. The fact that the shield
continues for a short time after each weld is enough.

I did this one day as a test, the ring was about 2.5mm thick. I
sawed out a small portion, filed a bevel on the edges of the shank,
pinched it together and welded through the center portion. A
Titanium filler wire was used to built up the bevels to flush. Filed
smooth, the weld is invisible and even anodized. The same process
could easily be worked out with a shielded laser welder.

Bill
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc


#20

Kay,

LOL put away the explosives.... 

Awe shucks. I have been known to like things that go boom. I suspect
that readly available muzzle loading black powder would not do the
trick. Trying to buy more modern and nasty explosives would only add
to my Home Land Security file, but it would keep govt geeks off the
streets :slight_smile:

Tig does sound interesting, maybe even possible inside. Boom stuff
is an outside exercise for sure.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand