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stuarthesmith

Help with forging titanium

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As a favor, I have been making pig roasting spits for a reenactor friend of mine. To return the favor, he gave me, in exchange, a 20 foot bar of three quarter inch round pure titanium. Does anyone out there have experience with forging pure titanium in a blacksmith coal forge? I looked up "titanium forging" on google, and the articles I read aren't much help. According to what I read, titanium undergoes a structural phase change, just like steel, at around 1650 farenheit, in which it changes to a face centered cube in structure. Can anyone give me some tips and hints on how to "play" with this material?

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I was at a historical renactment fair where a guy was forging titanium spoons using propane. From the few times I've seen this it looked like it hot forged very well. Although there probably wasn't any titanium available at the prominent time of Blacksmithing so I didn't really find it as thrilling but hey, it makes nice colors!! Best of luck with alloy forging. Spears.

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I use a clay slurry from Advanced Technical Products which both makes it simpler to finish later as it keeps oxides down and it also acts as a lube.

I use a gas forge and would not recommend a cola/coke forge for this...unless you are rather good at maintaining atmospheres and temps.

Ric

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Well Stu, you mentioned in chat once needing a reason to play with a gas forge. Sounds like you just found it.

Phil

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Thomas Powers says he can forge it...(I gave him some Ti a few yrs ago hoping to see something he made but alas so far nothing... :( ) You can contact Robb Gunter here; http://g3blacksmithing.com/ I have seen several pair of tongs he has forged from Ti. Like Ric mentioned, Robb says you have to keep a flux on it. Show pics when you do a piece!

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I've forged CP 1&2 Ti in coal, charcoal and propane forges. At temp it is far softer than steel to forge. It also absorbs gases and will become brittle upon cooling so it's a "Fast and Few" heat material.

I have a student forging some knives from it---terrible alloy for a knife but it really impresses the Titanophiles which is what he's going for, (and not any worse than 304 stainless for table cutlery) Also it is a right royal pain to finish as it *laughs* at abrasives! (And while it's soft at forging temp it undergoes a change as it cools so it's thwap, thwap, thwap, *TING*---time to reheat!)

Thomas; I've been saving your stuff up for job worthy of it. As I've been mainly doing historical stuff lately I haven't found a suitable person to use it for an ancient greek or viking Ti implement. How about this---I'll forge some of it at the NM State Fair next month!

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I've been forging it for about 25 years or so. I've forged sheet to 2" round stock. It needs to be at a bright yellow + to forge. I use coal most of the time in order to get the higher heats. It holds the heat well, seems to keep it longer than steel, but as Thomas said, it will let you know when it's time to reheat. The hammer will just bounce off of it! I don't use fluxes on it. Just forge it. It will get a texture to it like elephant skin in appearance, but I like that. I have two YouTube videos of forging titanium. The sword one was done to show how to make something where you can't weld or drill pieces for assembly. The sword was done so I hammered modeling clay to show the process. The second one I did of forging a titanium knife, more of a letter opener. I did this one to show how it worked under a hand hammer and to dispell the nomer of it being brittle. I take a sledge hammer to it in the vise and it just bounces off. I've attached a couple of shot of it from my etsy site so you can see the texture. Twisting is the toughest thing to do. For how hard it is it twists easy, but it's also easy to crack. Even if it does crack it it still very strong. This was made from 1/4" x 1". I've had people tell me it wasn't titanium, because you can't forge titanium. I tell them I didn't know that and did it anyway. Carerful it will burn, but you have to try to do it. If it does get hot enough to burn the end will glow like a welding rod welding. Too bright to watch without damaging your eyes. Plus it burns for quite a while. I love it!

post-1310-0-04307200-1312388146_thumb.jp

post-1310-0-91757300-1312388153_thumb.jp

post-1310-0-36560600-1312388165_thumb.jp

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I've forged CP 1&2 Ti in coal, charcoal and propane forges. At temp it is far softer than steel to forge. It also absorbs gases and will become brittle upon cooling so it's a "Fast and Few" heat material.

I have a student forging some knives from it---terrible alloy for a knife but it really impresses the Titanophiles which is what he's going for, (and not any worse than 304 stainless for table cutlery) Also it is a right royal pain to finish as it *laughs* at abrasives! (And while it's soft at forging temp it undergoes a change as it cools so it's thwap, thwap, thwap, *TING*---time to reheat!)

Thomas; I've been saving your stuff up for job worthy of it. As I've been mainly doing historical stuff lately I haven't found a suitable person to use it for an ancient greek or viking Ti implement. How about this---I'll forge some of it at the NM State Fair next month!

That would be cool! I hope we can make it out there this year (looks a little 'Ify' right now) I have made it for the last 6yrs I think and each year it is a treat to work with all of you. I understand about saving material for a worthy project, I was just gigin' you.

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I should also add that titanium is great for making flint strikers. Instead of flint and steel it's flint and titanium. Titanium throws a bright white spark that lasts longer than the steel sparks. My clients love them.

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I've had several pieces get brittle when I had to work them way down from their starting size. I especially recall making an eating fork for my hand forged eating set and having a tine snap so I had to re-do it.

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The coating I use prevents that brittleness..as well as proper forging temps.
If you treat it correctly..I like to forge around 2,000F it can be a good material to work with, but like anything else you have to know the alloy and learn its peculiarities.

You can also solid phase weld it:
http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com/Titanium_Laminate.html

Ric

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http://www.advancedtechnicalprod.com/Default.aspx

I have several of their products (stainless, titanium,steel) and for the most part like them...do get the right temp stuff though as the lower temp materials do not like getting too hot.
If you are reducing very big to little in many heats then you will need to re-apply.

It lubes real good and this maybe very good to closed die work as the metal will fill just that much more. It sure makes getting a big bite in the rolling mill difficult.

Ric

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Thanks I'll check them out. I have about 6' of 2"x3" Ti that I've been waiting to take down...

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