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Thread: Titanium

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    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Titanium


    THE METAL OF THE GODS

    Although the element we call Titanium was first discovered by Reverend William Gregor in 1790, in England, we use the name which was coined by the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who independently discovered the element five years later. This is fortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that Gregor’s name of choice was “Manacannite,” which is, to say the least, not nearly as cool as “Titanium”. I mean, seriously, imagine posting a WTB for a “Ma-PD-S”. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Ti-PD-S” does it? Obviously, everyone else back in the day felt the same, as the name “titanium” was adopted despite the credit for the first discovery of the element justly being given to Rev. Gregor.

    But it’s also fortunate because it is so apropos. The actual metal wasn’t isolated and purified from one of its ores until 1910 by Matthew Hunter, so there was no way that Klaproth could have known how appropriate his name actually was, but, honestly, if you had to imagine a metal of the Gods, a metal fit for the Titans of Greek mythology, in your wildest dreams you would probably not come up with a list of attributes that would be much more amazing than the actual attributes of titanium and its alloys. No other metal can boast the combination of attributes (or even a fraction of them) that titanium has. Titanium is:

    Light

    At 4.54 g/cc titanium is only 56 percent the density of steel, and only 68 percent more dense than aluminum. Few metals are lighter than titanium. And yet it is also very strong:

    Strong

    Only the so-called “superalloys” of steel have greater ultimate yield strength than the titanium alloys but this comes at the price of significantly greater weight. When strength-to-weight ratio is considered, nothing beats any of the titanium alloys, which have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any of todays structural metals. Moreover, titanium has also what is sometimes termed “toughness”. It resists stress-reversal fracturing and the consequent development of brittleness under repeated stresses and impacts. This is why it is the metal of choice for use in such components as the landing struts of Navy aircraft fighter jets, which get slammed down into the deck upon every landing. Part of titanium’s toughness and durability comes from it’s flexibility:

    Flexible

    Titanium has a “stiffness” (modulus of elasticity) which is about half that of steel and yet it will retain it’s shape over a larger percentage of its stress range than many other metals. In other words, where other metals would undergo permanent deformation, titanium will spring back. This, combined with its lower stiffness, is part of what makes it so tough and durable. If you remember that stupid child’s story about the oak tree and the reed and the wind coming and, oh look, the reed bends but the oak tree doesn’t, and, haha, the oak tree gets broken and falls but the reed is still alive. Yeah. That one. You can tell I like that story, can’t you? I mean, seriously, who would want to be a reed when you could be an oak tree? The oak tree lives for like a hundred years and the reed only lives one. The oak tree is up high, in the air and the sun light, and reaches deep into the mysteries of the rich moist earth. The reed is a surficial thing, neither high, nor deep. The oak tree provides acorns--food and shelter. It’s a majestic thing. Nothing against the reed, but, whoop-de-do! So the reed survives a rare storm and the oak does not? So what? The oak tree couldn’t have all its other properties if it were as flexible as the reed. It’s a small price to pay!

    But I digress. Or actually, I don’t, because if you remember that story, then, actually, titanium IS that impossible combination: the strength of the oak and the flexibility of the reed both! As I said, metal of the Gods.

    Corrosion Resistant

    I might as well have put corrosion “IMMUNE”, because there is very, very little that will corrode titanium. Or rather, I should say, there is very, very little that will corrode titanium-dioxide, since bare titanium itself is actually very reactive, and achieves its corrosion resistance by forming an oxide layer in air almost instantaneously, and it is this oxide layer which protects the rest of the bulk metal. This oxide layer is so corrosion resistant, that even after 4000 years submerged in the ocean, the sea water would still have only affected the metal to a thickness of a sheet of paper. It resists corrosion from most oxidizing acids, from all body fluids and substances, from fruit and vegetable juices, and from most other organic compounds. Only Fluorine ions will cause significant local corrosion to titanium.

    Titanium is also very high on the Galvanic Series. i.e. it is a very noble metal, and will not suffer galvanic erosion in an electrolyte (such as sea water).

    However, when heated to very high temperatures in air, titanium will burn away before melting (this is part of the reason why it took so long to be extracted from its ores). However, that said, it’s important to note that titanium (and especially titanium alloys) retains its strength to much higher temperatures than most other metals:

    Heat Resistant

    As Don’s Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes thread can attest, titanium can take quite a lot of heat! An aluminum light in a house fire would probably have deformed, and would certainly have had its chem-coted interior ruined, if not its anodizing. The Haiku, on the other hand, was only in need of a bit of mild cleaning with soap and water and a scrub pad. The o-ring channels, the threads, the body, everything was pretty much structurally untouched by the house fire, not to mention the battery exploding inside of it! Titanium retains its strength at temperatures where many other metals become weak. This is yet another reason, above and beyond its high strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance, that titanium alloys are often the metals of choice for use in jet engine turbine parts (although, at this point, superalloys of steel with nickel have the highest operating temperatures and strengths of any metals yet devised.)

    Non-magnetic

    Despite its high strength, titanium is non-magnetic and that can be a decided advantage in many situations.

    Conductive

    Titanium conducts both heat and electricity relatively well. It's a metal, after all! And all metals are good conductors of heat and electricity compared to materials classed as semi-conductors or insulators. So, while it's true that among metals, titanium is a relatively "poor" conductor, and that it's easy, looking at tables of conductivity, to think that titanium is "awful" or "horrible" as a conductor, it's also equally true and quite a bit more relevant that for many purposes, including for flashlights, that any metal, including titanium, will conduct both heat and electricity more than well enough, and that its resistance is negligible compared to all the other resistances involved! Obviously, you wouldn’t use titanium for house wiring, nor for the fins of a baseboard heating unit, but where other factors dictate its use, such as in heat-exchangers in a nuclear power plant, or in a flashlight body, the metal can acquit itself well enough in terms of both heat and charge conduction, as long as the demands placed upon it aren't too severe. For a detailed analysis of the electrical and thermal performance of titanium in flashlights, please see my LunaSol 20 thread, or posts #75 through #82 in this thread.

    In other contexts, however, such as in a machining cutting or drilling operation, where there is greater heat buildup in a smaller area over a shorter time span, the relatively poor conductivity of titanium compared to other metals shows up quite clearly. See below.

    Inert

    No other metal comes close to being as inert and biocompatible as titanium. Certain grades of stainless steel are acceptable substitutes where cost prohibits the use of titanium, but titanium is clearly the best. It is hypoallergenic and inert in the human body and will not cause any kind of reaction or rejection, nor will it corrode or erode, and bone is happy to grow around and fuse with titanium. It is the only truly biogenic metal. Hence its use in dental implants, joint replacements, and so on. But it is also used for these same reasons in jewelry by people who have reactions to other common jewelry materials.

    Thermally Stable

    Unlike aluminum which expands like crazy when heated, titanium does not. It has a fairly low coefficient of thermal expansion which makes it attractive for use in combination with ceramics, glass (e.g. flashlight lenses), and other composites.

    Amenable to Decorative Treatments

    Titanium can easily be anodized by flame or by soaking in an acidic solution with an applied, and spectacular patterns and colors can be achieved as a result. (One example would be ukmidnite's anodised McGizmo clips). The colors generated from the anodization layer are due to constructive and destructive interference between the light reflected from the top surface of the oxide layer, and the next layer down, and this can actually be tuned with voltage, and all of this is possible because the oxide layer is clear with a high index of refraction. See below.

    Titanium can also be beadblasted in varying shades of light to dark-gray.

    And titanium can also have very tough scratch-resistant coatings applied to it, such as TiN, AlTIN, and diamond coatings. To this end titanium is often used to make machining tips.

    Abundant

    Yeah. Really. Titanium is the ninth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It’s high price comes not from its rarity, but from the difficulty of extracting it from its ores, i.e. from its compounds.

    THE OXIDE FILM OF THE METAL OF THE GODS

    But this consideration forces me to back up a bit and talk about the oxide film that develops on titanium. Again, it’s just frigging ridiculous how amazing this metal is! I mean, as if all the previous attributes weren’t enough, it’s like the gods sitting around in round table throwing out ideas were like, yeah, but, really, that’s just not enough. We want this metal to have a really great oxide. We want the tarnish itself to be godlike. And it is! Why? Well, because it is:

    Beautiful

    Titanium dioxide has wonderful optical properties, and in its form and structure as the very thin protective layer around the pure bulk titanium of a titanium metal part it is clear with a very high index of refraction. It’s part of why titanium is so lustrous and beautiful. In other metals, they are lustrous and beautiful when they are NOT tarnished, after you clean and polish them, or just after the object has been minted (hence the expression “mint” in reference to the highest possible grade of coin condition). As most metal objects sit around in air and moisture, they tarnish, and look anything other than “mint”. Not so with titanium. When someone buys one of Don’s lights and puts it safely away, untouched in a drawer and then decides to sell it five years later, it comes out of the drawer looking every bit as beautiful and perfect as it did when it went in. The oxide layer starts out at about 2 or 3 nanometers thick and grows only very, very slowly. And even as the layer slowly and incrementally increases in thickness, it does not reduce the luster or beauty of the object one bit! I carried my LunaSol 20 almost every single day for four years and it is no less beautiful and lustrous as my brand new Haiku. In some ways, it even looks prettier. It’s very subtle, but it seems to me to be “whiter” or brighter, somehow (possibly this is just due to the smoothing out of machining grooves, though). It certainly has many many fine scratches on it (but no deep or gross scratches), but with titanium, this does not make the surface look dull or less beautiful. It just gives it a patina; it just gives it character. I wish I could say the same for my platinum ring, which after 13 years just looks scratched up. I recently decided that I had waited more than long enough and that if the thing didn’t have the nice “platinum gray” patina by now, it never would have it. So it’s at the jewelers being polished even as I write this. This is another part of the reason why titanium is seeing more and more use as jewelry! But I digress . . .

    Conductive

    Yes, the OXIDE itself is in fact conductive. Bulk titanium dioxide powder, pressed into a rod and sintered is actually conductive. It is considered a semiconductor, since its conductivity is much lower than that of metals, but is still far from being an insulator. This might sound a bit unimpressive, except when you consider that the oxides of many metals are outright insulators. The oxide of aluminum, for example, is one of the best insulators known to exist! However, metals with insulating oxide layers will still conduct in macroscopic metal to metal contact joints because the surfaces are not perfectly flat at an atomic level, and so, microscopically, the oxide layers are punctured through in many places and the conduction happens in these metal to metal “bridges”. Moreover, if the layer is thin (20 nm average thickness or less) then conduction will happen due to the tunneling effect at voltages greater than 30 mV even without metal bridges. Greater pressure will create more actual metal-to-metal contact and thus lower resistance. This is why contact resistance is always a function of pressure.

    But, it gets better! Bulk titanium dioxide is one thing, but the oxide film on our beloved titanium gadgets actually has a very low resistivity for metal to metal contact joints! Even without metal to metal bridges or tunneling it passes current through the junction quite well, thank you very much! There is no oxide layer that will form on one of Don’s titanium flashlights to increase contact resistance in the circuit path because the oxide layer IS already conductive. And its already there.

    And . . . yes, it gets better still! The oxide film will conduct nicely in metal-to-metal contact joints but it will NOT conduct into electrolyte solutions, or not at all well at any rate. In other words, it will not conduct into sea water, for example. Poseidon clearly put in a few requests for the characteristics of this metal in the design phase! I mean, seriously! I ask you, how much better could it really get?

    Tactile Bliss

    Yeah. Titanium just feels really, really, REALLY good. Part of this, at least for me, is the density--more dense than aluminum, less dense than steel--it seems to hit the sweet spot. It’s got heft and substance, but it doesn’t feel dense and overly heavy for its size. Another part of this incredible tactile experience is the heat conductivity, and again, it’s in a sweet spot--significantly more heat conductive than plastic, but less conductive than bare aluminum. When you pick up a titanium light, cool or warm, it feels good. It just feels good.

    But, part of this is also because the oxide film has a nice tactile feel. This is not usually the case, to say the least! Tarnished silver is no longer smooth feeling, and it’s obviously not shiny and beautiful to the eye. Bare aluminum sitting in the open air is not only dull and lacking luster, it is also not the best feeling thing to handle. Not so titanium. No, its oxide layer looks AND feels great!

    SO IT’S GOOD IN FLASHLIGHTS?

    So, yes, by now I hope I have answered the obvious question “why the hell use this stuff in a flashlight?” Because, clearly we don’t need incredible strength, nor high temperature resistance, nor many of the other of titanium’s properties. However, what we do need is a durable, long-lasting, ever-beautiful, maintenance-free, great feeling and performing flashlight body and head. Titanium gives us all that and more. I don't think people realize just how many issues can arise electrically with aluminum to aluminum joints. It's why the Arc AAA experienced the so-called "crimp ring problem": the current path went from the aluminum body, through aluminum threads, into the head, and then through an aluminum to aluminum contact joint with the light engine. And well, aluminum to aluminum joints are just plain prone to developing high contact resistance. And this is exactly what happened to many Arc AAA's, mine included. My titanium Sapphire GS, on the other hand, will have no such issues! And since a titanium body flashlight is one thing, through and through, you can, if you desire, smooth out and polish away any unsightly damage. As I posted in my LunaSol 20 review, you can take a light that looks like this:



    and with some time and a bit of elbow grease, make it look like this:



    There’s no anodizing to chip off and there’s no chem-cote interior to harm. It is one thing, through and through. A titanium flashlight is forever. You can carry it day in and day out, drop it, damage it, and it will still look great, or can be made to look great again with a little bit of elbow grease.

    WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?

    I’ve heard people say before to me that the notion that titanium is somehow difficult to machine is a myth, that it’s just not true, that it’s not much harder to machine than steel. I wondered about this at the time it was said to me, but having no information to contradict it, I kept my silence and made a mental note to look into it at some point. Well, I have, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that titanium is significantly more difficult to machine than steel, and WAY more difficult to machine than aluminum. Here are relevant excerpts from Titanium: A Technical Guide, by Matthew J. Donachie:

    When machining conditions are selected properly for a specific alloy composition and processing sequence, reasonable production rates of machining for titanium and its alloys can be achieved at acceptable cost levels. Table 10.1 shows machinability comparisons of several titanium alloys with other materials (higher numbers indicate improved/lower-cost machin-ability). Success in machining titanium depends largely on overcoming several of its inherent properties, which are described in the following sections.

    Table 10.1:



    Heat Conduction. Titanium is a poor conductor of heat. Heat, generated by the cutting action, does not dissipate quickly. Therefore, most of the heat is concentrated on the cutting edge and the tool face. Tool life is adversely affected.

    Alloying Tendency. Titanium has a strong alloying tendency, or chemical reactivity, with materials in the cutting tools at tool operating temperatures. This causes welding to the tool during the machining operation and consequent galling, smearing, and chipping of the machined surface, along with rapid destruction of the cutting tool.

    Elastic Modulus. Titanium has a lower elastic modulus than steel and superalloys and thus has more "springiness" than these metals. The result is greater deflections of a workpiece. Proper backup may be required to improve stiffness. Rigidity of the entire system is consequently very important, as is the use of sharp, properly shaped cutting tools. Greater clearances of cutting tools are also required due to these deflections.

    Surface Damage Susceptibility. Titanium and its alloys are susceptible to surface damage during machining operations; this is particularly true during grinding. Titanium alloys are less forgiving of surface defects in fatigue-limited operations than are some metals. Care must be exercised to avoid the loss of surface integrity, especially during grinding, because even properly conducted grinding operations can result in surfaces that appreciably lower fatigue life. Maintaining a sharp tool during machining is very critical to optimize fatigue life in titanium.

    Work Hardening Characteristics. The work hardening characteristics of titanium are such that its alloys demonstrate a complete absence of "built-up edge." The lack of a built-up edge ahead of the cutting tool causes changes that result in an increase in heat on a very localized portion of the cutting tool. High bearing forces are also produced, and the combination of heat and force results in rapid tool breakdown.
    So, 300/18 is 16.667. Ti-6-4 is nearly 17 times more expensive to machine into a given part than aluminum is! And this is on top of the already increased expense of the initial material cost itself.

    For information on machining titanium, please see post #32 of this thread, and also this link: American Machinist tips for cutting titanium and this CPF thread: Machining Titanium 6Al-4V

    FURTHER READING AND ONLINE REFERENCES

    There’s a lot more sites out there, but these are the best ones. The third one down is great for understanding how titanium metal goes from ore state to pure metal or alloy state.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1949...al-of-the-gods

    http://web-o-rama.net/titanium/index.html

    http://www.chemguide.co.uk/inorganic.../titanium.html

    http://www.theodoregray.com/periodic.../index.s7.html

    OK. Well, there it is. I hope that people add more information on titanium here in this thread, and personally I’d still love to hear what inspired Don to start making Ti flashlights! Was he the FIRST to do so? I could do the research, but I figure I’ve done enough research for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this info on titanium! Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by js; 08-01-2014 at 01:23 AM. Reason: add all the extra info that arose during the discussion
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

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    Flashaholic* coloradogps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    What a great post...

    Thanks!

    Last edited by coloradogps; 04-03-2012 at 08:39 PM.

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    Phenomenal read js!! It's a pleasure to have you around again, as your posts are excellent and very informative. That was a fun and educational explanation, and I quite enjoyed it. It made me feel even more proud to be carrying Don's Ti magic around every day.
    McGizmo&Sebenza: Get It, Use It, Love It, BAN IT!! McGizmo Haiku Review Mac's Tri EDC Review Malkoff MDC Review MY LIGHTS

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    Default Re: Titanium

    Great post. Your posts have definitely influenced me in buying a Haiku Hi-CRI. This one only makes me feel better about that decision.

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Wow Jim, what a passionate post! There have been a number of threads on titanium pros and cons here on the forum over the years and many with some heated sides taken on pros and cons, justifications and not. I became a titanium advocate (OK, nut) many years ago when I first got my hands on some and got to mess with it. I had plans of making myself a titanium flashlight years before CPF or white LED's came into play and I even bought an expensive sapphire watch crystal with intent of using it as a window for the light. I may have been one of the first to make a complete titanium flashlight when I did a custom AAA light that ended up going to PK. I recall talking to him about how cool an A2 would be in titanium and no thermal issues since it was an incan. I believe he told me later that he did have two of them made, one for him and one for the owner of SF. I held off from going to Ti with a full power LED for a few years due to the heat issue of the then inefficient LEDs. I think Tekna can take credit for the first flashlight using titanium as a component as I recall buying a red LED coin cell light made by them in the '80's that had a section of titanium tubing between head and tail.

    To your list of properties I would add that titanium can compete with steel in terms of strength but is non magnetic which can be an advantage in certain applications. Another aspect which you have touched on is corrosion and in terms of galvanic corrosion, titanium is quite noble being surpassed only by some precious metals as well as graphite.

    But when it is all said and done I think one of the greatest attributes of titanium is how it can be depended on when subjected to complete an utter neglect. Aye, a manly metal it is.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Flashaholic* Moddoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Nicely done man.

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    Another epic post, in the same category as your A2 tribute post ! Good job !
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    But when it is all said and done I think one of the greatest attributes of titanium is how it can be depended on when subjected to complete an utter neglect. Aye, a manly metal it is.
    It's strong, light, durable, and cleans up well. That's why I call it Man Gold.

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    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! I'm glad it was a fun and informative read!

    Let's keep the information coming, too. I think I will edit the OP as stuff is added.

    Don,

    Yes, right! Non-magnetic and noble in terms of galvanic reaction--those things are very important indeed. I will add that info at some point.

    To machinists,

    I should have made more clear the fact that while a given chunk of titanium metal is inert and non-reactive, it is inert and non-reactive because the oxide layer acts as a passivation layer. If you took a handful of pure titanium powder and threw it up into the air suddenly, somehow (hard to do since it reacts almost instantly to form titanium dioxide--you'd have to maybe spray it out from a canister filled with helium or argon or something), then you get a whole lot of Ti + O2 --> TiO2 in a very short span of time. i.e. an EXPLOSION. So, when machining titanium metal--which I've never done--I read that you need to take care about the chips and that it's best to cool with a water based cooling fluid, and plenty of it. I can post the section of Donachie's book following the one I quoted where he gives specific practical advice on what steps to take and procedures and rules of thumb to follow to machine titanium, if anyone wants to see it.

    Z-Tab,

    Thanks! Titanium is so great, isn't it? I wanted to spend more time in the OP on just how awesome it is--the ineffable stuff, the subtle stuff--but, well, didn't really get to it like I wanted to. But, it's my general impression that those people who start EDC'ing a titanium flashlight never go back to aluminum. It's just that good. It's such a high performance and aesthetically and tactile-ly pleasing material. I hope you have the same experience!

    fyrstormer,

    Indeed! And I know what you mean. But, personally, I shy away from the term "gold" or "jewelry" because it just doesn't fit in some ways, in my opinion. I mean, gold and gems and such are sparkly and rare and they stand out. They shine in a "star-quality" kind of way. They're stellar--of the stars, of the heavens. But titanium is a down-to-earth substance. The Titans indeed hailed from a Mother Goddess, an Earth Goddess. Instead of being rare and precious--because it is really neither--titanium is like the essence of all things hearth and home and earth-bound. It's the tenacity and will-power of the common person. It's the green meadow and the solid earth beneath your feet. It's special not because it is rare and aloof. It doesn't refuse to react. In fact, it's so happy to react with other stuff that it is always protected. Someone looking at a titanium flashlight might at first just think it was bare aluminum or stainless steel, or, well, just not think much of it at all, one way or another. But a GOLD flashlight? Or a nickel plated or chrome plated flashlight? Those scream for attention! They say, HEY! Look at me! I'm special! I'm sparkly. But titanium isn't special because it LOOKS special. It's special because it IS special. And very common at the same time.

    Of course, this is probably exactly what you mean by "Man Gold", I'm now guessing. In other words not "man GOLD", but "MAN gold" is what you (and I as well) mean!
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Setting aside the metaphysics: titanium can be shiny, as we have all seen, and when machined just-so, the lines on the surface can produce a rainbow reflection of light hitting the surface. It can be appreciated for its appearance despite being uniquely useful for certain things, much like gold, hence my comparison.

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    Default Re: Titanium

    fyrstormer,

    For the record, the above was meant to be poetry, not metaphysics.

    Yes, titanium can be shiny and beautiful and sparkly, especially right off the lathe and before any use. No question. I think it's beautiful in all states and conditions, new, used, bead blasted, etc. And gold is very useful and special in certain practical and important ways, as you say. Again, no question.

    But this is exactly the aspect which I personally am downplaying here: jewelry, museum pieces, something set aside in a lockbox or a vault. I personally believe that Don's lights should be USED, and that they shine best and really strut their stuff and reveal their true value in use. I believe that they are meant to be tools, not jewelry. But this is just me.

    YMMV, of course. Or I should say "EVERYONE's mileage may vary". I am not trying to say anything against someone who wants to have a bunch of shelf queen McGizmos (and other lights). Go nuts! I don't mind! (Although I do find it kind of obnoxious when yaesumofo posts in threads petitioning Don to make more LS27's, or whatever, saying he has 3 of them already--haha--just sitting around--look at me--I love posting this stuff. Yeah. His purview, I guess. Still seems a bit in-your-face to me. But, whatever). I'm just saying that for me, titanium is so great because it doesn't need to be coddled and cosseted.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

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    *Flashaholic* easilyled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Just to add to your excellent article, Titanium can also be decorated for those who choose this.

    It can be anodised easily by flame or soaking in an acidic solution with current passed through it and spectacular patterns and colors can be achieved as a result. (just look at ukmidnite's anodised McGizmo clips)

    It can also be beadblasted in varying shades of light to dark-gray.

    It can also have very tough scratch-resistant coatings applied such as TiN, AlTIN & diamond coatings and to this end it is often used for machining tips.

    This may seem like stating the obvious to those of us who already know (probably everyone reading this!) but it might as well be added anyway since this thread is all about praising Titanium's many virtues.
    In layman's terms, "theory" means an idea. However "scientific theory" is fact because it requires proof.

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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    For the record, the above was meant to be poetry, not metaphysics.
    They're fairly similar sometimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    Yes, titanium can be shiny and beautiful and sparkly, especially right off the lathe and before any use. No question. I think it's beautiful in all states and conditions, new, used, bead blasted, etc. And gold is very useful and special in certain practical and important ways, as you say. Again, no question.

    But this is exactly the aspect which I personally am downplaying here: jewelry, museum pieces, something set aside in a lockbox or a vault....

    ...I'm just saying that for me, titanium is so great because it doesn't need to be coddled and cosseted.
    Well yes, that's why it's MAN gold.

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    Default Re: Titanium

    Very informative post. Perhaps make it a sticky?

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    Flashaholic* Anglepoise's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Great post js. Many of us machinists do not have full flood cooling on our lathes. And you have to be very careful to not overheat the chips as they can and will catch fire with spectacular results. Also as mentioned, work hardening can be a problem but all told , worth all the extra effort. A noble metal.
    David............................................. "A few of my Home Built lights"

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    Flashaholic* Obijuan Kenobe's Avatar
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    Default

    Precisionworks recently posted a most informative text regarding Ti machining.

    Have FOUND that for you here.

    obi
    Last edited by Obijuan Kenobe; 04-05-2012 at 12:43 AM. Reason: added link
    Stay sharp and bright for life.
    Have your knife and light handy at all times.
    Sent from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

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    Flashaholic* egrep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by Obijuan Kenobe View Post
    Precisionworks recently posted a most informative text regarding Ti machining.

    Have to find that for you.

    obi
    So did Mohanjude. If you can find that ?

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    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    easilyled,

    Great! I'll include this in the OP when I do another revision (soon). It's especially cool because the colors generated from the ano layer is actually due to constructive and destructive interference between the light reflected from the top surface of the oxide layer, and the next layer down. This can be tuned with voltage, and it's possible because the oxide layer is clear with a high index of refraction. this sub-page of the 2nd link in my list of online resources talks a bit about it. But, certainly, I will include all of the info in your post! Thank you very much!

    fyrstormer,

    Right! Agreed.

    obi,

    I will include that link, but I think that in addition I will also include the stuff from the Donachie book, as it gets down to nitty gritty and seems to me to have useful info.

    Everyone,

    Thanks to all of you who have posted here so far!
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglepoise View Post
    Great post js. Many of us machinists do not have full flood cooling on our lathes. And you have to be very careful to not overheat the chips as they can and will catch fire with spectacular results. ....
    What is most impressive about one of these chip fires is the apparent CCT of the flame; very white! From experience I can advise against a plastic, makeshift chip pan..

    Although not relevant in the applications with flashlights, another significant challenge in working with titanium is when you need to weld it.

    I have gone ahead and made this thread a sticky as suggested.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    No kidding. It must be quite a trick to weld something that catches fire before it melts. I have a welded titanium water bottle and I have no idea how they made it.

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    *Flashaholic* McGizmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    The major problem with welding titanium is not having it catch on fire. I have never heard of this happening but imagine it might be possible. The problem is weld contamination. The metal and welding rod need to be clean and the weld needs to be in a clean and inert atmosphere; typically with the parts flooded with argon gas. I have made some welds that looked beautiful to my eye and yet had them fail catastrophically. I recall having lunch with a professional welder quite some time ago and we got around to discussing titanium and he told me of one job he had where they were welding titanium and they did it in a room that was filled with argon wearing suits and hoods with air supplied and pumped into and out of the suits, beyond the welding room. I guess it was a type of clean room in which one could not survive due to lack of breathable air. He said they dressed up like space men before entering and getting to the job at hand. Apparently when titanium is elevated way up there in temperature it gladly reacts with other elements and can be contaminated with its physical properties significantly altered.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  22. #22

    Default Re: Titanium

    how did you manage to fix that beat up light with elbow grease? What did you do exactly?

  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    The owner fell off a motorcycle and scratched up the light. My understanding is they just used a grinder to remove the damaged metal, then sanded and polished the new surface until it was smooth again. Not the same as new, of course, but not jagged either.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I guess it was a type of clean room in which one could not survive due to lack of breathable air. He said they dressed up like space men before entering and getting to the job at hand. Apparently when titanium is elevated way up there in temperature it gladly reacts with other elements and can be contaminated with its physical properties significantly altered.
    Sounds about right. Not only does titanium oxidize instantly when exposed to oxygen, but when heated to glowing-hot it will also react with the nitrogen in the air to produce titanium nitride. TiN is far more abrasion-resistant than TiO2, of course, but it's just as unweldable.

    I had disc brake mounting tabs welded onto the aluminum swingarm of my mountain bike a couple years ago. From the description of the guy who did it, welding the aluminum was hard enough; I'm amazed (though grateful) that anyone even tries to weld titanium.

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    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Not only does titanium oxidize instantly when exposed to oxygen, but when heated to glowing-hot it will also react with the nitrogen in the air to produce titanium nitride. TiN...
    That is a cool bit of information and now I'm thinking about what light I want to color gold...
    Marduke - Solitaire...I've seen matches which are brighter AND have a longer runtime. 光陰矢の如し

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by kaichu dento View Post
    That is a cool bit of information and now I'm thinking about what light I want to color gold...
    The article I read said the titanium burns, it doesn't just form a surface coating. I was just suggesting one way that ambient air would contaminate a titanium weld joint. Professional application of a TiN coating is recommended if you want it to look good at all.

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    The article I read said the titanium burns, it doesn't just form a surface coating. I was just suggesting one way that ambient air would contaminate a titanium weld joint. Professional application of a TiN coating is recommended if you want it to look good at all.
    I was mostly joking and it's good to have you point out the caution necessary in attempting such a process.

    I'm not as much a TiN fan as I am of TiCN and AlTiN, which is what I've got on my Draco and Haiku!
    Marduke - Solitaire...I've seen matches which are brighter AND have a longer runtime. 光陰矢の如し

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    Moderator js's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Quote Originally Posted by rasnum View Post
    how did you manage to fix that beat up light with elbow grease? What did you do exactly?
    So, here is the original thread from which I used the before and after images:

    Ti PDS vs. Highway

    knifebright is the one who did it, and here is what he said he used (I have excerpted from three different posts of his--see thread for full text):

    Not much that cant' be fixed with a hand file, DMT stones, various grit wet dry paper, a leather strop paddle, flitz, dremmel, microfiber cloth

    I really recomend flitz polish but its not going to remove deeper scratches just refurb the surface.
    as far as wet/dry paper it really depends on how deep your scratches are and what type of finish your trying to achieve.
    It really really is kind of a case by case as far as grit but if you have pics i may be able to give you a starting point.

    I do really really recomend you take most of this by hand but you really do need a dremmel regardless :0 . Get yourself some wet dry in the following pieces

    2-200
    4-400
    6-800

    that should get you started then hit it up with some Flitz. you could use the dremmel felt wheels with the flitz from here but by hand does it as wel and won't leave "wheel marks"
    Note that he does NOT suggest using a grinder! Do this sort of thing by hand. Take your time. Go slowly and constantly check yourself.
    -Jim Sexton, creator of the M6-R, the TigerLight Upgrades, Fixture-ring lamp potting, the SL60, co-designer of the B90 Upgrade, and proponent of the SF A2, the SF M6 X-LOLA, Titanium, the Haiku, and the LunaSol 20

  29. #29
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Titanium

    Heh. Actually I was thinking of using a bench grinder, not a handheld grinder, because it's big and heavy and stable, and it won't skip around like a handheld grinder would. I wouldn't try to completely erase the scratches, though, just remove the top layer of jagged metal. I suppose it all depends on how confident you are with using any given tool, though. I can sharpen steak knives on a bench grinder, so I'm pretty confident with it.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Titanium

    JS, thanks for the info. Great reading.
    Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light -- Norman B. Rice

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