Working with titanium...or trying to....
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Joined: March 07, 2010
Posts: 10
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Location: Massachusetts

Working with titanium...or trying to....
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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:47 am
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Hi all -
I have been working (trying) w/titanium rings and I have a HUGE problem getting the rings closed and staying closed. Yes, I have worked with metals that have zero springbuck, but titanium is an odd creature with a life it's own. I love the color and feel - plus I am sensitive to any base metals - and it compliments my polymer art.

Is there a suer secret way to get these rings to close and stay closed? I have earrings and bracelets I have made and I "test wear" for quality. All end up coming apart!

Also - what brand of pliers are suggested? I have several in differing qualities from Lindstrom on down to cheapos from the dollar store. Do I need to move to industrial/electrical grade to get the strength behind my grip to get these rings under control?...

Thanks in advance for your help!
Lori

Joined: March 12, 2003
Posts: 3058
Submissions: 74
Location: Tawas City

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:52 pm
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Few qq of the top:
What is you wire size and ring size?
Do you know the grade and alloy?

thoughts based on the given information:

sound like you need to look into the alloy of tI you are using. diffrent grade have diffrent properties. grade 1 for example thou still titanium it about as tough as galvy in most wire sizes. Grade 5 titanium makes spring stainless look like a week metal.

from the sounds of it your working with ither a thin wire or a softer/spring grade of ti. can be difficult to keep it closed in small sizes of ring. few years back i made a 22g FP6in1 braclet for me self. bloody thing fell apart about every 20min..lol. learnd latter what the alloy and temper was that i got. turns out it was the lowest grade of ti you can get. cheap? yes. good for making stuff with? AHH NO. good for a weather resistant tie wire? shure. and that is what i used it for.

one option to fix what you have is to weld all your rings. time consuming and annoying i know but it works.

pliers i use are a modified pair of linemans pliers and can't be bought. but if i have to sugest some. we'll i can't. nonthing i can thingk of can be bought only made. maby i should start selling them..lol Get Zili to pop in on here he works with hard metals like i do and prolly can explane better how to make some you can use.


maille Code V2.0 T8.3 R6.4 Ep.f Fper Mfe.s Wsg$ Cpw$ G0.25-2.5 I0.5-30 N31.31 Pa Dacdjw Xa27g37w1 S94

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
Submissions: 149
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:19 pm
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As I'm asked to chime in: Yeah. Hard wire springback (not springbock or springbok aka antidorcas marsupialis) Very Happy can be an issue on some weaves that are so tight that you haven't much space to bend the rings with needed overtravel to close them properly. The only way to overcome this is finding the best ring orientation to get that space by rotating the ring to a favorable spot if possible - AND using the right pliers.

As there are none around that fulfill all my needs for hard-wire work, I am used to modify pliers, that are near of fulfilling them. The possibilities of modification include shortening the existing pliers' jaws, to get more leverage, and to give them a form to reach tight spots more easily.

See my article about modified pliers, and some additional images...
(Click thumbnail images to get larger ones)


Please note the surface grooving I made on my large pliers, to avoid slipping rings. On smaller pliers I am used to make the diagonal head cut as well, but not to shorten the jaws much. And there I am used to pull a piece of rough emery paper through the jaws, when they get too slippery, to give them a bit more 'bite' without risk of marring anodized or else colored wire surfaces - a slipping pliers leaves worse tool marks than even a 'death grip' does...

Don't hesitate to ask, if there are further, remaining questions.

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: March 07, 2010
Posts: 10
Submissions: 0
Location: Massachusetts

Ti5?
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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:03 pm
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Hi and thanks for the replies.
Yes, springBACK is what I meant. I typed this at ohhh....4am - up for 20 hrs, in the dark, on my iPad. No spell check and my vision basically sucks that late at night. I apologize!

The rings are from The Ring Lord. The alloy for the size I have (18g and 20g) is AL-TI6. his fatter ones are TI5 - the commercially pure kind.

So, I have about $200 of useless stuff Crying (very sad)
Please say it isn't so..

I don't have the facilklties or capabilities to modify pliers - is there a brand/model I can buy and dip in Tool Magic? I live in a 725sq ft condo in Boston. We have no garage, porch or work area. I sit on the floor in front of a coffee table as we don't even have a kitchen table. Surprised

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
Submissions: 149
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:21 pm
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What you call Al-Ti6, and TI5 are the same - it's the Ti variant Ti6Al4V also known as Titanium Grade 5. And it's the tough, springy one.

I'd propose to omit ToolMagic/PlastiDip at all when working with Titanium - the Anodizing layer especially on Grade 5 Titanium is VERY tough, much tougher than on e.g. Aluminium, and waaaay tougher than an enamel layer on craft wire - slight scratches usually remain near to invisible on Titanium. Use smooth-jawed pliers, and if slipping is an issue for you, use the emery paper method to give them the needed grip.

And btw: You don't need an angle grinder to give a needlenose pliers a diagonal tip for reaching tight spots - a simple metal file suffices for that purpose. Only if you need to increase the leverage by shortening the jaws, the electric tool is needed.

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: December 17, 2004
Posts: 271
Submissions: 85
Location: New Hampshire

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:09 pm
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To get the ends to stay together when the ring is closed, there is a sure but somewhat time consuming method. You'll need a pair of slip joint pliers, which you might already have, or can probably get at any hardware store.
http://www.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=slip+joint+pliers&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Before you open or close a raw ring, hold it in your pair of pliers so that it's vertical in the jaws, with the cut ends facing the side of the pliers and visible. Then squeeze until the ends overlap slightly. After this you can open/close the rings as normal, and they should close snugly.

I don't know what type of pliers you use, but I would recommend avoiding needle nose. They have their place in chainmaille, but I personally don't like them for most weaving purposes.

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
Submissions: 149
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:22 pm
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Sorry, I meant to write chain nose resp. snipe nose, and not needlenose. Being a non-native English speaker I sometimes confuse the terms. Needlenoses are used here usually only for making eyes when beading, or for making clasps from raw wire.

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: July 17, 2009
Posts: 451
Submissions: 76
Location: Denver, Colorado

Compound Pliers
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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:19 pm
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Get yourself a pair of compound pliers at home depot:


"Crescent 9 In. Pro Series Long Nose Pliers"

They are $14.97 each and you can probably get them at your local store. These will make short work of any hard and springy metal, and I personally use them for my stainless steel work.

I wish they were box joint, and the cutter is wasted leverage, but hey - it works. Actually for the price they work very well. They have teeth and you need that for the hard stuff. I swear by these.



Joined: July 17, 2009
Posts: 451
Submissions: 76
Location: Denver, Colorado

Over-bending to compensate for springback...
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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:46 pm
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Regardless of pliers, it sounds like you need to learn how to "over-bend" the metal as you close the rings, so that it "springs back" to the desired closed position.

This is difficult to explain. Close the ring 'beyond closed" so that it snaps back where you want it. I actually overlap the ring ends with my pliers then when the pressure is released it moves back where I want it. If you start doing this you will learn how much you need to "over-bend" to get the desired position.

Furthermore, I do this in two different directions to close each ring. First, I over bend a little along the arc of the ring in order to make up the saw blade kerf. If you are using machine cut rings you won't need to do this. Then I over bend perpendicular to the arc of the ring, actually open it the wrong way a little bit. (Actually I do both these motions together rather than in separate steps.) When I let go, it pops back right where I want it, for a flush, neat closure.

It can be done, it just takes practice. Perhaps practice with some stainless steel, which is slightly less obnoxious to work with than Titanium. After you get the hang of it you can go back to the Titanium. Grade 5 Titanium is one of the most difficult metals to work with, in my opinion. Furthermore, it will break if you over-bend it too much. However, if you learn to over-bend just the right amount, you can make nice, perfect, clean closures.

Another way to look at it:
Take a metal paper clip. Bend it open with your fingers using the ends for leverage. Watch carefully when you release your pressure and you will see that it "springs back" a little, but also remains permanently bent a little too. (In tech-speak this is elastic and plastic deformation but this is not important). This is exactly what is going on with your rings. Job is to learn how much bending is needed to end up with just the permanent bending that you want.

Keep at it, you will get it!
Cutters



Joined: December 17, 2004
Posts: 271
Submissions: 85
Location: New Hampshire

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:21 pm
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Pfeiffer,
What you describe about "over closing" the rings works great with all the metals I've used, except in my experience, titanium. Especially low AR, 18 or lower gauge titanium rings. Not including pure titanium, I'm talking about the springy alloys.

It's quite possible that if I had greater hand strength then that method might work for me, but I've found I can't do it without marring the rings badly. I don't often work with titanium, but when I do I have to pre pre-close it. Laughing

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 3615
Submissions: 149
Location: Germany, Herxheim

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:00 pm
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That overtravel closing method works for Titanium Grade 5 as well as for other beasty metals like e.g. some Bronze types, that are often equally disliked by many maillers due to the same problems.

Who gets plier marks on these materials' rings due to simple closing them while weaving, or doesn't get them closed tight, does something basically wrong - usually by NOT using a proper set of pliers, so there is more slipping around than acceptable; but also by NOT using the right technique necessary. So avoid slipping in the fist place to avoid ugly marks - as I already told: Using hard, springy metals even a 'death grip' leaves less visible marks than a just slightly slipping plier jaw. The proper overtravel technique itself is something that can be learnt - many examples of successful work with these materials are proof enough.

-ZiLi-


Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Ep Fper MAl Ws$ Cpbsw$ G0.3-6.4 I1.0-30.0 N28.25 Ps Dacdejst Xagtw S08 Hip

Human societies are like chain mail.
A single link will be worth nothing.
A chain is of use, but will break at the weakest link.
A weak weave will have the need to replace weak links.
A strong weave will survive even with weak links included.
-'me

Joined: March 3, 2002
Posts: 992
Submissions: 244

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Posted on Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:14 pm
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I modify my pliers in a very similar way to Zili. The only difference is that I start with a pair of Knipex 20-160 because they have the best leverage(more expensive though) and then I don't need to make grooves.

Don't use pliers with teeth or needle nose pliers and you should be able to get by OK if you have strong hands.

Ti is by far the most difficult metal to work with, it should come with a warning for beginners. Practice on some spring steel or bronze should help but be careful not to develop the habit of overbending because Ti rings will snap if you do.


www.mailletec.com

Y'know, that might just be crazy enough to work!

Joined: December 24, 2009
Posts: 68
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Location: Folsom, CA

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Posted on Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:53 pm
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I am in the "overbending" camp too.

I bought 800 rings of an unknown shiny silvery metal (for $7!) and they were quite tough to bend and stay closed until I accidentally over bent one, and it lined up perfectly and stayed there. Also, I "death grip" them as ZiLi says, using one toothed plier to hold the ring, and another smooth plier to bend it. Oh, and I haven't modified my pliers. Yet Razz

Joined: March 07, 2010
Posts: 10
Submissions: 0
Location: Massachusetts

Ti
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Posted on Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:29 am
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Many, many thanks to all of those who took the time to pen a reply to my query!!!!!!!

Actually, I have been using the overbending technique - something that I learned as a child during my "fort" building escapades. I guess it was innate.

I find that with TI5 I have to overbend with a bit of a "squeeze" inward, so when I am passing the ends of the ring, they click. I know that when I hear the click , I can decrease the inward pressure and they will be close to closed.

I know that many dislike titanium, but I have had a love affair with the metal since I was 18, when I discovered a titanium artisan in Westerly, RI area (the name escapes me, sorry). That was THIRTY (yikes) years ago. I have longed for the day when I could create such colors on my own, and so far, the only way I have been able to to that is with polymer clays. My engagement and wedding band are titanium, as is half my jewelry collection, watch etc. Then, I discovered chain maille - odd that I never even thought about including it in my art seeing that I have had many SCA friends over the years. Being able to work with a metal that retains it colors well, is hypoallergenic, and can take a beating is heavenly to me. I just have to master the right techniques. I have owned TI5 pieces for 30 yrs now, and I have not experienced ANY color fading, changing or other issues that I often hear about. Niobium, however, is a different story. I find that it is just as stubborn as TI5 to work with (in chain maille) but more expensive and the colors scratch off an/or change with time.

I am so glad I found the M.A.I.L. site several months ago, and I enjoy the helpful community a great deal.

Thanks again for all of your help!! I will visit the Lowe's/Home Depot/Ace stores near me and investigate their pliers inventory.

Best,
Lori
www.capturedbylori.com (just my photos so far - working on adding my jewelry)

By the way, is there anyone near the Boston MA area?

Joined: July 14, 2010
Posts: 31
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Location: bloominton, IN

you got a whole new animal.
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Posted on Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:44 am
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Ok titanium likes to keep the shape it's made in too. When you change that it don't work right. get a blow torch from the hardware store and heat the rings and let cool. try that first, if it don't work then get silver solder or weld them, solder would be easier. You would have to get silver solder from a jewelry supply house or store. You will need borax for a flux. 20 mule ox team is what I use. You can find it in any store tht sales laundry soap. No it's not a soap, it's a salt. You can rivet them but god that's a lot of work.

People must remember that I do blacksmithing and jewelry too. I use what works and take from one if it can be used some where els. Now for you pliers use what works and feels good to you. But when making jewelry use jewelers pliers wont scratch as bad or leave marks. When you use them right you should have no marks at all. My favorite pear of pliers you can't buy. There hand forged by a blacksmith and are about 100+ years old.


You are only limited by ones self, for trying is never failure. You may have just hit your limitations.
You can tell some one a 1000 times how to do some thing or show them once and they can do it a 1000 times over.

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