Machining titanium | What you need to know when cutting this metal

Titanium is a material that's used in a vast number of industries including automotive, aerospace and the medical field. It's got a density close to half that of steel, and its exceptional resistance to chemicals and acids makes it a preferred metal for many.

So if you planning on switching from other metals such as steel to titanium in your machining applications, then you can be assured that you've made the right choice. Titanium will produce much lighter products that would be just as strong. However, you'll need to be very careful when working with titanium. Though it's a beloved metal in many applications, it's not really a welcomed visitor in a number of machine shops. Titanium is a demanding mistress. Here are some tips to make it an enjoyable process.

Go for the right speeds When machining titanium, you first have to figure out whether you're working with alloyed or unalloyed titanium. Beta alloys of titanium are best to work with. They normally have chromium and vanadium which gives them excellent formability. With such alloys, you can go for lower speeds since they can be easily cut. However, if you'll be working with unalloyed titanium, then use higher speeds, otherwise, the cutting edges would be rubbing the material rather than cutting them. This consequently results in higher heat dissipation and will reduce the tool life of your machine by a huge margin.

Go for a higher flute count Many machinists are aware that the number of flutes is directly proportional to the productivity. However, some materials such as aluminium don't really require so many flutes. Steel needs a higher number of flutes as compared to aluminium. But titanium is a different beast altogether. If you've been working with other metals, then you'll have to increase your flute count. You should be looking towards having a flute count of about 10 or more.

Watch the heat The thermal conductivity of titanium is just as good as the oven mitts you use when pulling a cake from the oven. Such poor conductivity makes it a lot easier for heat to accumulate on the working zone and can really damage your tools. One way to deal with this heat is by investing in good tools. This is particularly true if you're serious about titanium and would be doing a lot of machining on this metal. Denser machine tools would also absorb vibration and radial loads. Another way to counter the heat is by having an endless supply of coolant fluid when working on the metal. Aim to have a high pressure on the coolant fluid so as to help in blasting chips out of your working space.

For more information and tips, talk with a professional precision machining company.