Saturday, April 12, 2014

Titanium Feathers.


I wanted to experiment with making titanium feathers for my new project called Nest.

At first I thought of making them out of silver or copper but the problem is that whether you like it or not, they will always tarnish.

So I decided titanium, also because I like the blue that can be made iridescent , much like the Roller, Botswana’s national bird.



I rolled titanium down to 0.5 mm and cut it out with tinsnips.



I pre-polish the blanks.

Just bobbing compound on a 9 inch buff.

You got to wear leather finger tips because these things pick up some serious heat.



These are two wedge shaped punches that I used.



I bash them like this to raise a slight “spine” .

The one on the left still needs some more bashing, but you get the idea.

I just use some wood underneath instead o f wax because wax is to soft.



I ground some setting burrs down to make the cutting edge more visible.



Then I cut them into a feather texture.

Titanium cuts easy and it does not grab like copper or brass.

I tends to wear tools down a bit quicker than gold but it’s quite doable.

The one on the left was torch heated and I was not really happy with that—to difficult with such thin metal.


So I took a piece of iron flat bar and put them on that and then heated the flat bar from underneath and that was more controllable.

They shimmer in the light.


I made some longer ones as part of the experiment.


Rough cut.



This one I bent into a circle and heated it in my oven.

I used a dental vacuum oven but I later also used my standard kiln, so either one is good.

The dental oven goes from zero degrees to 600 C in five minutes so impatience was the only reason I used that one first.



Came out just like I wanted.

The temperature was 550C but that is a more or less, because I was constantly looking so there was some serious fluctuation in temperatures.



Here is picture of my bird’s naked uncoloured feathers.



A picture of the feathers being attached. The screws will still get gem nuts to hold then in.


All dressed up and blued.

The “wings” were blued in my big oven at 550 C – carefully.

I am not really happy with that colour so I am going to do them over.

And the reason I am using heat and not anodizing is because I blew my rectifier up.

I had the one from reactive metals and a very nice machine it was too.

Unfortunately ‘ol bright eyes plugged it into 220 volts instead of 110 and Boom, she was expired.

Now I got to figure how I am going to wangle one into Germany from the USA without going bankrupt paying the taxes.

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