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Work hardening anadized niobium

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Hello, first I'd like to say I shot out a few searches to answer this on my own. I learned a lot about niobium but not what I needed. (long description ahead, skip to third paragraph for the actual question)

You see, I am getting married and as any mailler might suspect that means I jumped all over making all the jewelry except the actual wedding bands. Including matching necklaces for both mothers. Well, naturally using just precious metals would kill me in price. (9 necklaces I think) and I don't anticipate enough sales to counter the cost. So naturally I am planning on mixing silver with another metal. Niobium is said to look good next to silver, I've heard good and bad things on the metal but for this piece it'd be nice. It wont be in a weave but rather an intricate wire work piece so I am using the wire instead of the rings (mixed with beads of wedding color. this will allow me to reduce the metal density and thus cost without sacrificing beauty or elegance. Yes I use a similar method in selling since it allows cheaper prices and higher profits) This is where my issue comes in

Anodized materials, specifically aluminum, have harmed me in the past on final pieces with spots from my pliers (problem for another day) and for this piece I will be work hardening by hitting the finished segments with a hammer on a steel jewelry anvil. Will this inevitably damage the anodized coat? or is there methods I can use to reduce the risk of damaging it? (wrapping the piece in cloth to keep metal from hitting metal)

As always thanks well in advanced. It's always nice to have an active forum of seasoned addicts like me to help guide my hand as I expand my knowledge. (As I try to relay my learned knowledge to others also)

~Anthony

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Niobium retains a good bit of elasticity even after work-hardening . . . which, I find, to be nice. Meaning - it's slow to work harden. Honestly: I wouldn't really make the effort - sometimes what you achieve after you're done shaping it is as good as it's going to get.

But to work-harden you should wrap your piece (preferably in a suede) to protect it directly. I prefer to work-harden with a spin in my tumbler with steel shot and some soapy water - also polishes.

Niobium looks great with titanium and even bronze - which is my preferred mix.

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If you hit anything anodized with a hammer or other implement to harden it, don't expect the anodized color layer to last. Since the color in niobium comes from the thickness and density of the anodized layer, any compression or shifting of the anodized layer will result in a different refraction index and at the least the color will change, at the worst you will completely destroy the color layer.

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Their are problems work hardening anodized niobium:

1. It won't get much harder - the main reason is all out niobium is already full hard - the metal just can't get much harder.

2. Any forming with degrade the anodized coating.sometime not by enough to see you are always damaging the coating when you bend, twist or hammer the anodized wire.

For the negligible gain from hammering (if the goal is to make the wire harder) I'd advise against.

If you need the hammered look hammer the wire first then anodize. I might be willing to hammer then anodize if you don't want to anodize yourself. I have a hammering machine I've been meaning to test out on wire :). Or a rolling mill if you just want the wire flat without a hammered finish.

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Have you considered anodizing after you finish shapeing the piece?

My understanding is that nibonium and TI anodize fairly well with a basic at home style setup.

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I prefer to work-harden with a spin in my tumbler with steel shot and some soapy water - also polishes.

Tumblers do essentially nothing to the hardness of a material. There isn't enough material movement. It's not an impact that polishes the material it's a burnishing.

The surface may be slightly "harder" and we are talking a few molcules thick here...beyond that nothing. Save a tumbler for cleaning/polishing.

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Personally, having worked with some anodized Ni wire from TRL to try to make some earwires, the anodized layer rubbed off just from the process of bending the wire. I really wouldn't suggest hitting it with a hammer.

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Personally, having worked with some anodized Ni wire from TRL to try to make some earwires, the anodized layer rubbed off just from the process of bending the wire. I really wouldn't suggest hitting it with a hammer.

Form THEN anodize, Jax :P

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Personally, having worked with some anodized Ni wire from TRL to try to make some earwires, the anodized layer rubbed off just from the process of bending the wire. I really wouldn't suggest hitting it with a hammer.

This quote here is probably the most disturbing.. since it implies that merely making the piece is risky unless I anodize after wards (which I've no time or money to finish project in time with) Though before I give up in dismay and lose hope in the matter (cause that'd be stupid) I will look for other alternatives and sample without hammering (to see if i can make it without rubbing off the coating..)

Also Jon thanks for mentioning the machine I will now have to research that roll mill, making a curved wire straight by hand is just too time consuming and imperfect (that which is crooked cannot be made straight as they say)

Thank you all for your information and assistance, I must go back to plotting on the drawing board

~Anthony

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Form THEN anodize, Jax :P

Yes, I know that NOW...but I didn't know that when I bought the anodized wire....which has been sitting useless in my tool box since. Biggest waste of money ever. I don't have the capacity for anodizing my own metals so your advice is pretty pointless here. :P

Edited by Jax25

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Yes, I know that NOW...but I didn't know that when I bought the anodized wire....which has been sitting useless in my tool box since. Biggest waste of money ever. I don't have the capacity for anodizing my own metals so your advice is pretty pointless here. :P

You live spitting distance from this awesome woman named lorraine who owns an anodizer :P

Just show up one day with a tub of wire, you'll be welcomed with open arms, I'm sure ;)

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An anodizer is just a DC power supply. You can anodize with just a series of 9 volt batteries and an electrolyte solution. Probably wont be able to get high voltage colors but some should be possible.

Get a sponge brush (for painting) wrap a piece of steel around the handle and into the wet part of the brush. Clip the negative electrode to the workpiece. Then clip the positive electrode to the brush. Wet the brush with the electrolyte solution and then paint the oxide layer right on the piece.

I tried this several years ago before I got a real anodizer setup and I seem to remember it working alright.

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An anodizer is just a DC power supply. You can anodize with just a series of 9 volt batteries and an electrolyte solution. Probably wont be able to get high voltage colors but some should be possible.

Get a sponge brush (for painting) wrap a piece of steel around the handle and into the wet part of the brush. Clip the negative electrode to the workpiece. Then clip the positive electrode to the brush. Wet the brush with the electrolyte solution and then paint the oxide layer right on the piece.

I tried this several years ago before I got a real anodizer setup and I seem to remember it working alright.

Let me clarify.

An anodizer is a "CURRENT LIMITED" DC Power Supply... That distinction is important when it relates to repeatability.

As for the painting, yes that would work, and I believe there's a few artist out there who use this method for sheet-work... As always, you are working with high voltage, and liquid. Be extremely careful.

Edited by Daemon_Lotos

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You live spitting distance from this awesome woman named lorraine who owns an anodizer :P Just show up one day with a tub of wire, you'll be welcomed with open arms, I'm sure ;)

I dunno...she scares me. *wink*

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