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bjorn

Types of Material

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So I've been trying to figure out the best way to move forward as soon as I can sit still and think without something blowing up around me.

What is the preferred type of material for jewelry versus armor.

I know much of it is subjective and I'm not looking for the be all end all answer here (hint it's 42)... Rather just a discussion of different successes or failures everyone's had over the years months or in robs case millennium. 

And please add any differences in different weaves like I used galvanized wire, picture hanging wire from Home Despot, because it was cheap and easy to lay my hands on. But as with every other piece of galvanized wire it's developing the lovely oxidation powder. SO won't be doing that for any things I'm actually going to be giving away and/or selling or making for others but it is a cheap and easily procured material to practice with.

So lay on all you weavers of metal craft! 

Please I'm dying for human contact other then the dregs of society who I lovingly call my co-workers. 

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It partly depends on what market you're wanting to sell to. Some people just love aluminum and anodized aluminum (personally, I absolutely hate it), however that material is going to prove very difficult if you are wanting to sell in the high-end spectrum of the jewellery market. It's more of a low-end/mid-range market material and you often have to add heaver beads/components to compensate for the lightness of the metal as a lot of people are turned off by it. With armour, you're more often choosing the stronger metals like steel, brass, bronze, titanium, etc. (aluminum/AA is often used for clothing though), while, for jewellery, one of the biggest factors in metal preference is what market you're in. In the lower-end and middle range markets, you can make pretty much any material work, but in the higher-end market, you will be much more limited in what materials will sell best. In that market, metals like sterling/fine/argentium silver, gold (solid or gold-filled, but never plate), platinum, tantalum, titanium/anodized titanium, and niobium are often going to be your best choices. Copper, bronze, and stainless steel can also work in the higher-end markets, but your craftsmenship and artistry have to be top notch to pull it off, as does your marketing strategy.

For myself, I've gone with the high-end market, and work with sterling silver and copper primarily, but also some tantalum and anodized titanium and am working my way up to adding in gold (solid). When I was just starting though, I worked in whatever I could get my hands on until I knew what I liked and what end of the market I wanted to work in. Except for galvy, galvinized steel is probably the only metal I hate more than aluminum 😂.

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so I've never heard of that one metal you mentioned... Tantalum? How's that to work with

I do heartily agree with the hating of aluminum....

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I like working with Jeweller's Brass, but not everyone can tolerate it against the skin. My favourite piece was a simple Dragon Scale necklace using jeweller's Brass for the large rings and bronze for the small. The yellow and redish tones worked well.

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I personally like working with Anodized Aluminum but I primarily do inlays, bracelets and keychains. I don't delve into armor or high end jewelry so aluminum suits my needs just fine. Also it is readily available in the colors I need.

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On 9/30/2020 at 6:10 PM, bjorn said:

so I've never heard of that one metal you mentioned... Tantalum? How's that to work with

I do heartily agree with the hating of aluminum....

It's very similar to niobium, heavier of course and a little softer. It also tends to be a little brighter and anodizes well.

It works well for small AR jewelry as long as you're careful not to overstress the material. Unlike traditional jewelry metals it's not easily soldered for strength. It can be welded in an inert atmosphere similar to titanium or niobium.

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My bread and butter for armour is stainless steel, we use about 20 tons of stainless per year. It's versatile, available in high quality, easy to work with and the cost is reasonable. It's hard to go wrong with stainless.

I personally really like titanium alloys for the improved strength to weight ratio, but the cost and difficulty in manufacturing makes them impractical for most projects.

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I'd love to make an anodized Ti shirt, but just can't justify the cost. I would also want to weld it which would incur the cost of an inert gas rig, that I don't currently have.

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Yeah, that's a tall order. Especially since it's very difficult both to anodize the rings after welding and to weld the rings after anodizing.

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13 hours ago, lorenzo said:

Yeah, that's a tall order. Especially since it's very difficult both to anodize the rings after welding and to weld the rings after anodizing.

I was wondering how anodized Ti would react, so I bought a small amount (some 16 gauge and 20 gauge). Tried them with both resistance welding and pulse arc welding. I was rather amazed that the resistance welding produced anything at all, as I figured the anodizing would be resistant. Both produced incredibly brittle and unusable welds.

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kind of a side comment, but i would love an out-of-the-box welding set up that would weld 20ga-16ga titanium reliably (that doesn't cost thousands of dollars).  i'm sure it can be pieced together, but i'm no electrical (mechanical? industrial?) engineer and don't have the time to invest on researching it.  years ago i tried the chinese one that tlr carried, and i could never dial in reliable power settings.  it eventually just stopped working (surprise surprise), and i just threw out that $200.  

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I would think that a pulse arc style welder, like the one sold by TRL, would get the job done if it had a gas shield. I bought a similar (if not identical) unit through Amazon and made my own electrode base using a TIG welding handle. If I'd used a copper tube instead of a simple bolt, I could have set it up to allow for gas flow. After that I'd just need a gas source, valve, and pedal to sister up with the welder's pedal.

WP_20181210_18_24_30_Raw.jpg

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On 10/12/2020 at 11:44 AM, TitaniumMithril said:

kind of a side comment, but i would love an out-of-the-box welding set up that would weld 20ga-16ga titanium reliably (that doesn't cost thousands of dollars).  i'm sure it can be pieced together, but i'm no electrical (mechanical? industrial?) engineer and don't have the time to invest on researching it.  years ago i tried the chinese one that tlr carried, and i could never dial in reliable power settings.  it eventually just stopped working (surprise surprise), and i just threw out that $200.  

Yeah, I hear ya, mine failed in the same way.

I am looking into another welding system that seems to have potential, hopefully it works out well in our workshop. I don't want to get any hopes up but it looks like it could be a sub 1K machine that welds every metal from 24g-12g. If it does perform as advertised we might even start distributing them.

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On 9/30/2020 at 8:10 PM, bjorn said:

so I've never heard of that one metal you mentioned... Tantalum? How's that to work with

I do heartily agree with the hating of aluminum....

 

On 10/4/2020 at 11:05 PM, Konstantin the Red said:

That may be a plating or anodization with tantalum, as it seems too soft and bendable for wear.  Some alloy?  It gives no physiological reaction, so it's probably very hypoallergenic.

Nope, not a plated or alloyed wire. Tantalum is related to niobium so it shares the same hypoallergenic properties and its ability to be anodized, but it is a lot rarer metal. It's very pliable to start with, but it work hardens immediately so, before you bend it, you need to be sure that that is where you want the bend to be because straightening it out after will not be easy. It doesn't solder, only vacuum welding will work, but it is a very strong material, stronger than steel and it doesn't corrode/oxidize. The metals that are marketed as 'super alloys' were alloyed with tantalum. It's natural colour is a grey with purplish hues to it. Usually, it's most often used in rocket engines. It can be quite expensive though.

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