Experimenting with Titanium

I have been curious about engraving 6ALV4 Titanium.  A lot of high end knives are available using this titanium alloy for the handle scales.  It has a bad reputation among engravers, so I thought I would experiment with some and see how bad it really is.

I sliced off a small piece, about two inches long, and came up with this design for a small pendant.  Then into the studio to begin.

Above is the titanium fixed to a hardwood block with pitch, the design transferred and the beginnings of the engraving.  I began with my Lindsay Palm Control Classic, with the tungsten piston for max power.  It would cut, but certainly not deeply.  Since this is to be a fully sculpted design, that simply wasn’t going to cut it (pun intended…).  So, I tried my new Nitro G20 airgraver – which worked just fine.  It is a lot more powerful than my Lindsay Classic airgraver.  However, during the course of the engraving, I did break the graver point several times, something I haven’t done in some time.  The 6ALV4 isn’t exactly a “dream” to cut.  It’s not only fairly hard, but “tough” (resistant?) as well.

Here’s the moth outlines cut, and some of the background relieved.  The 6ALV4 titanium doesn’t cut as well as mild steel or 410 or 416 stainless steel with carbide burrs and my NSK micromotor grinder either, but it is doable.

Here I’m beginning to sculpt the left wings with the NSK micromotor.

I used the Nitro G20 airgraver and a rough tipped punch to further sculpt the wings, above.  I also textured the background with my signature “scribble” texture.

And here is the result so far, with a preliminary inking.  More tomorrow…

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