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'First Titanium Flashlight'

Well I finally got it finished. My first Titanium home built light.  Material 
was  (6AL-4V, Grade 5). It was allot of fun, with many hours standing in front of the lathe.

Titanium might just be the perfect material for amateur use. I would never have believed this until I tried it. Following is what I learnt.

Amongst professionals,where speed is of the essence,Titanium has got a
well deserved bad reputation. Contrary to the shop needs,Ti does not respond well to being hurried. In my research for this project, an old timer gave me the following advice. "Watch the chip colour and if it changes
from silver to brown or silver to blue.....STOP IMMEDIATELY or at
least ,.... slow down."

So I took my time. I purchased 3 new cobalt HSS drills and used these to core out a 1/2 inch hole to fit my boring bar. I used a water based coolant
lube called "Anchorlube" ( horrible messy green stuff ) and applied this
with a brush. When heated it made no smoke, but boiled and made
crackling noises that also acted as an indication of overheating.

My reason to try and avoid overheating was not just to protect the tooling
but to also prevent a fire. When finishing, the turnings are very fine ,like cobwebs, and burn with a white hot intensity. I have seen this first hand
and did not want to burn a hole right through the chip tray etc. The cobalt drills did a great job and showed little wear after use. Drilling speed was approx 350 rpm ( 80 sfpm ).

Boring beyond 1/2 inch was handled by a TPMT carbide insert, set in a Sandvik boring bar, and one of these inserts ( 3 sided ) did the whole job.

Parting off and grooving are not my favorite chores, but Ti is fantastic in
this regard. At about 80 sfpm, a HSS parting tool produced no chatter and
cut like a warm knife through butter. In point of fact, Ti is a very clean material to machine and produced almost no dust and nice chips.

Internal and external threading was handled once again by HSS , single
point , with modified flank infeed. This stuff is like a big spring and each cutting pass was repeated 3 times with no 'infeed' to work out the spring.

RPM for threading went down to 50 rpm and one set of threads I cut by revolving the headstock by hand. Like parting off, the surface finish was fantastic due entirely to the slow speed and very sharp tools.

Except for my boring bar, all tool holders were positive rake, and inserts were  very sharp. If you linger for a few seconds, Ti work hardens and 
this caused me some problems when I was taking very small finishing cuts. Things improved when I was more decisive and trusted the accuracy of the setup. Don't creep up on the final dimension required.

My best external surface finish was achieved with a round nose carbide 
insert, run fast ( approx 780 rpm, 200sfpm) . Scothbrite pads smoothed 
out this finish to a very nice grey sheen, typical of  Ti-6AL-4V.

This photo below shows the LED being aligned ( spring loaded alignment 
tool in tailstock) for epoxying . It also clearly shows the aluminum inner
core that will aid in getting rid of the heat.

All told, the project took about 30 hours, but lots was learnt that will be
again in the future.

Above is the finished light, shown with it's Aluminum sibling on the right.
Also shown for size comparison, the well known ........ McLux 'PD' and Aleph II.

                                                                               © 2005 Anglepoise   |Web design by Andreas Viklund


"I don't like having to 'twist threads'  to switch
a light on and off. Easy for the  manufacturer, but not necessarily the best solution for the user.......”

“George's drivers, puts the switch where it should be, on the side, and offers dimming, switch lock out, choice of two UI's, and many other great  features.”

“ The lights work with primary or rechargeable batteries. I use  Li-Ion rechargeables, (R-CR123a), and mate them to Luxeon III led’s, from bins TYOH and 
UYOJ, to deliver the light.”

“All metal reflectors, either  McR-20 or  Nuwai's Q3, give me the beam I like, and offer a good balance between flood and throw.” 

“Aluminum, and more recently Titanium ,are used for the bodies. Titanium, while slightly heavier, is the most marvelous material for a small EDC flashlight."