What is titanium?
A shiny transition metal called titanium was first identified in the UK in the 18th century. It has a silvery look and is incredibly strong while having a low density. It becomes a valuable commodity as a result in sectors where light weighting is crucial.
Titanium has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, is very resistant to corrosion from acids, chlorine, and sea water, and is non-toxic even in large quantities. This makes it particularly beneficial for implants and other medical devices in the realm of medicine.
Iron, aluminum, and vanadium are frequently alloyed with titanium in the manufacturing sector.
Why use titanium?
Despite its premium price tag, titanium is an incredibly popular material. Reasons to use titanium include:
Good strength-to-weight ratio
Surface treatment options
For these reasons, titanium is regularly used in industries like aerospace, automotive, and medical.
Titanium aerospace parts include aircraft engine parts, airframe parts, rotors, and compressor blades. In fact, aerospace drives the production of titanium: two thirds of all the produced titanium in the world goes into aircraft engines and airframes.
In the medical world, titanium parts include surgical implants (such as long-term hip replacements) and instruments. The metal is also used for items like wheelchairs and crutches.
Why CNC machine titanium?
CNC machine titanium is usually always the optimum manufacturing method for getting the most precise and economical titanium parts. Let's examine the options to better understand why.
Casting titanium parts is an uncommon process used by manufacturers. Several refractory materials used in casting include trace amounts of oxygen, and heated titanium reacts severely with oxygen.
A workaround is to use rammed graphite casting — using an oxygen-free graphite cast — but this produces parts with a very rough surface texture not suitable for most medical, aerospace, and industrial applications. It is also possible to make titanium parts with lost wax casting, but this requires a vacuum chamber.
Utilizing additive manufacturing for titanium parts is a more recent possibility. Titanium 3D printing materials can be processed by a few 3D printing procedures, including Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM), and Direct Energy Deposition (DED). However, the cost of these 3D printing technologies is prohibitive, and many sectors have not yet approved the usage of 3D-printed titanium for end-use parts that are required to be safe.
Compared to the alternatives, CNC machining is a precise, secure, adaptable, and cost-effective method of producing titanium parts.