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    Default filing titanium

    I recently bought some titanium saddles for my Fender Stratocaster guitar. For those unfamiliar they are bent steel [approx. 1mm thick] They were from China and a lot cheaper than usual titanium manufacurers, so I tested them with a file and they filed quite easily - getting the edge of a file to cut in about 1mm.

    The Question is ,even if they are cheap grade titanium is it possible to file them this easy. Tested with a magnet and they are Non magnetic

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    If you're asking how to confirm they're titanium, either measure volume with a water-filled graduated beaker and then check specific gravity by dry weight, or do a spark test with a grinding wheel. Ti will give distinctive bright white sparks, very different than the dull yellow of most steels. Al won't spark.

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    I have machined a little bit of Titanium on simple manual machines and didn't find it very hard. Like Stainless Steel but more so, the heat seems to transfer differently and it would seem to work harden.
    The "test" I have used to determine if it's titanium is to light a small pile of chips (which already look different) and if you find that you are walking around with a blind spot in your field of vision for a period, that's the stuff!

    Remember that there are many different alloys of titanium.

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    Machining and grinding are impractical as the component is small and I dont want to mark it anymore than it is. You can see the underside of the saddle has filed quite easily and Im sure it would cut in 2 with a hacksaw. I would be doubtful that they are a high grade titanium, but can the lowest grade Ti be cut this easily
    dscf5656.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevH View Post
    Machining and grinding are impractical as the component is small and I dont want to mark it anymore than it is. You can see the underside of the saddle has filed quite easily and Im sure it would cut in 2 with a hacksaw. I would be doubtful that they are a high grade titanium, but can the lowest grade Ti be cut this easily
    dscf5656.jpg
    Well, you've already marked that one up pretty good. Given that it's got all that other stuff on it, I'd take a grinding or cutting wheel on a Dremel, run it fast and touch off the other side of the tab. All it takes is a second or so of contact to show whether it's sparking or not. Wear eye protection.

    But yes, 6Al4V or Grade 5, or Grade 2 (near pure) - both can be cut with a hacksaw without too much effort. Dull blade will skate more on the Gr5.

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    Titanium is probably not the best material for that part. I'd use spring steel.

    Titanium is not the ultra-hard indestructible material many people tend to think it is. Hardness is going to be around HRC 30-34, whereas spring steel will be 50+. Your file is probably 55+.

    I'm making Ti6Al4V-ELI bone plate prototypes right now, and I machine them leaving tabs, snap them off by hand, and file off the tabs.

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    Hardness isn't the main criteria for these- its more about the weight. Lighter saddles will give a little more resonance than steel. My concern was being cheap Chinee parts from ebay - that they are actually titanium and not steel coated in a titanium coloured finish - I was under the impression Ti was not easily abrased but sounds like it is. The part is non magnetic so confident it is Ti, without having to mark it anymore. The current mark is the underside which will be hidden

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    Prolly Grade 2 which is quite soft and forms easily...

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    steel density is around 8, Ti - 4.7, aluminum ~2.8, if you have the same component from a known material, you could just weigh them on jewelers scale to get an idea if they are Ti or not, apart from that, easiest way is what Milland suggested - touch it on a bench grinder wheel, the difference in spark color is very noticeable, and you don't need to grind nearly as much as you filed off in your example, just touch the wheel, and watch sparks, compare them to sparks from the file you just used there, file sparks will be red/orange, Ti sparks will be nearly white

    Gr2 is quite soft, like mild steel, so I'd guess that the bent sheet metal part is Gr2 and Gr5 might have been used for screws (if they are Ti), filing them you won't see much of a difference, they are both much softer than regular file, so for someone with little experience with these metals it might be hard to tell the difference


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