Things You'll Need
- Pure argon shielding gas
- Metal to be joined
- Cotton gloves
- Hair dryer
- Alcohol swabs
- Welding torch
Despite historical opinion, welding titanium and titanium alloys can be welded. Also, it is not completely necessary for the process to take place in a "clean room," or an area free from gases other than the shielding argon. However, titanium is highly reactive and steps must be taken to avoid damaging the expensive metal.
Collect your materials, and begin by cleaning the pieces of metal to be joined. To clean the metal, first use a rag and water and soap, cleaning the surfaces of grime and grit. Clean all blemishes and scuffs before buffing smooth and dry. Use the alcohol swab to disinfect the surfaces from outside chemicals. Then use the hair dryer to blow dry the metals to ensure there is no remaining moisture on the titanium.
Ensure the argon gas is pure. Even small amounts of impurity will cause discoloration to the titanium. Check the packaging on the gas, and consult with other welding experts before beginning to weld. To test the purity, begin flowing the argon before setting it in high frequency. If no discoloration occurs after a few moments, you have pure argon.
Begin welding the metal together with high-frequency argon flowing. If you notice a swirled pattern emerging, your argon flow is too intense. Reduce the argon levels. Remember to continue the flow of shielding gas during the entire weld, including any repair work, to not compromise the color and metallic integrity of the titanium.
Handle recently welded titanium carefully. Even after it's cooled, continue to apply protective argon gas to prevent discoloration while the metal settles and cures. Once the metal has cooled, it is still vulnerable, so use only cotton gloves to handle the metal, especially near the welded joint. Regular welding gloves may have traces of chemicals or oils that could damage the titanium.
When in doubt about the integrity of the work, use a polyethylene case to perform the welding. These bags come with built-in gloves for handy access to the work, and they will provide a safe, argon-rich environment to protect the joint and the metal.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.