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Tantalum ?

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  • Tantalum ?

    Tantalum has long drawn the ire of machinist, being particularly difficult to cut. Often referred to as being ‘gummy,’ cutting of tantalum is characterized by very thick chips, large cutting forces, and a poor surface finish on the machined surface. So what's your experience with machining this ??

  • #2
    Sounds kind of like moly or neobium.
    21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
    1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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    • #3
      This is the second time today I have read something involving tantalum. The first was in relation to vulcanology and scientific instruments used to probe magma chambers. Ta alloys were suggested as a possible candidate for the >1000C temperatures (that's more than 1830F for us Yanks).

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      • #4
        Where possible I would rather use Inconel for hi-temp applications. It's not too bad once you get used to it, I've worked with tons of it. But I imagine the parameters are similar to tantalum. Razor sharp polished carbide or ceramic inserts, aggressive feed, moderate RPM.
        25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Metal Butcher View Post
          Sounds kind of like moly or neobium.
          You know it... its soft like copper ( hitting it with hammer ), but cuts like Moly / or Tungsten . Carbide will disintegrate in short order. Does not like to separate with a cutting edge. Very dense, so it's used in Space for faraday sheilding on satelites.

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          • #6
            I asked the old-timer at work (70 yrs...) how he would do straight nickel based alloys once, he said "M48 HSS". I was amazed, but I didn't get a chance to see how he ground his tools.
            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
              I asked the old-timer at work (70 yrs...) how he would do straight nickel based alloys once, he said "M48 HSS". I was amazed, but I didn't get a chance to see how he ground his tools.
              The high nickel alloys are the worst. Haynes 605 L
              a Nickel / Cobalt was a bad one. You had to have a nice chip breaker ( radius ) to get under it for separation. The flat inserts were worthless for turning. Your buddy was right, I often preferred Mo-max HSS over Carbide.
              Last edited by Fasturn; 10-13-2021, 07:00 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Fasturn View Post

                The high nickel alloys are the worst. Haynes 605 L
                a Nickel / Cobalt was a bad one. You had to have a nice chip breaker ( radius ) to get under it for separation. The flat inserts were worthless for turning. Your buddy was right, I often preferred Mo-max HSS over Cardide.
                Thanks, I gotta look that one up. Not familiar with that one. I've worked with loads of inconel and some monel though. And welded stellite (forget about machining that stuff, you can barely even grind it)
                25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post

                  Thanks, I gotta look that one up. Not familiar with that one. I've worked with loads of inconel and some monel though. And welded stellite (forget about machining that stuff, you can barely even grind it)
                  Wow you have machined some of the bad stuff too. Reading between the lines on this site, most have only machined the garden veriety. Kovar is one more like Inconnel high nickel , not nice to mill. I am retired, so brass , aluminum and delrin are what I enjoy to machine. Thanks for reading!
                  Last edited by Fasturn; 10-13-2021, 07:03 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Tantung might work well in that application. We used to use that for hard to deal with stainless alloys.
                    Kansas City area

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Toolguy View Post
                      Tantung might work well in that application. We used to use that for hard to deal with stainless alloys.
                      Now theres a name I haven't hears in a while... yep the stuff works, and it'll take all morning to grind that tool bit from it...
                      25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fasturn View Post

                        Wow you have machined some of the bad stuff too. Reading between the lines on this site, most have only machined the garden veriety. Kovar is one more like Inconnel high nickel , not nice to mill. I am retired, so brass , aluminum and delrin are what I enjoy to machine. Thanks for reading!
                        I did several tons per year of Inconel 713 pipe (furnace tubes) at the old job, each piece weighed ~1200 lbs (1/2" wall x 6" dia cast inconel pipe) the ends had to be turned prior to welding.
                        25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                        • #13
                          We did a die in Tantalum (Beta version) and had to use the tool post grinder in the lathe to get our sizes. It was for a PVC product- which is nasty stuff especially if the extruder stalls .
                          Put one of our engineers in the hospital.
                          Rich
                          Green Bay, WI

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fasturn View Post
                            Your buddy was right, I often preferred Mo-max HSS over Carbide.
                            I wonder if T-15 would work? I have a nice collection of unground blanks, mostly 3/8 x 1 x 6"
                            -Vasco Supreme 1 pc
                            -Rex AAA 1 pc
                            -Firth Stirling Circle C 1 pc
                            -Red Cut (canadian brand) 3 pcs
                            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post

                              I wonder if T-15 would work? I have a nice collection of unground blanks, mostly 3/8 x 1 x 6"
                              -Vasco Supreme 1 pc
                              -Rex AAA 1 pc
                              -Firth Stirling Circle C 1 pc
                              -Red Cut (canadian brand) 3 pcs
                              Probably would, the grind is important. You / me are showing our age : Rex AAA. Was the goto in the 70's Ask a youngster about Rex, and see the look you get?

                              The Browning machine gun barrels were lined with Stellite for wear. Nasty stuff, but has its applications.

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