Metal camera parts Ti

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Curt, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I'm getting ready to get ready to build my 5x7 field camera and only have one last choice to make, probably the most important. What metal to use for hardware.

    Brass, Aluminum, Steel, Titanium, not a metal but plastic or carbon fiber.

    For me Brass is the most enjoyable, it mills, drills, brazes and finishes well.
    I have worked with Aluminum but it is not as nice to work with, not that it won't mill, drill or finishes but it can't be brazed together if necessary.
    Steel, no it rusts and is too heavy. There are steel parts on old cameras as springs and fasteners etc..
    Plastic or Carbon Fiber, my last choice, maybe Carbon Fiber but there are special techniques and I don't want a long and expensive learning curve.

    Brass adds weight, Titanium doesn't but is a harder material.

    So, does anyone have experience working with Titanium? What does it take to cut, slot, and finish it and what tooling is needed to drill. I have a Titanium drill set but only high speed steel taps and dies.

    Any ideas on the materials for hardware?

    I like the looks of the Ebony cameras. They probably have Flo Jet cutters or have the parts made for them.

    If I use Brass what's best, plating, lacquering, or powder coating?

    Thanks, all comments appreciated,
    Curt
     
  2. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Titanium untreated, is really soft and very easy to ding. From the few parts I've machined, it turns real well and gives a good finish straight from the tool. However.... Cutting tools must be kept sharp and lots of cutting fluid should be used. As soon as the tool starts to rub, the surface will work harden and become a bitch to machine. Also helps if you can run at high speed and take heavy cuts.

    The alternative is Stainless Steel - Not as heavy a plain steel, not as bad as titanium for work hardening, and readily available.

    Oh, did I say titanium burns very easily - Flood the work with coolant, keep the work area free from swarf, and don't let it get red hot.
     
  3. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    Do you need to braze or weld the stuff? Aluminum can be welded especially if you keep it all to the same alloy, it's easy to machine, and you are probably going to paint it anyway. It is also way cheaper than everything but cold rolled steel.

    What parts are you going to make? The amount of material and the shapes you need to make might very well be the needed thoughts behind the material to use.

    I would probably go with aluminum in 6061 and then either anodize or have it nickel plated. Since I always buy in small sizes for specific projects, I use http://www.onlinemetals.com who will sell stuff buy the foot, they have just about every material you might want to try and prices so you can compare. But as I said you kind of need to know what the parts need to look like before you can chose a material.
     
  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    You can hard-anodize aluminum too which might be fun :smile:
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Can you nickel plate aluminium directly or does it need a copper plate or some other surface treatment first?


    Steve.
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Another rec for onlinemetals.com. And Micromark has some home plating kits available that run around $40.
    Maybe something for anodizing too.
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    I ran across this last night, it looks good but might be slow and thin. A nickle finish on aluminum would get my vote but I have the same question as Steve, can it be plated directly. Has anyone sent the parts out to be finished?

    http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/plugnplate.htm
     
  8. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    The electroless nickel that Caswell sells says it needs an intermediate step of some kind. After that I don't know since I've never done this. http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/electroless.htm
     
  9. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    Electroplating metals can be a challenge. Several years ago, I wanted to have a small stamped mild steel reflector for AG-1 bulbs chrome plated. It took a little more than that.

    After the cleaning of the reflector in an acid bath to remove the stuff that was on it, they copper plated it first, then nickel plated it, base chrome plated it, and finally lustrous chrome plated it. To gain about one and one-half stops out of my AG-1 bulbs, I paid a lot of money for the work on this two inch diameter reflector.

    This does show that metal working and metal finishing may be more involved than our original concepts of how it will work.
     
  10. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    As an engineer (not a machinist), I've worked with them all. Aluminum or Ti would be my choice. If I were doing it (bad machining skills) and felt rich, I'd design the parts in CAD (2D or 3D) then get them FloJet (high pressure water with abrasive) cut. The FloJet cutting might run $100 and the material maybe $75 but there would be no finishing needed. If I machined it myself, I'd do aluminum and hard anodize or nickel plate it. Nickel required some sort of strike coat on aluminum to deal with the nearly immediate oxidization on the surface. I seem to remember that brass is not particularly easy to plate due to the lead content that brass has (even low lead content brass).

    You didn't mention stainless. 304 or 316 would be a great choice too. It would be a little lighter than brass (lower density and could use a little thinner piece).
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Thank you Mark, you provide some valuable information for me to consider. I had thought of Flojet cutting and I do have DesignCad skills, I designed a complete rebuild of my single story two car garage into a large shop, car, and second story building. I built it myself also. I had a licensed engineer put his stamp on the plans for the beams and had a truss maker certify the scissors trusses. The rest was carpentering by the code. I spent a year learning the cad as I went along with the design. For the camera project I would need to scout out a shop to do the Flojet cutting.
     
  12. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    What pieces do you need cut? I've been hemorrhaging money on my little mill and might be interested in doing some simple work to get a little out of everything I've spent. Do you have drawings of the pieces that you want? If it is simple enough (and small enough) to cut manually I might be interested.
     
  13. TracyStorer

    TracyStorer Member

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    I make a lot of camera parts on a Flow waterjet machine. You have to keep in mind that it is not "tooling" and is only as precise as the condition of the mixing tube and what grit abrasive is being used. The two shops I've used both choose a medium grit as a compromise between precision and cutting speed.
    It's good for locating holes in parts, but I suggest undersizing them, then go back to open, tap, countersink, whatever.
     
  14. Andrey Donchev

    Andrey Donchev Member

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    I'm almost in same situation but with an 8x10. I was thinking to draw some of the parts in AutoCAD and order them to Dragonplate.com. They sell and cut carbon fiber sheets, plates and angle . . . .

    Your thoughts would be appreciated!