Bending titanium wire
(Delta BC Canada)
Q : I need to bend 1/8" TI 6al-4v wire to a fairly tight radius. (6-8mm ID). Can this be done by hand? Should the wire be heated first? If so, how?
A : There is an ongoing myth regarding bending titanium wire, stating that titanium’s only downfall is that even thin wire is very difficult, next to impossible to bend. In fact, this is just a common lack of information regarding the titanium metal and its properties. Any metal loses its ductility in the process of drawing, which is the manufacture process by which solid pieces of the metal are transformed into wire. Titanium does not make an exception. In fact, due to its specific high strength, exhibits this property in a higher degree.
However, there is also the reverse process. It’s a standard industrial treatment of the wire, applied before it is delivered to the final consumer, called annealing. It is nothing more than a professional and fancy named heat treatment, in principle, exactly as one would do it with a blowtorch in a comfort of his own garage. Of course, lacking the professional equipment and the expertise needed to obtain the best results.
Returning to your specific question, it is very possible to bend titanium wire with your specified characteristics and in your specified shape by hand, without any heat treatment, if the wire is annealed – which is something you have to verify with your supplier. If it’s not annealed, my advice would be to choose a different supplier. Anyway, I would like to know more details about your specific application, if it is possible. You can reach me on the contact page.