The wedding band: milling titanium and wrapping it in palladium

You’ve got to admit that custom milling your own wedding band is pretty hard-core. In this case [Jeremy Swerdlow] is making it for his friend, but that doesn’t diminish the fun of the project. After the break you can watch him mill a titanium ring and wrap it with a palladium inlay.

To solder palladium to titanium [Jeremy] would need special equipment, so he found another way to mate the dissimilar metals. He milled a dovetail groove in the center of the titanium band. To do that, he had to make a special cutting tool that was just the right size. Once had milled the ring’s rough dimensions, he had to fabricate a custom mandrel to hold the ring for the rest of the job. The dovetail was then filled with a palladium strip using a combination of heat and hammering. The two ends are soldered together using palladium solder. The ring in the middle shows this solder joint. To the right is a ring after the inlay is milled flush but before the final polishing which will bring out the best qualities of both metals.

If you don’t have the machine shop skills to pull this off you could always try your hand at 3d printed rings.

[Thanks Luke]

31 thoughts on “The wedding band: milling titanium and wrapping it in palladium

  1. “This ring is titanium, not… adamantium.” lol

    I was hoping for a better look at the polished ring, it would have been nice to see how the palladium stood out from the Ti a little better.

  2. Great ring. Very impressed.

    On the other hand you are beating the heck out of your tools if you don’t use a little machining oil.

    1. I did use cutting fluid but just not when I was filming up close because it was splashing the camera. I always made sure there was at least some on the surface though. When I was cutting the groove and doing parting with the HSS tool I used plenty of oil.

  3. Totally radical, dude, as the turtles would say! I keep rewatching the video.

    What did you make the dovetail tool out of? And what happened to the section of the video where you found a perfectly wedge-shaped nail?

    1. Glad you liked the vid! TMNT FTW! I made the custom tool out of a high-speed steel cobalt parting tool (McMaster.com part number 3275A57). It’s generally used for separating a finished part from a piece of round stock on a lathe (like how I separated the ring) but you can also grind it for special purposes. As for the nail I just ground a regular one on the same belt grinder I used later on in the video, I didn’t get around to filming it :-/

  4. He’s using a lathe, so I’m not sure ‘milling’ is the right term?

    Neat looking, nonetheless! I wear an aluminum ring with two inlays of carbon fiber that I made, and so I have great appreciation for this sort of thing.

  5. Turning the ring, not milling.

    @Doug R, for carbide, cutting oil is not necessary. I make Ti rings for people as well and rarely use cutting fluid. I just made a nozzle for my laser cutter out of Ti and even cut the threads without fluid.

    IMG_3110

  6. Awesome. What’s the bride’s ring? Same thing?

    It’s not shown on video, but I hope he measured the groom’s and bride’s fingers before he started.

    1. The ring was just for the groom. The bride got diamonds. My friend had his finger sized by a jeweler and I mailed the ring to him to make sure everything fit before I put the palladium in.

        1. It’s getting closer. I’m building a special machine that will allow me to fill lage orders because I’ve been geting so many requests. If you like I can put you on the waiting list.

          1. that would be great! I’m getting married in September, and my finance really would love one of your rings as his wedding band.

  7. I would have made the ring with 2 fracture points. If its made from aircraft grade titanium it would be exceptionally difficult to remove in an emergency (normal titanium you get from a supplier is actually easily cut, but almost impossible to bend!)

    1. The idea that titanium rings are harder to get off than any other is a myth. Standard ring cutters that emergency rooms have will cut them just fine. Thin Ti bends easily too.

      Aircraft grade titanium is about as useful of a term as aircraft grade aluminum. Both mean nothing as there are a lot of different alloys of both materials used in aerospace. I normally use generic Ti6Al4V for most of my projects. CP is a little gummy.

      1. I should clarify. Common alloys (such as Grade 5) are not a problem. We just select the right cutting disk and get to work slowly. The more exotic stuff is. We spent 2 hours trying to remove a custom made ring that was supposedly made from an ‘aerospace titanium.’ We tried cracking it (stripped threads in the breaker). We tried the standard crank powered saw with several different types of disk. We eventually got through it but ate up two ‘diamond’ blades. The outside of the ring was incredibly hard, and the inside gummed up the blades.

      2. Sounds like a tungsten or tungsten-carbide coated ring. Those are hard – rather than cutting through them, it’s easier to break them using locking pliers. Close pliers around ring, open them, tighten the screw just a little bit, close them again. Repeat until the ring cracks.

  8. When you sprain your finger and it starts to swell up they wont be able to cut your ring off in the ER and you”l be an amputee. How about that?

    1. Actually thats not true, I have seen a 11mm wide 6AL4V titanium ring that was cut off in the ER without any problems. They have tools now that are made for these type of rings. The ER nurse said that all ERs have new machines that will cut a titanium ring and break a tungsten ring off with little effort.

  9. Okay, someone has to say it: Serious man-cave envy! This was a great project and a generous thing to do – but I seriously envy the shop.

  10. An absolutely stunning video and ring, clearly a lot of thought and effort has gone into the design and construction. The only thing that swayed me from having a titanium wedding ring is the difficulty of having it resived, there is no malleability like with gold alloys so you just have to hope your fingers dont change size too much.

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