Affordable TITANIUM hardware

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steveh.jae

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Hello fellow rocket enthusiasts. I have been actively researching potential sources of AFFORDABLE high strength:weight ratio titanium fasteners of sizes useful to us for widespread use in our challenging passion (aka “hobby”). I believe I may have located such a manufacturer, and perhaps a supplier as well (if AeroTech, LOC, Apogee, Hobby-Lobby, etc. aren’t interested in developing this niche market). This will ONLY be true if there is enough interest in these fasteners to make it worth everyone’s while. (A) rocket-hobby-specific distributor(s) would be preferable for very obvious reasons. Distributors and Manufacturers PLEASE chime in with your thoughts.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS THREAD IS TO SEE IF THERE IS WIDE ENOUGH INTEREST IN SECURING A RELIABLE SUPPLIER OF USEFUL TITANIUM FASTENERS FOR OUR NEEDS. IF SO, PLEASE MAKE THAT DESIRE KNOWN BY COMMENTING HERE!!!

Everyday Mountaineers trust their very lives to their equipment, I suspect we should be able to trust our “toys” (dear to us in both time and treasure) to the same gear. I contacted Richard Martin, the owner of the mountaineering supply manufacturer, Titan Climbing, located in Sheffield, England; and one of their US distributors - RapBolt (see attached correspondence). Mr. Martin is amenable to fabricating scaled-down Grade 2 Titanium (which is ductile enough to bend) Quick-locks, U-bolts & eye-bolts, and Grade 5 Titanium set screws, all-thread, nuts/washers, etc., (which can only be fabricated via machining) of sizes that would be useful to us if there is sufficient interest (i.e., quantity) in these types of fasteners from our community (i.e., individual builders, manufacturers, distributors) to make it worthwhile for all parties.

I found the PRICE for these difficult-to-find items to be REASONABLE. That is, I just purchased a couple of $10.00 Ti grade 2 U-bolts (~5/16” - 2” x 3.125”: 8.9mm - 50mm x 80mm) from RapBolt to test, and to see if they might work satisfactorily in 3”+ diameter tubes. Smaller fasteners would be preferable, and Titan Climbing doesn’t currently fabricate eye-bolts at all. I think that since our elder siblings at Black Rock regularly “touch the face of God” with their stratospheric launches, Mr. Martin would probably take exceptional pride in having his handiwork go along for the ride.

Some of our colleagues “poo-poo” this notion of Ti products in our work as being both pointless, and needlessly expensive; others laud the “Cool-Factor” and legitimate weight savings. In my mind, if WE manage the mass and weight distribution (i.e., CG) of our rockets, WE get to SELECT WHAT we use for forward counterweight (redundant altimeters, etc.) and not use stupid (i.e., putty) weight.

Mr. Martin has asked for SPECIFIC details in what we would desire in the way of products. I personally would be interested in 1/4” & 3/16”-stock, shouldered U-bolts/braces-bracket (1” - 2.5” center to center, with through-bulkhead legs/shanks <1”) shouldered eye-bolts (same dimensions), set screws, all-thread, washers and nuts. I suspect that the large diameter builders would want correspondingly larger fasteners.

I will invite Richard (Titan Climbing) and Amber (RapBolt) to join this forum next week so that they can gauge interest in their products and services from our community. Please jump in. Thank you for your input.

Best,

Steve
 

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TimothyG

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I'm interested but I also have had good luck with my titanium hardware surviving some very rough landings. Long as it keeps surviving I won't need more. And if I had a choice it'd be for 5/16 solid rod that I could thread and form myself or 1/4.
 

Off Grid Gecko

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Cool idea, but the product ranges are so diverse in this hobby that it would be hard to nail down a few that a producer would thing "worthwhile" rather than, as my boss puts it, "a onesy, twosy item." If these guys will go out of their way to ship 100 or so units to a rocketry distributor, then that is fantastic. But I think you will find the demand limited as very few of us seek to kiss the edge of space. From what I have seen, much of the community is quite content staying below 10,000 feet.
Personally, I would love this kind of thing, but I can't think of a single actual part that I would need for future projects at the moment to fill the demand. U-bolts are always nice, but there are so many sizes, etc. Perhaps if we could come to a consensus on a strength rating for say, a 3" U-bolt that would work for virtually ANY HPR deployment system, that would be a good start. 1500lbs? How much would that weigh? And what would and equal weight galvanized bolt hold in terms of breaking strength?
Please don't get me wrong. I hope my assessment of the community is really far off-base, and these items would be purchased regularly, but I don't see it as something needed unless TAPS and other L3 certs insist on it, which I would also object against.
 

steveh.jae

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I'm interested but I also have had good luck with my titanium hardware surviving some very rough landings. Long as it keeps surviving I won't need more. And if I had a choice it'd be for 5/16 solid rod that I could thread and form myself or 1/4.
Thanks Timothy. Who was your supplier, what was the hardware and the approximate cost (if you don’t mind me asking)? Best,
Steve
 

steveh.jae

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Cool idea, but the product ranges are so diverse in this hobby that it would be hard to nail down a few that a producer would thing "worthwhile" rather than, as my boss puts it, "a onesy, twosy item." If these guys will go out of their way to ship 100 or so units to a rocketry distributor, then that is fantastic. But I think you will find the demand limited as very few of us seek to kiss the edge of space. From what I have seen, much of the community is quite content staying below 10,000 feet.
Personally, I would love this kind of thing, but I can't think of a single actual part that I would need for future projects at the moment to fill the demand. U-bolts are always nice, but there are so many sizes, etc. Perhaps if we could come to a consensus on a strength rating for say, a 3" U-bolt that would work for virtually ANY HPR deployment system, that would be a good start. 1500lbs? How much would that weigh? And what would and equal weight galvanized bolt hold in terms of breaking strength?
Please don't get me wrong. I hope my assessment of the community is really far off-base, and these items would be purchased regularly, but I don't see it as something needed unless TAPS and other L3 certs insist on it, which I would also object against.
Thanks OGG! R U the original “OG”? Your input is welcome and helpful. I would also be a vocal opponent of REQUIRING Ti hardware. There is ALWAYS strength in numbers, and this exercise is an attempt to gauge genuine interest in constructing the most absolutely superlative, “hair-on-fire” airframes we are capable of. Ten bucks for a U-bolt seems eminently reasonable to me for shedding (even a little) weight if I can improve the airframe, electronics, etc. I’m the “paint-optional” type of constructor pursuing performance (less mass, slipperier fuselage, just kidding). I hope this will generate lots of feedback, and I hope most of it is positive. It could of course be a bust. We’ll see. My REAL hope is that manufacturers or distributors like Wildman, LOC, AeroTech, RC Supply, or Apogee* (*great service, but completely inflexible on shipping) would pick this up.
 
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High Desert Rocketry

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We are always looking for lightweight hardware for our Sugar Shot to Space project since we are using a propellant with a low (130) Isp. We have bought some Ti hardward (U-bolts, etc) from various sources and always looking to buy more if it meets our needs or make our own.

10" two piece titanium nozzle we turned next to our used 6" steel 2 piece nozzle...
the weight savings was huge.
 

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steveh.jae

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mcmaster on everythimg
We are always looking for lightweight hardware for our Sugar Shot to Space project since we are using a propellant with a low (130) Isp. We have bought some Ti hardward (U-bolts, etc) from various sources and always looking to buy more if it meets our needs or make our own.

10" two piece titanium nozzle we turned next to our used 6" steel 2 piece nozzle...
the weight savings was huge.
That’s a beautiful nozzle. Grade 2?
 

ghostfather

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I'd be interested, but my needs wouldn't be much. About the same as any individual rocketeer, I guess.
I use A2 (aisi 304) stainless steel for almost everything, and keep everything metric (live outside the US). Easy enough to source, and my tools are metric.

I would prefer standardizing on metric. NASA already has. ;)
 

Off Grid Gecko

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Thanks OGG! R U the original “OG”? Your input is welcome and helpful. I would also be a vocal opponent of REQUIRING Ti hardware. There is ALWAYS strength in numbers, and this exercise is an attempt to gauge genuine interest in constructing the most absolutely superlative, “hair-on-fire” airframes we are capable of. Ten bucks for a U-bolt seems eminently reasonable to me for shedding (even a little) weight if I can improve the airframe, electronics, etc. I’m the “paint-optional” type of constructor pursuing performance (less mass, slipperier fuselage, just kidding). I hope this will generate lots of feedback, and I hope most of it is positive. It could of course be a bust. We’ll see. My REAL hope is that manufacturers or distributors like Wildman, LOC, AeroTech, RC Supply, or Apogee* (*great service, but completely inflexible on shipping) would pick this up.
That's the other thing. Those guys would know the market better than anyone. Tim Van Milligan would probably be a good sniff test for what types of items might sell well, and maybe he could have some ideas for a list.
Min-diameter motor retainers made very thinly from a light alloy might be a thing.
 

High Desert Rocketry

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Hello fellow rocket enthusiasts...

Some of our colleagues “poo-poo” this notion of Ti products in our work as being both pointless, and needlessly expensive; others laud the “Cool-Factor” and legitimate weight savings. In my mind, if WE manage the mass and weight distribution (i.e., CG) of our rockets, WE get to SELECT WHAT we use for forward counterweight (redundant altimeters, etc.) and not use stupid (i.e., putty) weight.

Steve
I just talked to someone this week that needed 7 pounds of lead in the nosecone for stability. Paying more for titanium U-bolts, althreads, etc doesn't make sense to save weight when you then have to add weight to make a rocket 'stable'. We make use of some titanium, carbon fiber, etc since we are trying to get to space and lots of weight on our back end (steel nozzle) often means weight added to the nose cone or lengthening the airframe (that adds weight and often reduces performance). And too much weight reduction can often mean less performance (altitude) since you may miss that 'sweet spot'.
 

KilroySmith

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Everybody has their own itch to scratch, but if you're trying to line up a supplier you're gonna have to start with the highest volume products - IMHO, that would be 6 or 8mm all-thread, same threaded eye-bolts, and perhaps a moderate sized U Bolt. That'll cover the needs of the largest proportion of HPR flights.
I think that once you start getting into rockets that exceed the capabilities of this hardware, you're into a rarefied area where the number of rockets of such size built every year simply wouldn't interest a supplier, unless it was an item that they already stocked.
 

steveh.jae

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I'd be interested, but my needs wouldn't be much. About the same as any individual rocketeer, I guess.
I use A2 (aisi 304) stainless steel for almost everything, and keep everything metric (live outside the US). Easy enough to source, and my tools are metric.

I would prefer standardizing on metric. NASA already has. ;)
Ghost father, Agreed on metric preference. Should have learned after NASA made a smoking hole in the ground on Mars because JPL & JSC were using different units. Will convert once we get some semblance on requests/desires. Thanks for input.
 

steveh.jae

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Everybody has their own itch to scratch, but if you're trying to line up a supplier you're gonna have to start with the highest volume products - IMHO, that would be 6 or 8mm all-thread, same threaded eye-bolts, and perhaps a moderate sized U Bolt. That'll cover the needs of the largest proportion of HPR flights.
I think that once you start getting into rockets that exceed the capabilities of this hardware, you're into a rarefied area where the number of rockets of such size built every year simply wouldn't interest a supplier, unless it was an item that they already stocked.
Thanks Kilroysmith. Great input.
 

steveh.jae

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I just talked to someone this week that needed 7 pounds of lead in the nosecone for stability. Paying more for titanium U-bolts, althreads, etc doesn't make sense to save weight when you then have to add weight to make a rocket 'stable'. We make use of some titanium, carbon fiber, etc since we are trying to get to space and lots of weight on our back end (steel nozzle) often means weight added to the nose cone or lengthening the airframe (that adds weight and often reduces performance). And too much weight reduction can often mean less performance (altitude) since you may miss that 'sweet spot'.
HDR, Thanks for the input. This suggestion is not a universal fix, and it is clearly not for everyone. Those that will want it will want it. Those that don’t won’t. If you don’t need to lose weight in the north end of your rocket, stupid putty works. Gaining mass is EASY, shedding it is hard. That is my point.
 

0011001100

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Everybody has their own itch to scratch, but if you're trying to line up a supplier you're gonna have to start with the highest volume products - IMHO, that would be 6 or 8mm all-thread, same threaded eye-bolts, and perhaps a moderate sized U Bolt. That'll cover the needs of the largest proportion of HPR flights.
I think that once you start getting into rockets that exceed the capabilities of this hardware, you're into a rarefied area where the number of rockets of such size built every year simply wouldn't interest a supplier, unless it was an item that they already stocked.
I agree with this. Maybe start with 1/4" threaded rod, nuts, eyebolts, and u-bolts. From there maybe a couple smaller sizes would be good too.
 
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