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I very much ruined 3 $10 diamond hole saws making this ceramic insulator out of a firebrick and Ryobi drill press. Drilling out the large core took 1-2 hours and a lot of arm strength.

Therefore, I will turn to custom ceramic shops or my own castable refractory molds. I am concerned that the custom ceramic shops will be too expensive though.

So what is a refractory cement available to me that can withstand the melting point of titanium? I.e. there is a Tungsten hotnozzle about 6mm x 10mm that goes at the bottom of this ceramic tube. It's for a 3D printer that prints metal (hopefully!). So, I don't need the entire piece to withstand that temp, but just at the end point and radiating around that.

However, when I search for castable refractory cement, it seems like only one product type comes up.

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  • $\begingroup$ There are some ceramics that can be machined first and then fired to harden them. I have no personal experience with them, but Dan Gelbart explains it quite well here: youtube.com/watch?v=NPSQ9DDGWsI $\endgroup$ – jpa Apr 18 '16 at 10:19
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There are a number of approaches to this, depending on exactly what you want to achieve.

There are dense castable refractories which will operate up to 1800C. For small quantities the best source is likely to be a ceramic kiln supplier. Industrial foundry supplier may have a wider range of products but tend to deal in larger quantities.

Another possible alternative is graphite, this needs to be shielded from oxygen to prevent oxidation, but then again so does molten titanium so you would need to do that anyway as titanium is very prone to porosity and embrittlement due to absorbing atmospheric gasses, even at temperatures well below its melting point.

Zirconia based refractories can also work well at very high temperatures. One option is to use a sofer insulating refractory, or indeed rigidised ceramic wool which is coated with a layer of zirconium slurry, this is the principal behind ceramic shell investment casting.

It is also possible that any shielding gas used will also provide a significant cooling effect and as such you may find that the case temperature is significantly less than the molten metal temperature, especially as pressurised argon will give you a significant cooling effect for free.

As an aside I'm not sure how much work you have done on the whole concept of extruding molten titanium through a nozzle but it seems a bit iffy to me as I am not aware of any current process which does anything remotely like this and for absolute certain in TIG welding any contact between the tungsten electrode and the base metal is normally considered a defect as the base/filler will instantly alloy with the tungsten and contaminate it.

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  • $\begingroup$ How can tungsten alloy with Ti if not melted? This might just take that combo of material / hot nozzle out of the equation. Thanks for your answers! $\endgroup$ – OlympicComputerChairSitter Apr 19 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ You can certainly get fusion without both metals being molten. In the TIG welding example any contact between the tungsten and metal pool is likely to require that the contaminated part is ground off. I don't know what the precise implications for your process would be but you can't necessarily assume that liquid and solid metals won't interact with each other at high temperatures. $\endgroup$ – Chris Johns Apr 20 '16 at 11:11

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