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Custom CARBLESS VapCap Ti stems

Discussion in 'Vapor Related Equipment' started by stardustsailor, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

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    I can understand your fears ,although I find them to be somewhat unjustified .

    Extended research has been done on mice .
    https://hwbdocuments.env.nm.gov/Los Alamos National Labs/References/9125.PDF

    Some concerns are aroused regarding Niobium ,but it regards :
    http://journals.lww.com/spinejourna...um,_Niobium,_and_Aluminum_Levels_After.6.aspx

    Handling and using Niobium though,
    in the form of VC stems ,does not pose any real health risks :

    https://books.google.gr/books?id=nDhpLa1rl44C&pg=PT139&lpg=PT139&dq=niobium+health+effects&source=bl&ots=zNSjWPFChP&sig=FTaj84EfZ-5lU6Hec_bhScehwTg&hl=el&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjltLOP4vzXAhWSF-wKHT32CfMQ6AEISzAD#v=onepage&q=niobium health effects&f=false

    https://books.google.gr/books?id=vgHXTId8rnYC&pg=PA873&lpg=PA873&dq=niobium+health+effects&source=bl&ots=IY9hrphT-4&sig=Z3LTrBs_Qo7UqpNNvB5fPMIM1tM&hl=el&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjltLOP4vzXAhWSF-wKHT32CfMQ6AEITzAE#v=onepage&q=niobium health effects&f=false

    https://research.utdallas.edu/cleanroom/app/uploads/2014/12/niobium.pdf

    https://www.ganoksin.com/article/working-with-niobium/

    ...as metallic niobium has a low order of toxicity due to poor absorption from
    stomach and intestines.

    Moreover ,there are plenty of peolple that have Niobium constantly inside their mouth
    and/or possibly to other " sensitive areas ":
    https://www.cda-adc.ca/jcda/vol-64/issue-11/803.html

    Fine Niobium dust particles ( as also dust particles of most materials ) are of some concern ,mainly about lung deposition ,but it applies only for miners of Niobium containing minerals and metal-workers working with Niobium (including myself ) and after a prolonged period of exposure to metallic Niobium dust or Niobium containing mineral dust .

    Niobium is hypoallergic and belongs to semi-precious metals .
    Beyond the fact that Niobium is considered as safe as Titanium* is ,
    for those of you that still are not feeling totally safe with Nb ,
    there's always Ti available .

    * http://www.espimetals.com/index.php/msds/296-Titanium


    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
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  2. Diggy Smalls

    Diggy Smalls Notorious

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I used to use niobium body jewelry and never had any issue at all. It feels kind of like stone to me, very cool.

    This is so exciting!
     
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  3. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    It works like stone ,also !

    My first impressions of Niobium metalworking .

    Cutting into size : Nothing out of the ordinary here.
    Easy to cut in size.Considerably softer to cut than Titanium.
    Resisted to my cutting tool almost like copper or bronze would.

    Shaping the mp with a HSS rotary cutting tool :
    When I tried to press lightly the blade ,nothing happened .No chips .
    Weird,I thought and pressed a bit harder.
    The Niobium bites like no other metal I've worked with does !
    Simply put ,there is no chance i can use my handheld HSS blade to shape Niobium.
    It violently grabs / bites on the tool and forces it downwards.
    I've tried with low speeds.Did not tried with higher speeds as it takes time to change the gears.
    Maybe tomorrow.

    It bites on my files.
    And grinds them quite a bit ...
    Amazing.A soft and ductile metal ,that is almost impossible to work with.
    It bites even on the finnest -non wet- sandpapers !
    Never seen such a thing before !

    Niobium eats up HSS tools ,files and sandpapers for breakfast !

    I've not tried to carve any texture ,yet !
    But I've pretty good reasons to suspect that it ain't gonna be an easy task ,also.

    " Machining

    Normal machining techniques can be used with niobium, which behaves very much like soft copper. The metal has a strong tendency to gall, so special attention must be given to lubrication and tool design. Although a variety of lubricants can be applied, one of the most successful problem solvers is a chlorotrifluoroethylene telomer mixture. This is an expensive lubricant, which is used in very small quantities and can be recycled easily. (Halocarbon 27 Oil, $76.90/lb, available from Halocarbon in River Edge, New Jersey.)


    Both high-speed steel and carbide tools can be used, but the tendency to gall is more pronounced with carbide. When turning, metal should be removed with a shaving action and the chip should be allowed to slide off the tool surface. Chip build-up can result in pressure, breaking the cutting edge of the tool.


    The recommended minimum surface speed is about 80 feet per minute, as slower speeds will tear annealed stock. Unannealed metal is preferred for lathe operations, where cooling and lubrication are of great importance. Water soluble and vegetable oils are recommended. However, if those do not work, use the more expensive chlorotrifluoroethylene telomer mixtures
    . "

    "Grinding

    Grinding niobium is difficult. Using silicon carbide wheels is best, but rubber impregnated Cratex-type wheels also work well. An adequate supply of cooling water is recommended.
    "

    " Finishing

    Niobium can be finished by hand and mechanical means. Hand finishing can proceed as with any other metal. Polishing compounds such as ZAM and Fabuluster work well. A high polish can be achieved with white diamond. Use soft mops and low pressures, and let the compound do the work. Surfaces that have been sandblasted, bead blasted, and scratch-brushed provide interesting contrasts.


    Niobium can be mass finished to a high polish in standard vibratory equipment with the following caveats: It is very important to keep the process clean and the media specific to niobium. Some experimentation will be necessary to determine the correct processing times in the equipment being used. Overprocessing can lead to darkened finishes. This can also result from using certain finishing liquids, or using liquids at too high a concentration. (Rio Grande’s Super Sunsheen Burnishing Compound is excellent at the recommended dilution.) Niobium has a strong tendency to gall and should not be burnished on itself: Always use tumbling media, such as clean stainless steel shot, and a liquid compound
    . "

    https://www.ganoksin.com/article/working-with-niobium/

    I 'll try to make one textured Niobium stem tomorrow.
     
    Prolusio, Squiby, Hogni and 1 other person like this.
  4. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
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    Things are totally different when it comes to anodising Nb ...

    " Anodizing

    The process of anodizing members of the reactive metals family, including niobium, can be found in other publications, so it will not be described here in detail. Anodizing the reactive metals should not be confused with anodizing aluminum. The names of the processes are the same, but there are no other similarities. Anodizing the reactive metals is a high-voltage, low-amperage process performed with non-toxic electrolytes.


    Niobium is easier and more predictable to anodize than titanium. It usually requires no special chemical treatments or electrolytes. Any finish, from sand and glass bead blasting to highly polished to deeply textured, will anodize without restrictions. A full range of colors, from 0 to 100+ volts DC, is available to the designer.


    Anodizing produces a transparent oxide film on the surface that generates interference colors. It is essentially a patina-an oxide of niobium-and should be treated as such. The coating can be handled like other patinas. It can be applied to an entire piece and then buffed to remove the high areas. This is similar to working with patinas on sterling, but with niobium there is a choice of colors, not just black. Unlike other patinas, niobium oxides are chemically stable and will not change over time.


    The anodic coating can be applied with brushes and other cathodic applicators. Masking can be applied by screen printing, painting, and resistive tape. Niobium can also be inlaid into settings or overlaid to protect the colors.
    If you are combining niobium with other metals, such as gold or silver, the anodizing step must be finished before incorporating the niobium into the piece. Niobium will not anodize if it is submerged in the electrolytic bath with another metal: The electrical current passes through the other metal, leaving the niobium untouched. Because heat causes niobium to oxidize, all soldering on the other metals must be completed before the niobium is added via a cold joining method, such as rivets.


    Currently, there does not appear to be a way to coat these thin films with a protective finish. The colors depend on the extremely high refractive index of the transparent oxide, and any coating tends to dull the colors. Usually this isn’t a problem, since many pieces are designed as inexpensive jewelry for which long-term use is not expected and the color change due to wear is not material
    . "

    https://www.ganoksin.com/article/working-with-niobium/

    Click to play YouTube Video


    Very predictable and quite fast procedure .
    Very vivid and deep hues achieved on a non-degreased (!) specimen,
    unlikely as with non-etched but hot alkali-degreased Titanium.
    Anodising was done potentiostatic and started from 0 Volts and stopped at 125.5 VDC .
    Final hue achieved -easily- was 3rd order pink.
    As cathode was used a 100 mm x 80 mm Ti Gr.5 foil .
    Electrolyte used was 5% v/v Ammonium Sulfate solution @ 4°C,
    pH buffered to 7,5 - 8 with Ammonium Bicarbonate.
    Very amazed and happy by the outcome of this first trial !
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  5. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    My first handmade VapCap Niobium stem !

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Niobium is a lustrous, gray and ductile metal that resembles Platinum in color,when mirror polished .Being the number 41 on the periodic table, Niobium falls into the transition metals, along with the precious metals. It has a melting point of approximately 2,468°C/4,474°F, and a density of 8.57 gm/cc,about equal to cartridge brass (8.5 gm/cc) and a bit less than Copper (8.9 gm/cc).
    A stem made of Niobium should be treated with care, like it was a VC stem made of brass or Copper ,because Niobium is not such a hard metal,like Titanium or 316L stainless steel .
    Think of Niobium more as a semi-precious metal and not as an aerospace material.
    Actually Niobium is more expensive than Titanium and on par with Silver ,most of the times.
    It is highly hypoallergic also and it is used for dental and other kind of implants.

    As one of the refractory metals, Niobium -like Titanium -when anodised ,
    it's surface gets covered by a transparent oxide layer.
    Still,the hues achieved are way more vivid and crisp than of Titanium.
    Quite a noticeable difference .

    [​IMG]

    Another rather big difference with Titanium is their density.
    In simple terms : Weight.
    Niobium weights and feels like brass or Copper.
    Thus a VC with a Niobium body and a Ti tip or even with a SS tip ,
    will be "rear" weighted.The center of balance is the stem itself.

    The making of a Niobium stem ,takes double the time or even more ,
    than the making of a Titanium stem.
    Niobium is a very difficult material to work with.
    Extremely difficult ,I should say .
    It gals ,just by looking at it .
    It bites really hard and instantly ,to whatever comes in contact with,while turning
    It destroys every tool.
    Cutting tools ,drills,files,rotary cutting discs,emery stones,etc.
    It even destroys sandpapers ,in the blink of an eye.

    It's dust is heavy ,very sticky and totally black.
    Niobium has a very similar -punchy-odor with the odor of soft grey Iron ,
    when machined.

    To conclude ,Niobium is a real pain in the @$$ to work with .
    Really ,I mean it.
    Never before came across to such difficult material.

    But when the anodising time comes ,Niobium truly shines there!
    Amazing -and very predictable - results !
    Far better than Titanium .
    [​IMG]

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  6. CanadianBakin

    CanadianBakin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    53
    These are amazing. I need to get a stem for my Omni XL, but I can't decide what colour I want. Decisions, decisions.
     
    Squiby and stardustsailor like this.
  7. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    A very interesting lab-rat ( not mine this time ! ) .
    [​IMG]

    A sand-blasted Titanium OMNI mouthpiece.
    Just the mouthpiece.Not the moving condenser unit.
    It would not be of any use ,anyway.
    I'm on the carbless wagon and I'm not planning on jumping off it.
    Still ...
    Sandblasted Ti is pretty interesting .

    And here's something you most probably haven't seen before :
    How to turn a standard 62 mm VC unit into an XL unit ,using just a scrap OMNI mp ! :uhh:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    :D

    What a device !
    Endless combinations and possibilities !
    Simply amazing .

    Cheers.
    :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  8. Squiby

    Squiby Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,646
    OMG!!!

    Your stems just get more and more beautiful. Stunning creative work. You are a true artist.

    I am looking forward to ordering a stem from you. But everything you've done is breathtaking. How can I decide?
     
  9. KeroZen

    KeroZen Chronic vapaholic

    Messages:
    3,032
    Location:
    On Air
    @Squiby : you know the answer in these cases? "Buy two!" :p
     
  10. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
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    My personal POV is that Squiby has contributed the most so far ,to the VapCap community.
    So ,for that reason alone ,she deserves to be the rightful owner of the first ever made Niobium VC stem.
    A really tiny requital ,for all that she has offered to everyone of us .

    Thank you ,dear sister Squiby.

    Cheers.
     
  11. Diggy Smalls

    Diggy Smalls Notorious

    Messages:
    1,261
    Location:
    Land of Confusion
    @stardustsailor you're awesome, man. Squibs is really awesome and genius a lot of people out, and I'm glad to see her being gifted that stem!

    I still need to choose what kind of stem I want... Your skills continue to grow!
     
    Sketch420, DirtyD, Squiby and 3 others like this.
  12. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    A small update

    Niobium stems are available only at 45 mm and 62 mm lengths.
    Very small stock ,thus limited amount of stems/bodies also.

    =================================================

    Titanium stems are available at all three VC stem/body sizes :

    A 45 mm body fits : a standard OMNI system
    OR a standard SS condenser with a spin-mp.

    A 62 mm stem fits : an OMNI XL system
    OR a standard SS condenser without a spin-mp.
    OR an XL SS condenser with spin-mp.

    A 79 mm XL stem fits only an XL SS condenser without spin-mp.

    ===================================================

    Starting ( minimum ) Prices List :

    45 mm Ti : 20€ - for OMNI system : 25€
    45 mm Nb : 40€ - for OMNI system: 45€
    62 mm Ti : 30€ - for OMNI system: 35€
    62 mm Nb : 50€ - for OMNI system: 55€
    79 mm Ti : 40€

    Those are the minimum prices and are also the final prices of stems/bodies without
    any rings,bands or texture or carbhole
    ( except for the OMNI models,thus the xtra 5€ ),
    being also non-anodised and satin finished.
    Actual final price of a stem/body depends on quite a few things .
    The kind of texture ,the amount of textured surface ,the anodising,the finish,the number of rings and if textured/anodised ,number of any decorative grooves,
    special mouthpiece designs,a carb hole done,etc.

    ======================================================

    Those of you that are interested for OMNI stems or bodies ,
    please do specify the diameter of the carb hole
    ( 1 mm - 1.5 mm -2 mm - 2.5 mm -2.8 mm -3 mm ),
    as also do specify the distance ( in mm ) of the carbhole center
    from a specific stem/body end ( mp end or tip end ) .
    and if you wish for a finger recess or not .

    ========================================================
    Please do not be very " picky " about Titanium anodising hues.
    Titanium is a very difficult material to be anodised to a specific hue.
    Lots of factors are contributing to that phenomenon.
    [​IMG]
    ========================================================
    On the other hand you can be as picky as you like with Niobium anodising.
    Niobium is much more predictable metal to anodise ,than Titanium is.
    You can even specify the exact Volts of the hue you wish for ( up to 125 VDC = pink).
    See the pic below.
    [​IMG]
    =========================================================
    *For both the "hue vs VDC " charts :Each rod/ring is 1 VDC.
    *The more the volts ,the thicker the oxide layer,
    thus more resistant to discoloring from wear .



    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
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  13. Squiby

    Squiby Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,646
    I am sooo grateful to be chosen for the Nb stem! It is stunning and I will cherish it always. @stardustsailor your generosity has left me speechless and I cannot adequately express how thrilled I am. Maybe emocons can do it through an interpretive dance.... :) :D :p :o :nod: :clap: :love::love::love::love::love::bowdown:

    I have been mulling over the choices for a custom stem and have reread the thread. So many beautiful stems! To accompany my new gifted Nb stem I will order a hammered XL titanium stem. I think.... God! They're all so totally stunning!

    SDS...PM on its way....
     
  14. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    What an excellent choice ,dear Squiby !

    Titanium XL 79 mm stems are my favourite ones.
    Not only when making them (a lot of working surface ,able to decorated in endless ways ),
    but also for using them.

    In fact I use only those stems myself.
    They provide really cool vapor ,they are easy to roll/spin and awesome to hold.
    And they are not that heavy too. About 16 grams,as a complete unit .

    The carbless function on those stems is the cherry on top.
    If you once liked joints ,you going to adore the XL 79 mm carbless stem !

    Many that have tried those ,as complete units ,won't go back to anything else .

    Here are couple of pics of a79 mm XL Ti stem I'm currently working on.
    It features a rock textured band ,a hammered ring at the tip-end ,
    and on the other (mp) end a plain ring after the rock-textured band
    and then another hammered ring ,before the mp taper.

    Stem shown is not yet anodised.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
    paehtod, Prolusio, Summer and 4 others like this.
  15. DirtyD

    DirtyD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    360
    Location:
    Southeast us
    Told y all this guy is awesome
     
  16. wileycoyote1103

    wileycoyote1103 Active Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    Wow! I really like that color almost a turquoise.
     
  17. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    Anodised a batch of Ti 5th gen tips .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I reserve them ,to be sold as parts of "special edition " complete VC units ,
    with Titanium or Niobium stems.
    The VapCap rarities.
    :whoa:

    Click to play YouTube Video


    Anodising a batch of 5th generation VapCap Titanium Grade 2 tips.
    Gold then Magenta then Cobalt and lastly Green.
    Degreasing :
    Bath in saturated Sodium Hydroxide solution @ 70°C,for 10 minutes.
    Cathode :
    100 mm x 80 mm Titanium Grade 5 foil
    Electrolyte :
    5% w/v Ammonium Sulfate solution @ 4°C,pH buffered to 7,5-8 with Ammonium Bicarbonate.
    10 mg/lt Poloxamer 407 added as non-polar & non-foaming surfactant/wetting agent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  18. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    The progression of the stem ,from the post #215 :
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's not finished yet.
    The plain ring between the rock textured band and the hammered textured ring ,
    towards the mp end ,as also the mp are going to be mirror polished to natural Titanium luster finish.

    The hammered rings are going to stay as they are (hue: gold to pink gold ) .
    The rock textured band has a really amazing mix of hues.
    In real life if one inspects it closely ,golden shades apper amongst the green.
    Looked from a distance ,slight purple-magenta shades appear on the sides of stem's curvature.
    While the main hue is a deep ,almost electric ,magical green -but also slightly bluish -shade .
    The pics do not do justice.

    Don't ask how I achieved all these.
    Titanium is very unpredictable -and most of the times with amazing results-,
    especially when rough and random texturing is involved.
    By luck,would 've been the answer.

    Same goes with Niobium.
    When rough & random texturing ( like in Tree-Bark or Rock textures ) then
    different hues may appear making the stem amazing when rolled and/or hold at an angle to the
    incident light.Vibrant colored dots,stars,"pops",sparks,etc seem to " radiate " out of the stem.
    But in case of Niobium anodising to certain hue(s) is way more predictable and controlable ,than
    of Titanium.
     
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  19. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    George included these babies also, for me to have fun with :
    [​IMG]

    From left to right :

    1 ) A 62 mm faceted Ti stem with diamond carb
    .To be slightly deburred ,polished and then anodised.
    Most probably into green .

    2 ) 2x 45 mm faceted Ti bodies ,with diamond carb.
    To be slightly deburred ,polished and then anodised.
    Haven't decided yet in which hues.

    3 ) 2x 45 mm differently faceted Ti bodies.
    One with diamond carb ,the other has a small round carb.
    To be slightly deburred , maybe textured ,polished and then anodised.
    Haven't decided yet in which hues.

    4 ) 3x 45 mm faceted Ti bodies CARBLESS !
    To be slightly deburred,polished and then anodised.
    Haven't decided yet in which hues.

    Cheers.
     
    AtomicPB, paehtod, Prolusio and 4 others like this.
  20. wileycoyote1103

    wileycoyote1103 Active Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Colorado USA
  21. Squiby

    Squiby Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,646
    And an assistant. :rolleyes:
     
  22. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    Toady I 've been on a short bussiness trip.
    Been missing from home almost all day.
    And got really tired.
    And quite a few orders are waiting to be completed.
    But I've managed to finish couple of stems .

    One of them is the previously shown Titanium XL ...
    Finished .
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The other is a 62 mm Niobium stem .Also managed to finish that one ,too .

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm really tired .
    Have to get some sleep.
    Tomorrow is going to be a long day ...
    Grinding ,polishing and anodising aerospace ,semi-precious metals .
    Turning them into small jewels ,for the fellow VapCapers.
    :zzz:

    Be safe everybody.
     
    Paraiso, AtomicPB, Sketch420 and 12 others like this.
  23. wileycoyote1103

    wileycoyote1103 Active Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Colorado USA
    I'm very curious about these Ti vapcaps without condensers. Is that maybe like an OG?
     
  24. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    Never had an OG ,I can't really give an answer to that.
     
    Prolusio likes this.
  25. stardustsailor

    stardustsailor Well-Known Member Accessory Maker

    Messages:
    979
    Location:
    14-23-5-932-941
    Important announcement for Niobium stems.

    Today ,as I was working on a FC member's Niobium stem ,
    I managed -I was lucky enough- to avoid a serious injury ,at the last moment.

    This Niobium metal is very difficult to work with.
    I'm not used to quit on things ,just like that.
    Neither I lose my patience ,that easy.
    But this metal is making me really angry ,while working it.

    I can live with needing new tools every now and then .
    Because Niobium really eats up my tools.
    But I can't cope with 9 or 8 fingers.
    No.

    So,until I will acquire proper machinery for making Niobium stems ,
    no more Niobium stems, I'm afraid.

    This thing is more than a PITA .
    This metal is actually quite dangerous working with.

    No way.
    I'm really sorry for the bad news ,but those of you that wished for a Nb stem ,
    will have to respect the fact that I need all of my ten fingers,attached to my hands.

    Cheers.
     
    frosty234, v.bow, Phenix and 15 others like this.

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