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Old 07-09-2009, 11:35 PM   #1
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Default Titanium chassis?

Something struck me earlier today as I was working on my buggy: why are there no titanium chassis plates? At first I thought that maybe it would be cost-prohibitive, but then, not nearly so as a carbon-fiber piece, which requires far more labor to produce.

I realize that titanium is somewhat heavier than aluminium, but it also has a far greater strength-to-weight ratio, and so my thinking is that a conventional 3mm thick chassis in aluminium could be made out of 2mm titanium, retain the same mechanical properties of its aluminium counterpart, but probably shave off an ounce or two in the process, and possibly be more durable as well.

I'd be curious to hear what the metallurgical experts among you have to say about this idea. Is this merely foley on my part, or is this an idea with a modicum of merit?
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:45 PM   #2
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Although titanium is stronger, it doesn't flex like aluminum so over the course of time it will stress harden and become more prone to cracking. For on road, I'd run titanium if it was an option, but for off road where the chassis flex in one of the tuning options, I'd rather run a high grade aluminum chassis instead. Have to admit to that running a on road titanium chassis at night is pretty cool when you are flying and hit the brakes and see sparks fly!
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:33 AM   #3
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Hi gotspeed.

Are you sure that titanium doesn't flex? I've seen these Lens Crafters titanium glass frames that could be bent into pretzels repeatedly and they would just spring back to their original shape like they were rubber. Like any other metal, titanium can be alloyed to acheive desired characteristics, and I'm pretty sure that there is already an alloy out there that would fit the bill. Just look at how many different variants of steel there are; each with its own particular purpose.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:56 AM   #4
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actually gotspeed you are incorrect. Titanium has more flex that alum. There are a ton of tests out there about this very same topic and go into more detail on the types of alum t-4 vs t-6, various alloys of ti, and even comparisons with 4130 cromoly as well as ox platinum heat treated alloy. I have some experience in this as it was a huge topic in BMX for years.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:01 AM   #5
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There is a company called FlexTek who makes titanium suspension arms for MT's. Just like titanium glasses frames, they flex and spring back rather than bend. They have a really odd design and they are very thin and light but very strong, flexible but of course not as flexible as titanium glasses frames. It would be cool to have a titanium chassis, but it would probably be very expensive, even a set of those FlexTek arms is upwards of $200 I believe. Aluminum has been used for a very long time for RC chassis, its tried and trued, works great and its strong and light. Unless the price of titanium goes down, aluminum will still remain the #1 choice for RC chassis.
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:05 AM   #6
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I'm running a BCE chassis right now and if they where
to make one I would buy one in a hart beat hopefully one
of them will chime in on this with the pros and cons of a
titanium chassis
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Old 07-10-2009, 09:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motox450 View Post
actually gotspeed you are incorrect. Titanium has more flex that alum. There are a ton of tests out there about this very same topic and go into more detail on the types of alum t-4 vs t-6, various alloys of ti, and even comparisons with 4130 cromoly as well as ox platinum heat treated alloy. I have some experience in this as it was a huge topic in BMX for years.
Sorry bro got to disagree with ya on this one - Titanium does not flex much at all when thick - your talkin about a 4-5mm thich chassis, alum will out flex it. I build large super computers and computer componets that has moving parts. Our original design used 7000 grade alum - and the robots kept bending the plates use to hold it. We swapped to titanium and the problem was solved. it does not flex as much which keeps everything inline.

When comparing - you have to to account of the shape in which is used. here we are talking about flat surfaces that needs to flex in all directions, whereas bikes uses tubes, you have to look at thickness - the glasses are very thin, I wear them. I have also seen bkies being custom made - my neighbor build them for us olympic team members out of his house. the Titanium tubes are not as thick as a chassis to a truggy.

i think you cant compare each with the flex factor to those items of different shape and sizes
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by token View Post
Sorry bro got to disagree with ya on this one - Titanium does not flex much at all when thick - your talkin about a 4-5mm thich chassis, alum will out flex it. I build large super computers and computer componets that has moving parts. Our original design used 7000 grade alum - and the robots kept bending the plates use to hold it. We swapped to titanium and the problem was solved. it does not flex as much which keeps everything inline.

When comparing - you have to to account of the shape in which is used. here we are talking about flat surfaces that needs to flex in all directions, whereas bikes uses tubes, you have to look at thickness - the glasses are very thin, I wear them. I have also seen bkies being custom made - my neighbor build them for us olympic team members out of his house. the Titanium tubes are not as thick as a chassis to a truggy.

i think you cant compare each with the flex factor to those items of different shape and sizes
You are correct that they all have different factors. Here is a good info page to different tubing types and properties of each.

ww.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html add a w in front and cut and paste

All material types will flex similar with different amounts of material. It depends on grade of material and alloy content. The benifit to Ti is that it can be made to be more flexible with less material, and less weight than steel or alum.

Last edited by motox450; 07-10-2009 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by token View Post
Titanium does not flex much at all when thick - your talkin about a 4-5mm thich chassis, alum will out flex it.

When comparing - you have to to account of the shape in which is used. here we are talking about flat surfaces that needs to flex in all directions
I think you kinda missed the point. Obviously, one must compare apples to apples, and a 3mm thick sheet of titanium will be far more rigid than a 3mm thick sheet of aluminium, which is why in my initial post I has suggested using a thickness of Ti that would offer similar or better flex characteristics than its aluminium counterpart. The goal being that the thinner chassis would also offer a weight savings, and probably also a $$ savings as well.

Yes, I realize that Ti is expensive, but I doubt it's costlier than carbon fiber. Also, Ti has far greater resistance to abrasion than both carbon and aluminium, so I'm wondering if a chassis made of Ti couldn't perhaps go 2 seasons before needing a replacement. If that were the case, then if you consider that a regular aluminium chassis costs $80 and needs to replaces after every full season of racing, then even if the same Ti parts costs $160, you aren't really paying more.

Frankly, I think that the biggest impediment to a Ti chassis would probably be ROAR/IFMAR regulation and a general lack of immagination. I remember how people scoffed and ridiculed the idea of carbon fiber chassis on nitro buggies; many of the same "can't be done" arguments I'm hearing in this thread... And yet the Matrix Concepts *ight chassis are still going strong.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #10
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CF with a kevlar layer?
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:56 AM   #11
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Captain you are exactly correct. Ti would be a great chassis material, and would allow less material to be used, and could be milled to get the flex where ever the designers would want it. Just as all manufactures are milling alum now. I think its not in use due to cost constraints. Ti is far more expensive than what Alum is. And with buggies and truggies getting more expensive using Ti really isn't the best option. Especially when alum works very well and is far more cost efficient.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:57 AM   #12
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With bikes Ti rides smoother than Aluminum because it flexes more...
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:05 PM   #13
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I could see titanium working for a chassis and shock towers. I had a quite a few titanium parts when I raced BMX in the 80s & 90s. There was a company called Titan that exclusively made titanium bmx frames for younger racers. Their frames where never strong enough though to withstand the forces of a larger expert or pro-level rider though (case one set of 25-30 foot doubles and that frame is history). Aluminum worked pretty well though for larger riders.

However, I can see it working with an RC car. I am sure with the proper braces it would be feasible. Probably cost double what aluminum chassis would run though.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spawn_x View Post
CF with a kevlar layer?


Been there...Done that....did a 3.25mm sheet for doing savage chassis.
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Old 07-11-2009, 10:14 AM   #15
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One more thing about titanium is that it is harder for manufacturers to work with it. Hardcore racing used to make some awesome parts for vehicles and their work was just plain awesome. When you aim to make the chassis more flexible by cutting out sections of the chassis for it to flex, you also raise the cost to manufacture the item. A few years ago, they had a chassis for the NTC3 when it came out. First a solid chassis, then a milled version. Being that I loved titanium I bought the milled one for over 125 from my lhs. It served me well, but then other companies started making some aluminum ones milled out for less than half the cost of the titanium one and imo it started to cut into hardcore's business a bit. Racers always find a balance as to what they buy. Some will buy the more expensive equipment, other will find other options that are less expensive. Both can be competitive, so the higher costs are sometimes hard to justify and support.
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