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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I did a bit of searching on the forums for anything possibly related to Titanium Nitride, Nitride (no results), or just Titanium (too many wrong results), and pretty well got bubkis. So I was wondering if anyone has ever done Titanium Nitride (TiN) coating on bike parts? And I was wondering if TiN coating my exhaust pipes (SLK Atomics) against my silver/chrome fury might give it a pleasing pop of color?

TiN is used in several different applications for aesthetics, abrasion resistance, and used in things like cutting tools, medical equipment, and is inert in all aspects. It has a melting point of 5300*F, and a deposition temp of 700*F, and only adds about .0002" of thickness to the metal. They use it in decorative firearms to give them a beautiful golden appearance that shines brightly and has depth similar to chrome (when polished correctly).

It has a ~2500HV (Vickers Hardness rating), which, put into perspective, carbon steel is ~55-120HV, and stainless steel is ~140-180HV.
So if you're thinking it might be brittle due to such a high hardness rating,... you'd be wrong.
They use this coating on stamping equipment to increase longevity of the tooling, and reduce the need for cleaning as often.

Remember, this is TiN, the chemical name for Titanium Nitride; not tin (Sn), the stuff used to make cans. Lol. :wink:
 

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Okay, so I did a bit of searching on the forums for anything possibly related to Titanium Nitride, Nitride (no results), or just Titanium (too many wrong results), and pretty well got bubkis. So I was wondering if anyone has ever done Titanium Nitride (TiN) coating on bike parts? And I was wondering if TiN coating my exhaust pipes (SLK Atomics) against my silver/chrome fury might give it a pleasing pop of color?

TiN is used in several different applications for aesthetics, abrasion resistance, and used in things like cutting tools, medical equipment, and is inert in all aspects. It has a melting point of 5300*F, and a deposition temp of 700*F, and only adds about .0002" of thickness to the metal. They use it in decorative firearms to give them a beautiful golden appearance that shines brightly and has depth similar to chrome (when polished correctly).

It has a ~2500HV (Vickers Hardness rating), which, put into perspective, carbon steel is ~55-120HV, and stainless steel is ~140-180HV.
So if you're thinking it might be brittle due to such a high hardness rating,... you'd be wrong.
They use this coating on stamping equipment to increase longevity of the tooling, and reduce the need for cleaning as often.

Remember, this is TiN, the chemical name for Titanium Nitride; not tin (Sn), the stuff used to make cans. Lol. :wink:
Never done them on MC parts but a few of the parts on my DH bike are TiN coated. Excellent wear resistance, but it is only resistance. If your pant leg or something rubs on the exhaust a lot it would eventually wear it away. In an application for exhausts though I think it would be fine as far as wear.

It's not going to melt, but I'd be concerned about it discoloring quickly. A cheap test would be to buy a TiN mountain bike chain and take the torch to it and see what happens.

Below is a TiN chain that was on my old DH rig. I got a new one so this one has been turned into wrist hardware. Along with a couple seasons of abuse on a DH drivetrain seeing all sorts of weather conditions, mud, sand, rocks, casette teeth, etc, it's been on my wrist for 6 months and doesn't come off. It gets beat to piss especially when I'm working on my vehicles. The links are still shiny, not as good as day 1, but the coating has worn off the pins and the small rollers:



The adhesion and longevity, as well as resistance to wearing off will be a direct result of the prep of your pipes. So that needs to be taken into consideration. It's just like paint...prep is key, so don't skimp on that if you want it to last.

Like I mentioned, I'd be more worried about the color not staying uniform but you could easily test that at home
 
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That's an interesting question, requiring a rather detailed answer. Titanium pipes are a dull metallic color and have to be 100% cleaned after installation or the oil from any sort of fingerprint (think CSI fingerprint, not visible fingerprint) will burn in and become permanently visible. However, they're beautiful because they change color with every heat cycle and have a rainbow effect that's not at all 'gay.' I had them on one of my Slingshots and they're just gorgeous--a somewhat dull gorgeous, but they're damn sexy. The trick is to start with thick pipes so they don't crack over time due to the stresses of heat cycling, which means they're somewhat spendy to begin with.

Titanium Nitride takes this to the next level and is supermodel gorgeous--but, you're gonna pay for it (like a supermodel). The best way I've found to do it is start with heavy titanium pipes fabricated by an experienced welder and gently grind any remaining tiny imperfections to perfection, and I mean anything--they need to be perfect, no exception, no oversights. Then polish them mechanically so they're perfectly smooth and have a mirror finish. Send them to the best chrome plater you can find, because you want to set up a hard shiny metallic base that won't flake off. You might be able to nickle coat them, I don't know for sure, which would give a slightly different final depth of appearance to them. The thing you do have to watch for is chrome plating is usually in tensile stress and TiN in compressive stress, so if either are too high the titanium nitride will not adhere well. After the hard coating have them titanium nitride coated with your choice of tint: gray, yellow, golden, green, blue, or none (this is done by varying the argon and nitrogen gas partial pressures); if the furnace temperature is tightly controlled during the Physical Vapor Deposition the coater can also develop a red tint. Gold is the easiest as that's the color TiN takes on at a normal deposit thickness, with thinner coatings resulting in color variations but more chance of color variance. With that, note TiN PVD is porous, and the thinner the coating the more chance there is of corrosion (gold is the thickest coating and due to the structure has the best corrosion resistance). There's an exception to this: multiple thin coatings. A thin layer of TiN followed by exposure to oxygen forms a passive film of titanium dioxide (TiO2) that fills the pores and pinholes and aids in adhesion of additional layers (adding additional thin layers furthers this benefit). The result of multiple thin coatings will be a layered final coating that is less porous than a singular tick layer of TiN, but still subject to galvanic corrosion. Galvanic corrosion stems from electron conduction between dissimilar metals; while TiN coatings themselves are fairly stable, the introduction of moisture and foreign materials is of grave concern. As such, finish sealing of the TiN coating is advisable, although also potentially problematic as the sealant must not adversely affect the coating nor be adversely affected by heat within the temperature range of the exhaust. As such, TiN is more suitable to collector bikes that aren't exposed to adverse environments.

With heat cycling the TiN coating will develop that ever-changing rainbow effect. There's no real comparison to the appearance, and in my opinion it is the ultimate in perfection, second to none.

Price...everyone wants to know price. It's dependent on what you want and who does it, figure between $2K and $10K, with more experienced shops that charge more per hour being far less expensive in the end. It's an investment, the more you put into the process the longer the result will last.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dude, like, no lie... if I could get that sexy golden color with that heat-treated rainbow effect down the length of my VERY short pipes... I'd probably cream myself. I think those pipes would be absolutely b*tchin'! Now, If I were to go about the whole entire process that you described, and wanted a glass- or mirror-like finish, I still don't think it'd cost 10 thousand greenbacks. I've been in touch with TiNcoat.net, who usually does like factory tool coatings (think super high abrasion applications) and other stuff ranging from small to big jobs, and do so at what I'm hoping will be a fairly reasonable price point (waiting on them to get back with me). They advertise their TiN coating at something like $2 -5 per hand tool, so I think a medium sized object like the exhaust pipes, 3' x 2' x 8", might not be such a big hassle.

But DUDE!!! (@WIHedgehog) They have got this serious abrasion protection film they call Alpha, which is ZrN multilayered, that has this cool, kinda shiny FDE look to it. It last 4x longer than TiN, but is crazy expensive. I can't wait to hear back from 'em and have my dreams shot down and shattered. Lol.
 

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When you get the rainbow of colors and make yourself sticky @Rammerator, I think this is one time "pix or it didn't happen" doesn't apply...

Regarding price, you should be at the low end of the scale; I had added up the cost starting with buying titanium pipes, and looking at total project outlay it's hard to come in under $2000 given the steps necessary for the result desired. The high end of that figure is with custom one-off pipes (we've seen crazy pipes here from one of the builders) and all the steps to get to a consistent bike show winner--people spend insane amounts of money on these bikes, and at some point every detail gets compared--maybe look at some of the Fury Of The Month winners from 2010, they're some of the most incredible bikes around.

You might want to seriously look at longevity of the finish instead of abrasion resistance. Normally TiN coatings are used in industrial applications where the life expectancy is in machine cycles based on wear, which isn't applicable in this situation: your pants leg isn't gouging to cause huge amounts of surface wear, and TiN coating isn't going to protect your bike if it skids across the pavement. The multilayer TiN is exactly the type of "crazy expensive" I was talking about so your investment lasts--imagine if in 5 years all that work looked like shit because of corrosion (I'd be sick to my stomach). The Fury Of The Month winners from 2010 & 2011 poured a ton of cash and time into banging out custom bikes, whereas most of us make it a 5-year project when time and money allows, so it would suck if the pipes went bad while still building the dream bike. The price isn't that bad, you already banked $10K or more by not buying a Harley, plus Hondas run nearly forever so you won't be drowning in repair costs/labor.

Keep us posted on your progress!


:toast:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay, so I talked to TiNcoats.net, and they said that they were concerned the temp of the pipes might cause discoloration, but when i talked to TitaniumGuns.com they said heat wasn't a problem, unless it got up to like 700*F, and then you would just notice the pipes/gun turn a slight dark golden color towards where the hottest temp begins and then fade out to shiny gold as the pipes/barrel cool. So TiN will NOT rainbow out like traditional Titanium or like Aluminium Titanium Nitride (AlTiN); but also, my pipes are coated with Ceracote, so they would have to be sanded and cleaned down to bare metal to get rid of any of the ceramic coating, as TiN or AlTiN will not adhere to ceramic coatings. And then yes, @WI_Hedgehog, you would be correct, TiN does not protect against corrosion, so any air or moisture trapped on the metal before coating would continue to cause it to corrode which would show under the coating, and most places recommend applying some sort of protective coat (such as chrome) to present a shiny-er appearance. Ti Guns said they would be unable to do it due to their largest vat is only 2' x 2', but recommended me to a separate coater, but also dissuaded me from further pursuing this as the Ceracote basically negates my efforts. But I still think it would pretty dope.
 

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Exhaust gas temperatures are probably 300F at idle to 800F under load, depending on the pipe diameter and bends. It'll discolor unless you double-wall the pipes, but the discoloration is what you're after anyway...

For the money TiN is going to run you, you're probably better off selling those pipes and getting new stainless or titanium pipes and not TiN coating them, rather cleaning the heck out of them before installation, using gloves during installation, then cleaning the snot out of them after installation, then firing it up. (The line of thinking is if you're unwilling to sell your current pipes and start with clean titanium pipes--which is what you'd want to do, you're probably not willing to invest in the whole TiN process as it's a total pain-in-the-ass, which is why you rarely see it done.)

Almost nothing sticks to cured Cerakote, not even Cerakote itself. I'd suggest not sanding it off as you'll thin out the pipe wall and it's a lot of work. As much as you don't want to do this at the current time, down the road you'll learn the best option is to [would have been] sell the pipes to someone who wants ceramic coated pipes and start from scratch. Your time and materials are worth something, invest wisely--do the project the way you want it done, but start by getting new pipes fabricated the way you want them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Exhaust gas temperatures are probably 300F at idle to 800F under load, depending on the pipe diameter and bends. It'll discolor unless you double-wall the pipes, but the discoloration is what you're after anyway...
Correct, which is what the purpose of this thread was to find. Was had it been done, could it be done, and what would be the projected cost.

The line of thinking is if you're unwilling to sell your current pipes and start with clean titanium pipes--which is what you'd want to do, you're probably not willing to invest in the whole TiN process as it's a total pain-in-the-ass, which is why you rarely see it done.)
Not necessarily that I'd be unwilling, just not ready to go that route if I don't have to, bc I REALLY like my pipes; and trying to get 'em duplicated in Ti would just be double-work. Also, from what I understand from talking with these companies, it's not all that difficult, or crazy expensive, just outside their normal requests; but also the Cerakote prevents me from doing that anyways.
So it is just spinnin' wheels & sittin' still at this point.

Almost nothing sticks to cured Cerakote, not even Cerakote itself. I'd suggest not sanding it off as you'll thin out the pipe wall and it's a lot of work. As much as you don't want to do this at the current time, down the road you'll learn the best option is to [would have been] sell the pipes to someone who wants ceramic coated pipes and start from scratch. Your time and materials are worth something, invest wisely--do the project the way you want it done, but start by getting new pipes fabricated the way you want them.
Sanding isn't all that difficult when you have access to a bead-blaster. >:). And a lil elbow grease never hurt nobody.:wink:
And while I would have liked this to have been a viable option or maybe seen some pictures of someone who'd already done it, this was pretty much a thought-exercise to see the extent of the viability / feasibility of such an "undertanking". Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
.... and trying to get 'em duplicated in Ti would just be double-work.
Although.......... (sh*t.... the gears are turning again.... oh f*ck)

hmmmmm........ (once more down the rabbit hole we go again)

I DO have the original factory pipes which ARE chromed....

and I COULD just hack those to look how I want and TiN those....


Ready, set, go! Lol.
 

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Although.......... (sh*t.... the gears are turning again.... oh f*ck)

hmmmmm........ (once more down the rabbit hole we go again)

I DO have the original factory pipes which ARE chromed....

and I COULD just hack those to look how I want and TiN those....


Ready, set, go! Lol.
Are you just trying to get a Gold Color? In ceramic I have Flat gold and flat Bronze
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Slikk83, not per-se just a gold color. I'm more imagining something like either the blueing effect you get on Titanium pipes, or this one guy at RoT Rally had (...i think?), where his exhaust was gold and wicked looking as it snaked around different parts of the bike as it exited near the wheel. My brain is weird; I can mostly remember the exhaust, but I can't remember exactly when or where i saw it. I don't know if his was TiN or ceramic, bc I wasn't able to get a close enough look, but it was definitely awesome. And after seeing the TiN'ing process they do for "golding" guns, and the high gloss shine that goes with it, I figured it was probably what that guy did to his pipes; which is the idea that sparked this inquiry.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Atomics you made for me. That shape is exactly what I wanted. But when it was at the shop recently for repairs, they left the bike outside for a prolonged period of time when we were having these horrendous rains for 2 months straight (which NEVER happens here) and the tops of the pipes are now slightly pitted and showing surface rust. Which, I thought about painting with enamel, but that would also trap the heat, making it really hot against my leg, and defeating the purpose of the ceramic.
 

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@Slikk83, not per-se just a gold color. I'm more imagining something like either the blueing effect you get on Titanium pipes, or this one guy at RoT Rally had (...i think?), where his exhaust was gold and wicked looking as it snaked around different parts of the bike as it exited near the wheel. My brain is weird; I can mostly remember the exhaust, but I can't remember exactly when or where i saw it. I don't know if his was TiN or ceramic, bc I wasn't able to get a close enough look, but it was definitely awesome. And after seeing the TiN'ing process they do for "golding" guns, and the high gloss shine that goes with it, I figured it was probably what that guy did to his pipes; which is the idea that sparked this inquiry.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Atomics you made for me. That shape is exactly what I wanted. But when it was at the shop recently for repairs, they left the bike outside for a prolonged period of time when we were having these horrendous rains for 2 months straight (which NEVER happens here) and the tops of the pipes are now slightly pitted and showing surface rust. Which, I thought about painting with enamel, but that would also trap the heat, making it really hot against my leg, and defeating the purpose of the ceramic.
Are you talking like the one on my bike? Send me an email. [email protected] We can talk about re coating them

 
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