TiN coating at home

Hi everyone. So my background is a bit all over the place but looks like it'll come in handy. I did a fair amount of work on nuclear fusion and physics, everything from linear accelerators to reactors. Then a bunch of work on chemistry and am getting my degree in genetics as we speak. So with that all said what sparked my interest is the new TiN coated m31 magnets. They really are a work of art. They are however more expensive than would be feasible for what I have planned. I need a BUNCH of magnets, more than is reasonable to buy at 60 bucks a pop if you include shipping. SO as such I'm tinkering with a DIY solution to making magnets. PVD is a simple enough process, so simple in fact that the whole setup can be accomplished for less than the cost of a haworth magnet. All you need is a vacuum pump, chamber, a few magnets some pipe fittings and hoses and a few other bits here are there. The chamber can be made from a pickle jar if you feel like it but pyrex glass is ideal. The actual coating is done by a magnetron which is really just an electrode with 2 magnets in it and the metal you want to sputter on top. And for making a TiN coating the chamber is evacuated and then backfilled twice with nitrogen. As long a very very slow nitrogen flow is kept in the chamber this should produce a TiN coating on whatever you put in the way of the beam. SO I guess my question is, has anyone tried something like this other than the folks who made the m31s. And if not, I'll post some design plans for a simple cheap setup. Im going to be trying this out myself in the next month or so once the new lab is built. The only problems i can foresee is getting a nitrogen supply, the magnets getting too hot while coating and the magnets interfering with the stream of TiN being coated onto them. Thoughts?


  • Honestly? I think it's awesome man. If you can help me set one of these up I'd be very thankful. I've got the magnet thing handled, but SFM has a bunch of other projects in the works and being able to coat prototypes in the lab would be seriously more cost effective than what people have charged me for one offs in the past. Also it would allow us to perform coatings for other grinders projects.

    Of course, I should probably feel threatened or something and try to dissuade people. Ok, I'll give it a shot - one of the big reasons the m31 is going to be a tad pricey is the batch testing. In fact, cytotoxicity etc. is one of the major expenses. On one hand, I could see people ending up with issues because they can't perform these tests at home. The flip side though is you could just make a thicker layer of TiN. Like 10 passes or something if you wanted... I seriously doubt pinholing could  remain after a couple of passes. Go dude. You should seriously make a tutorial. Will this method can you perform cold PVD types of applications?
  • The heat was the big issue. Most sputtering is really hot. You can cool everything down by cooled electrodes and further distance from the discharge. It's a simple enough thing. the layer itself can be very very thick. after about 2 minutes the coating is thick enough that a good copper mirror would form if you were to use coper. after about a minute indium tin oxide is highly conductive. the coating doesn't take long honestly. so ya ten runs is easy and feasible. and you can use it to coat anything from glass to metal and with TiN thinner coatings tend to be the more uniform ones anyway as it tends to flake if it gets too thick. Realistically so long as you could source the materials you could do a batch of these , maybe 50 magnets at a time and share them around. But ya I understand testing would be expensive. my second thought then is what's the test? what makes it so expensive? and is it possible to do at home?
  • Quick answer? No.

    The biggest issues? Fluoroscope and cell lines.
  • I understand the cell lines since i just read into it a bit but whats the flouroscope for? also i take it there's no good stand in for the cell lines? no other culture that would work? and I guess you could always if you're going the diy route just go for it anyway. not like that hasn't been done before around here XD or go the illegal route and stick it in a mouse. but that'd be a terrible idea.
  • Honestly I have been looking in to this and the magnets are very cheap to buy in bulk and its not really that expensive to get things professionally coated in TiN. TiN coating is heavily used in the machining world to coat bits and such its really just a matter of finding a shop that you can prove will do a good job at it. you are not so much paying for the actual items when you are buying them you are paying for the cyano toxicity studies the R&D etc. as well and they put out a fantastic product I just got one of their RFID tags in the mail this morning and cant wait to get it installed this weekend. and I also have one of the magnets on order with them as well.  all that being said I working on developing some similar devices currently and hope to have them available in the next couple months I am focused on the development of a fully NFC compliant rfid tag at the moment and the design and testing was just finished it will be going in to production shortly. once I have that done I will work on magnets and then on to some of my more complicated ideas after that.  got some pretty cool stuff cooking up right now. 
  • Did some research on TiN coating magnets today. It is essentially impossible as an at home procedure. the production of the magnets has to be done under a vacuum because neodymium oxidized crazy fast and TiN is applied via physical vapor deposition which requires some serious equipment.  but I have found a company that will make custom TiN coated magnets if anyone wants any. 
  • ^false. I have high vacuum equipment and it's cheap and easy to get your hands on. physical vapour deposition isn't hard and i'll be building a setup to do it in the next few months. That said I may be a rare case but if i get it working ill be posting a video explaining every step of the process. That said, the coating company is interesting. what do they charge and how many magnets is the minimum? 
  • Seconded, vacuum equipment is easy to get. 

    Even if you send out for the company to do the coating, you do realize that coating with TiN is at temperatures that will turn your magnetic into a non functional little lump, right?
  • you are defiantly an oddity my friend :) I don't know many people who have vacuum equipment at their house but I was not actually speaking about the vacuum equipment being expensive. I am talking about a CNC machine that cuts in a vacuum because neo magnets have to be cnc'd down from blocks and immediately cleaned and coated before they are ever removed from vacuum or they will be ruined. 

    The company I found can produce the magnets and TiN coat them  so there is no need for an intermediary coating being applied to ship them out for coating. I requested a quote and such from them already and should hopefully have more info to answer your question tomorrow evening. 

    I am not terribly familiar with the PVD process but I'm fairly certain that it is somewhat similar to any dimer coating process and while the coating gets super heated very little of that heat is actually transferred to the components being coated. 

    I know Amal was able to get TiN coated magnet as N50 so it cant be that bad for the magnets because even if he started with N52's and they took some heat degradation its not that bad at N50.
  • that's the trick. everything is cooled. magnetron is cooled and so is the target. if you cool it faster than the plasma heats it, you're golden. At least in theory. I mean you seemed to have figured out a way to do it so I figured i'd try too. The company wouldn't bother cooling the target At least I can try that. Magnets are cheap so I'll have room to experiment. Im not trying to take business away from you, im just curious and wanna figure out how it works and make magnets at a higher volume for myself than what I can afford if I bought them. All of this is very similar to my reactor so it seems easy in principle. Hell I was tinkering with this same idea but instead of TiN coating I was trying to figure out semiconductors and micro chips at home. Same process. and if sputtering doesn't work there's plenty of other ways.
  • Also why could you not coat, the regular neo magnets? Why plated with nothing but TiN. The coating should keep everything sealed inside no? Sure it may be a couple microns thicker, maybe even a quarter milimeter but that shouldn't mak ea huge difference?
  • Yeah it shouldn't be to difficult if you have the correct machinery and such.  I'm not worried about you taking business away from me or anything. I am developing Bio-hacking products but I doubt they will ever really turn a substantial profit.  I am mainly going to be selling anything I design to fund bigger and better projects I have planned. I am mainly trying to make Bio-hacking more accessible to anyone looking to do it because right now there is not a lot of options a lot of the things you read getting to the good option are pretty dangerous. 

    The company I found is readily available on the Google with a bit of searching I just don't have the bookmark on my home computer and it took me like an hour to find them last time or I would have already given ya a link.  When I get to my work computer tomorrow I'll give ya the info for them. could save ya a bunch of effort.  its something alliance or something like that if you wanna try your luck with the google.  or search around for titanium nitride coated neodymium magnets plus or minus what ever relevant words you can think of. 

    The reason to coat in TiN only is because anything you coat the magnets in has certain properties as far as impact tolerance, heat tolerance, liquid permeation, etc.  also a big factor is the quality how well the coating adheres to the substrate.  if you use a low impact tolerance coating underneath and it starts to degrade under the TiN coating it will cause the TiN coating to fail. eliminating additional coatings means the specs on Tin coating are the specs on your magnet.  its just eliminating the addition of unnecessary points of failure.  
  • Which is a perfectly fair point but there should be no reason for the coating to fail. besides, its not like im just gonna go stick the thing in my hand. Im going to test the hell out of it to see how viable the at home method is. If it's a viable option it could mean that all biohackers could fairly cheaply make their own implants that have a better safer coating that something like silicon or teflon that is doable at home. Besides i'm going to try different under coats as well. That said, unless the TiN fails there should be no reason the under layer could even become a problem unless there was a problem during the coating phase. think about it. there's no air or liquids to interact with the lower coating. and again this is why you stress test it to see how much weaker an undercoat makes it.
  • I think the biggest issue with undercoatings is actually impact, depending on the coating of course, there's some good info on the super magnet mad site about here: http://www.supermagnetman.net/index.php?cPath=54

    he doesn't go over TiN coating specifically but does describe the process of creating a new magnet with a decent amount of depth. defiantly a good starting point for research on the topic. 

    I am currently testing a crap ton of magnets and coatings trying to find the best procedure. Heres a brief synopsis:

    Silicon: doesn't adhere to the magnet well and causes failure. 
    Perylene N:  better than silicon but has same issue and binds into the tissue making it hard to replace the magnet.
    Perylene C: same issues as N
    Perylene H: same issues as N and C but slightly better adhesion
    silver: performs worse than gold 
    Gold: Coating is very hit or miss on total encapsulation and fails quickly, decent as an undercoat to perylene.
    Gold + perylene N,C,H: eventually all fail under stress tests  but double coating works significantly better than either coating alone but adds to size and still is difficult to remove.
    Biosafe ceramic: too bulky, fails rapidly under impact
    teflon: kills the magnet
    Bioglass: too thick, magnet cant penetrate glass well, performs poorly under impact
    hydrophillic coating: yet to be tested
    nano hydrophobic coating: yet to be tested
    TiN: yet to be tested
    calcium phosphate: yet to be tested

    also I just found that companies site again I had it written in my spreadsheet for coating tests its AZind.com
  • Just called the company. They should get back to me with a quote. Seems like the minimum order is 50 bucks but they said they should be able to do the coating wtithout issue. I don't know how many magnets you get for the 50 bucks but i'll find out later today hopefully. Honestly, if they say anything more than 4-5 magnets for that price i'd be content. would just need to test them out and if they turn out to be good this could be a great solution for us.
  • @Osteth TiN has totally been tested. We tested it ourselves just a few months ago. The m31 magnets that are available on dangerous things are in TiN and received APP approval do to the testing that they received.

    An using the normal TiN process will kill the magnet. That was the whole reason Cassox and I developed a special process to get them coated without losing the magnet force.
  • I was kind of assuming that TiN was the best way to go because you and cassox seemed to have put a lot of time in to it.  This list is just what I have tested so for not a full community list.  Got any info on the bond with TiN?
  • Like how well does it attach to the surface of the magnet coat? It's TiN PVD. I scraped it off only by hitting it with a hammer. Literally.

  • ok, that's what I figured, you essentially have to compromise the magnet in order to remove the coating. 
  • So I just got off the phone with the azind guys and their sending em a quote in the next half hour, but one thing they mentioned was that the magnets are remagnetized after coating to make sure they are up to the rating that i was quoted. Thoughts? is this a thing? would that fix the frying from the coating process?
  • Just so y'alls know, we are finishing up the paperwork and writeups for getting our process to be under Open Source Hardware (OSHW) so anyone is totally able to try this process out their selves and we will break down how it is done.

    That being said, please make sure that you properly test all devices before using them. If you do not have the ability to test for cytotoxicity, fouling, and surface verification via microscope and gas (yes! new test developed to see if coatings are legit), then please send a sample of your work to us and we will make sure that everything is safe.
  • When do you think that will be released? Im anxious to dig into it and tinker!
  • edited August 2014
    next couple of days or so

    EDIT!!! just to be fair to the people who have put in all the work and the preorder people, Dangerous Things has suggested that we wait till the end of the month, just for testing and shipping.
  • Ok, so I'm totally down with sharing all info etc. as much as I am able here. One caveat regarding PVD though that I'd like to share... know your vendor and test his stuff. TiN is great but the PVD process is known to have pin holing issues. I might be overestimating this as an issue. In fact, DrJaaz since this seems to be something your familiar with I'd love some commentary regarding this. I have one "vendor" that i feel gave substandard results. I originally wrote off TiN because of this in favor of another coating. The other coating fell through and the second set of TiN I had produced ended having fantastic fantastic results so I went with that. You can have multiple coatings applied but past a certain thickness it's counterproductive.
  • Multiple coats only really help to a point and it's not so much the number of times you coat it so much as the length of time you coat it for, longer coating times mean thicker layers. Also in theory the longer you're coating for the more TiN would be accessible in the coating chamber and better layers would be produced later in the process. So ideally if you waited a bit for the reaction to get going before exposing the magnets it would be better. It honestly is just a matter of how the vendor is doing the coating. If they aren't using sputtering then they're either using cathodic arc or MAYBE evaporative deposition. Honestly I feel like sputtering would give the best most even results just knowing the procudure. Cathodic arc would be more scketchy and could give wonky results. If they use evaporative which I doubt simply due to the insane melting and boiling points of titanium and the need to react it with nitrogen, then you'd get very shotty results unless you somehow managed to directly evaporate the TiN instead of pure Ti. Like I said before thicker layers aren't actually better. Based on the structure of TiN for whatever reason thinner layers tend to work better as thicker layers tend to become weak and flakey so its sort of a matter of trial and error to find the best. to thin and you get pinholes too thick and you get flakes.
  • Also just got the quote from azind.com. It's $166 for 100 magnets at 1.66 a piece. that said they're gonna get back to me with a quote for 25 and 50 pieces. What i'd like to do is order 25 pieces and send a few to you guys to get them tested and see what kind of abuse they an take. If they're up to snuff as it is it could make for a good source of magnets if you needed a shitload for some complex project.
  • Also ask them about the maximum temperature. A big issue with neodymium is that one you get much above the curie temperature, it doesn't simply lose its magnetic properties... structural changes occur which prevent any remagnetization at all.
  • That was always my big problem. You end up getting back something that even after remagnetization won't even hold it's own weight on a fridge. Of course I can't yet be specific until I understand how and to what extent Amal and Glims are releasing information, but I could write a book about what won't work and what not to do.
  • Honestly I'm not sure why the TiN process would destroy them. I saw one video of a guy using tape to hold his sample in the beam to be coated. Within reason the tape should have burned if it was so hot which it didn't seem to be. I just don't think there's enough bombardment happening. That said I'll ask regardless and see what they say. Regardless im curious to see your method to see what makes it so different because i'm probably missing something.
  • That brings up something I'm wondering. How do you secure the magnet in the equipment without preventing the parts contacting the securing mechanism from being coated? 
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