Beryllium Metal Cube 99.9%


Beryllium Metal Cube 99.9%


Sometimes the story behind the subject is more interesting than the subject itself. These beryllium cubes are a good example.

In early 2017 we began commissioning a seemingly simple project. Turn the grid of a periodic table into a real-life showcase with each cell occupied not by text, or even a picture of what that text represented, but by actual samples of the elements. And to remain true to the format let's make them cubes so they can be arranged in the same manner, shoulder to shoulder, that one can easily compare the visual and tactile differences between them.

Liquids and gases are out of the running, of course, but all the non-radioactive metals should be doable, in theory. Cesium is a metal but it's softer than wax so it can't hold a shape. Thallium can be made but nobody wants to make one and we don't want to sell it anyway; knowing that touching it can literally make you deathly sick. There are many exceptions like that but, by our count, some 58 out of the 92 that are traditionally referred to as "naturally occurring" can be turned into this solid cubic form.

Of that theoretical 58 the greater part pose little challenge to experienced metalsmiths. We found that the same manufacturers who make brass door hinges can just as easily use pure copper to make cubes, the most basic of three dimensional shapes. An auto parts manufacturer has access to nickel, iron, titanium and so on as well as the equipment to make cubes of those materials. Not surprisingly those easy metals proved to be the first cubes we carried a few months ago. Then things got progressively more... interesting.

To make a long story short, beryllium has come very late in our lineup for a number of reasons. We contacted some 30 manufacturers who had experience with this rare metal only to be disappointed time and again. Where there was interest there was typically the expectation that we would place an order on the scale of a Walmart. In other cases an initial deposit was cheerfully accepted only for weeks to drag on to months until finally only a sheepish apology and refund was provided. One of our last promising leads gave up after two months telling us, dryly, that an expensive piece tool had been completely ruined in the effort. Wooops.

A sole manufacturer was dogged enough to keep trying. Luckily, they were as persistent as we were. Their initial efforts were crude, with a poor level of polish and loose tolerances. But they kept at it thanks to a technician who enjoyed the challenge. And, finally, nearly three months after our company began discussions with them they delivered these absolutely stunning GEMS, for there really is no other appropriate adjective with which to describe them!

Beryllium, getting back to the subject as opposed to the story behind the subject, is an exotic and expensive metal that is very difficult to refine. It is also technically challenging to machine it into shapes because it tends to wreck normal steel tools and the powdered bits of metal that result from such machining is poisonous.

Unfortunately, it appears the manufacturer that made these gorgeous cubes can't afford the manpower necessary in producing more of them. Our initial batch is therefore a one-off and while we hope we can talk them out of it with wheelbarrows full of cash at the moment all we have are these "prototype" ones they sent. So, truly, if you can afford one get your order in while you can.

Each perfectly made, mirror polished pure beryllium density cube weighs 1.80±0.03g. Satisfaction absolutely guaranteed!

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