Preprint number: CP3-Origins-2011-32 and DIAS-2011-24
We use integrable systems techniques to study the singularities of timelike non-minimal constant mean curvature (CMC) surfaces in the Lorentz-Minkowski 3-space. The singularities arise at the boundary of the Birkhoff big cell of the loop group involved. We examine the behaviour of the surfaces at the big cell boundary, generalize the definition of CMC surfaces to include those with finite, generic singularities, and show how to construct surfaces with prescribed singularities by solving a singular geometric Cauchy problem. The solution shows that the generic singularities of the generalized surfaces are cuspidal edges, swallowtails and cuspidal cross caps.