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replicating the appearance of stainless steel on brass

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Hi everyone,


the yacht model I'm building would have mainly stainless steel fittings. Can anyone recommend a way of replicating the pale grey finish of SS on a brass part? I know that SS is really a silver, but at a distance - & especially on a used boat - it tends to look more grey than shiny silver.



Any thoughts?



thanks, Mark

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That's what I do, if I want to have brass parts look like steel, but rather use a 'self-tinning' solution. This are solutions that precipitate a very thin layer of tin onto the brass. Some model-suppliers sell such solutions. The surface has to be chemically clean, so degreasing (e.g. with acetone) and possibly pickling in acid are needed.


In fact, if a brass part does not have to look like brass and forms a component of something that is going to be soldered together, I always tin the part before - it makes soldering a lot easier.

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Take your pieces to a jeweler that refinishes old watch cases, they have the needed cleaning and polishing setups for different metals. To chrome I think it involves polishing, nickle plating and finally chroming with neutralizing baths and re cleaning before each new step. My uncle used to replate old time watch cases for people using gold, silver, brass, nickle or chrome, he had thousands of dollars invested in beakers, power supplies, chemical cleaners, anodes, solutions with silver, nickle and gold suspensions plus his cleaning acids, neutralizers and polishing set ups. You could probabley do a little reading and try it yourself, using a stainless steel fork as a sacrificial anode, a solution in a glass container the would pass the low voltage and low amperage from a DC power supply. They say it is the polishing, cleaning and time that really counts, electrolysis is easy to create, just dissimilar metals in contact will do it.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Mark is there a particular reason why you could not use a silver coloured metal like stainless steel perhaps, I only ask because I have seen the KS Engineering rack full of all sorts of stainless sections and of various sheet thicknesses, admittedly not as easy to work with as brass but authentic.



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I use the same stuff wefalck spoke of. The brand name is called "liquid tin" and is meant to tin the copper of printed circuit boards. Dip the brass in this stuff and it looks very much like stainless steel or chrome if you shine it up.



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