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Brass Pickle solution?

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  • Brass Pickle solution?

    I have a brass assembly that I'm attempting to electroless nickel by way of a homebrew kit. The brass bit is made of of several smaller pieces soldered together, and presents something of a major challenge to try and clean manually with rags and polish (especially internally.)

    The E-Nickel how-to states clearly that the brass needs to be sparkling clean; any tarnish or smut reduces the ability of the nickel to stick and thus could lead to peeling.

    The part I have is pretty well tarnished- not actually corroded, but definitely smutty and covered in dark spots and fingerprints.

    Is there an easy homebrew solution I could soak this thing in to get the tarnish off? I can do the outside manually, if need be, but I'm worried about the internal passages, and inside threaded holes, etc.

    I've heard of vinegar and salt, but most of what I've read says that's something to be wiped on with a rag, not as a "bright dip".

    Any suggestions?

    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Try this. YMMV.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


    • #3
      ammonia cleans brass too. Luquid ammonia with some other detergents is a popular cleaner for the clock trade, although there are some who would rather not use it for various reasons, but it can do a nice job.


      • #4
        Sulphuric acid is the pickle of choice, but it does leave the red residue. This can usually be brushed off. The hydrogen peroxide system is interesting, and certainly worth a try.
        With any pickling operation, the clean metal will start to oxidize immediately, and should be placed in the treating solution ASAP.
        Jim H.


        • #5
          Try table salt and lemon juice for a non-toxic brew that really cleans brass and copper! Use Kosher (coarse) salt as an abrasive in a lemon juice slurry. Rub all over with a cloth. This stuff won't take away any metal and it works great. You may want to add just a small touch of soap if you're concerned with oil contamination. Good luck!


          • #6
            The material to use is Sparex no 2. This is a buffered acid mix and is the standard material to use in jewelery making and small metal sculpture/metalsmithing.

            Use for non-ferrous material, and don't get any iron in it.

            Soak in the heated solution and it will be pickeled clean.

            Link to one supplier: 3lb can is $8 or so.



            • #7
              What's wrong with using Brasso? That stuff works wonders with Army insignia brass. Wipe on, ..wipe off.
              Oops, I reread the original post.., you're looking for a dip. Well, maybe use Brasso first, then soak to remove the Brasso from the crevices, holes, etc.

              [This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 12-01-2003).]
              Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


              • #8
                Here's another one.

                Put the part in an exposed aluminum pot (or put some aluminum foil in a non-iron pan if you don't have an aluminum pot)with distilled water, salt and sodium bicarbonate. Boil. The oxidation will migrate from the copper to the aluminum leaving clean, sound metal behind. Works like magic!


                • #9
                  Try some C.L.R. form local hardware store,
                  is what a lot of reloaders use to clean their brass cartriges inside and out, rinse in warm water after.


                  • #10
                    To do E Nickel,the part must be spotless and warm.
                    In Industry, they electro clean it first, then dip in distilled (De-Ionized)water, and pull the part out, and look for any dry spots as the water runs off. If it is a smooth wet film, then it is clean, otherwise, back into the cleaning solution.
                    then the part is put in an alkyline solution( Sodium Hydroxide ?) for treating, then into another De-Ionized bath, then into a Hydrocloric Acid bath, followed by a De-ionized Bath , then into the E Nickel.
                    Now all of this is done with hot tanks , like 180 degrees, and the E nickel tank must be held at 192.....and the part can NEVER dry out between baths..they spray hot de-ionized water on it while in the air, to keep it wet. The soak time is only a minute or 2 for the treatment baths and the E Nickel is according to the desired thickness required.

                    By doing this , you do not get smut on the part.
                    E Nickel detests Hydrocarbon atoms, so be careful what you do.
                    I have no idea what the soldered joints will do or if they create a problem.