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Author Topic: How do you remove chrome plating? (or how do you smooth brass)  (Read 6156 times)
Julian
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« on: December 19, 2012, 07:07:53 pm »

I have chrome plated brass.  I would prefer just brass, but for some odd reason add chrome makes it a lot cheaper.  So I would like to remove it.  I have searched on the internet and found various solutions, but I am not sure I trust these solutions. 

I wanted to know if there was a quick and cheap way to remove the brass plating and have the pipe look good.  If I have to spend a considerable about of time/money I am better off just buying brass.

One thing I did discover what sanding down some edges is that sanding quickly removes the chrome (at least if you use a dremel).  It looks really nice.  The problem is that it scratches it all up.  That is fine for someone just to be looked up, but if it is going to be touched, I would prefer it to feel and look smooth.  Is there a way to do that.  If so, then I can just sand the chrome off in a couple of minutes and then smooth the brass. 
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Narsil
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 07:32:17 pm »

Emery strip is probably the best bet as it can wrap around the pipe and won't produce flat spots. Probably start with 60 or 80 grit to get the chrome off and then work down through successive grades until you have the finish you require.

Personally I would just get brass pipe, likely to be cheaper in the long run.
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 12:47:14 am »

Any sort of chemical or electo-etching method is going to end up with a residue of Chromium compounds that you will have to deal with.
They can be toxic and not really the stuff to be getting anywhere near.
Also, the base metal can be removed by the process before you have got all the Chrome off.

Even the business of polishing up a tube that has been stripped with an abrasive runs the risk of producing some quite nasty effluent.

I'd say, stick to straight brass tube.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 01:04:07 am »

Besides, what is wrong with a little chrome.  I personally like a mix of metals in a piece.  Steel, brass, copper, and chrome can add more interest than just all brass.
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sidecar_jon
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 04:02:30 pm »

The easy way (done it on lost of Smiths pocket watches), and i didn't die. Get a plastic bucket fill it with warm water dissolve a load of salt in it (more than a handful but less than a pound) Get a car battery connect one side to the object the other to a bar or a bit of iron you have about. Watch the bubbles, one way will plate the bar with chrome (but badly) and the chrome on the object will sort of slide off or shale off....if it doesn't change the connection round and it will.

I might add don't breath the fumes, dont do it near naked lights, use gloves etc and dispose of the solution sensibly. ie don't drink it.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 04:04:07 pm by sidecar_jon » Logged

WillRockwell
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2012, 12:49:23 pm »

It's not hard to sand to a glossy surface on brass. Start with whatever grade paper you need to remove corrosion or plating. 80 is particularly brutal. Then go over it again and again using finer paper each time, 200, 400, 600, 1200, up to 2000. Each grade will remove the scratches from the previous grade and make finer scratches, so be careful not to skip ahead too soon. 1200 will not smooth scratches from 200. After you use the 2000, spit on the surface and do it wet, that's finer still. 2000 will give you a nice satin finish. After that, if you want a gloss, polish with Brasso, that's like an even finer grade and will yield a reflective surface.
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2012, 07:22:58 pm »

It seems that many household chemicals will remove chrome from brass, or other base metals without too much fuss- looking at many different sites when I was wondering about this very subject a couple of weeks ago shows that it is a recurring question amongst restorers, auto customisers, jewellers and others, and some of the favourite methods include household bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, dilute sulphuric acid (battery acid) dilute hydrochloric acid (brick cleaner) and that is without getting into electrolysis etc.

Chromium is quite a reactive metal, and only stays put until scratched- which it is quite resistant to- then any moisture between it and the base metal results in quite rapid corrosion, as anyone with an old car bike or other transporter with chrome plated bits can testify...

See what you have, and give it a try?

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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 03:47:33 pm »

I regularly remove chrome from plastic model parts by submerging the parts in household bleach for a couple of days.  It just flakes right off.
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