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Old 25th Jul 2014, 5:30 pm   #1
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Can anyone recommend a good way to make an aluminium die-cast component look (at a glance) as if it is made of brass? I see there are some brass-coloured paints - any good? Mr Google has conflicting information about putting down a brass plating. Unless you have clever tricks up your sleeve, copper plates out preferentially.

B
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 11:00 pm   #2
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Gold plating?
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 11:38 pm   #3
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

How about anodising? I believe it's reasonably straightforward to do, at least as straightforward as anything involving caustic soda can be. The process creates a layer of oxide which you can dye. Presumably dyeing the oxide yellow would give a brassy finish. I've seen plenty of aluminum door furniture done that way.

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Old 26th Jul 2014, 12:02 am   #4
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

As far as I'm aware castings cannot successfully be anodised.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 10:00 am   #5
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

What is the purpose of the brass effect - purely decorative? You could apply gold size and then apply gold leaf. Rubbing hard will make all edges disappear. It is very durable. I don't know if gossamer thin brass-leaf is available.

Few metallic paints are convincing - they stand out like a sore thumb!

Barry
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 2:42 pm   #6
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

It's true that paint of any sort never looks like polished metal, but it may be adequate depending on the circumstances. Sometimes true restoration is impracticable and you just have to do whatever gives the best result.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 3:16 pm   #7
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

'Cheap' gold leaf is called Dutch Metal, first hit on ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dutch-Meta...-/200676722755
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 3:25 pm   #8
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

It's purely a decorative effect. There are at least two companies offering brass plating kits, but they cost more than I want to spend and it also looks as if you have to put down a layer of copper before attempting the brass. Anodising did cross my mind.

Think I'll buy a small tin of Humbrol brass coloured paint and see what it looks like on a piece of scrap. May not look realistic but might still look acceptable (even a regular solid colour could look better than diecast aluminium!) - especially for a cost of ~2 .
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 4:33 pm   #9
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

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'Cheap' gold leaf is called Dutch Metal
Yes, that's interesting. I have seen that stuff but never used it - anyone got experience with it?
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 5:27 pm   #10
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

We use gold coloured aluchrome treated aluminium sheet as covers for our equipment and the finish looks like matted brass. Rather good indeed. We use diecast aluminium chassis and tried having some run through the same treatment, they came back sooty black. The aluminium alloys used for diecastings have various other metals added to improve their flow and fusing properties and they all count against good anodising processes like aluchrome.

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Old 26th Jul 2014, 5:40 pm   #11
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Poundland usually have spray cans of goldish paint in stock, either their own brands or colour matched car paints which are presumably discontinued colours. Worth a try at 1 a go. I've successfully used some on old corroded hinges after abrading all the rust off - not perfect, but not bad either.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 6:23 pm   #12
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

I remember some years ago using some silver spray paint intended for Xmas decoration (it was cheap!) and getting a fantastic result with that.

Poundland seems to be the final resting place for discontinued car spray paints (normally ~8), often in greys, silvers etc which can be very useable in our arena.

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Old 26th Jul 2014, 7:04 pm   #13
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

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I remember some years ago using some silver spray paint intended for Xmas decoration (it was cheap!) and getting a fantastic result with that.
The Pye P43 in my current avatar (July 2014) is sprayed with Christmas silver spray paint bought from a market stall.
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Old 26th Jul 2014, 7:40 pm   #14
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
We use gold coloured aluchrome treated aluminium sheet as covers for our equipment and the finish looks like matted brass. Rather good indeed. We use diecast aluminium chassis and tried having some run through the same treatment, they came back sooty black. The aluminium alloys used for diecastings have various other metals added to improve their flow and fusing properties and they all count against good anodising processes like aluchrome
Yes, as I mentioned above, ali castings can't be anodised, I discovered this during my early motorcycle restorations.
However, there is a process used for protecting magnesium castings, some sort of chromating, which might be possible. This imparts a gold colour on Mag castings, looks very spiffy on Matchless G50 timing covers!
Problem is going to be cost for small one offs, inevitably the dreaded minimum order charge will be applicable.
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 10:39 am   #15
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Hi Bazz,

about a week back, I noticed the cheapo stores (Poundstore etc) here in London are selling cans of spray paint in various colours, one if which was gold.

If the casting is not being handled too frequently, this may do the job. If it does not work out, it is easily removable.

Regards - Mike
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 4:11 pm   #16
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

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Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
Yes, that's interesting. I have seen that stuff but never used it - anyone got experience with it?
Dutch Metal is also commonly known as Imitation Gold Leaf. The easiest kind to handle is "Transfer Leaf" commonly available as small sheets or in rolls. The leaf is supported on a backing tissue until put into place. Lots of it on eBay etc. Needs a little practice, tutorials on You Tube. Imitation leaf will require varnishing after completion or it will oxidise and discolour.

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Old 27th Jul 2014, 5:27 pm   #17
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

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Imitation leaf will require varnishing after completion or it will oxidise and discolour.
Just like brass!
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 7:05 pm   #18
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Have you tried LIBERON GILT CREAM.
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 7:12 pm   #19
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Apart from the obvious double entendre, have you a picture of the result?
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 7:20 pm   #20
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Default Re: Achieving a brass-like Finish?

Unfortunately, the online suppliers of Dutch metal sell it in books of 15 sheets, which drives the cost up a little. My enduring memory of that material is that about 45 years ago , we had a chemistry lesson in which a sheet was dropped in to a gas jar containing chlorine gas, which caused it to burn spontanously, which was very pleasing.
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