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Metals: Working, Washing and Polishing Off

Metals can be difficult to deal with if you don’t have the right equipment, the right chemicals, and the right knowledge and experience. It is about more than cutting, filing, forming and polishing. You need to understand the intricacies of chemistry, engineering and different manufacturing processes, so you can clean, work and finish the metals accordingly.

Here at, we work with a number of metals day in and day out. We use all manner of processes to meet all kinds of imaginative and intricate briefs. That is why we know how in-depth knowledge has to be in this industry. We also know how using the right processes on the right materials can make all the difference when it comes to the end result.

To give you some insight into the processes our industry uses for working, cleaning and polishing of metals, from the chemical baths so essential in photo chemical etching to various finishing methods used for different metals, we have listed three key examples.

Read on for more.

A hot shower

To clean metal properly, especially in the face of rust and other such stubborn substances, you need a heavy duty tactic. Equivalent to a hot shower after a long day for us, pickling metals is a treatment that uses a strong acidic solution to remove surface impurities; this solution is known as a ”˜pickle liquor’.

The pickle liquor is kept in a vat, which the metal is then dipped into. This gets rid of stubborn stains, rust and other surface blemishes with relative ease. Depending on the state of the material, the time required can vary, but, for the most part, it is an efficient way of giving metal a good clean.

A long bath

For us, the long bath enjoyed by metals of every shape and size is the chemical bath used during photo etching. Once the design and the resin have been properly applied to the metal sheet(s) in question, the metal is passed through a multi-chamber bath that contains a specific chemical solution. This chemical cocktail etches the metal, eventually leaving behind only the desired components.

During the long bath, the metal is also showered with the solution, much like a jet spa in a fancy tub. This is followed up by a rinse with clean water, to ensure all of the resin and chemical solution is off the finished pieces.

A sprucing up session

Last but not least, as with any good pamper session, metal has to be properly finished off. This sprucing up stage of metal processing can come in many forms; painting, polishing, various treatments and plating.

Electroplating is the most common kind of plating, and it too is conducted using a bath of chemical solution.

Electroplating uses electricity, specifically, a current sent through dissolved metal, which encourages the dissolved metal particles (plating) to stick to the metal being plated. This is a quick and easy surface-bonding process that can completely change the metal’s appearance, providing a more polished look, whatever the component. The process is a little more in-depth than that, but you can see the details on Wikipedia’s Electroplating page.

Of course, these three processes are just a small sample of the many metalwork processes out there. To find out more about some of the metal-based services we provide here at Qualitetch, just browse our website or get in touch.