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Thread: Brass Plating a Lightsaber -- Help needed!

  1. #1

    Exclamation Brass Plating a Lightsaber -- Help needed!

    Hi everyone,

    Yet another question from me here. I really really really want to give my MHS-parts hilt a brass finish. I don't mean paint or goldish anodizing or powdercoating that doesn't really look like the real thing and won't weather, I mean a real brass-plated finish that will tarnish and patina and can be painted over and weathered and look like a genuinely worn and antiquated weapon from a more civilized age, a hilt whose components lay unused in the cupboards and drawers of the Crucible or the Temple's workshops for decades before I selected and assembled them.

    But I cannot for the life of me find anyone nearby who can do that. I know it's possible to brass-plate aluminium; a little more difficult than other metals, yes, but possible. I've tried contacting metal finishers around my area and so far have had no luck, so I'm going to ask my local gunsmith if he has any suggestions. In the meantime, I'm reaching out to the community for help too. If anyone knows companies or individuals, professional or amateur, who can help me with this project, please please let me know. If you yourselves can help, contact me by PMs or by replying here. My last resort will be buying a Caswell plating kit and trying my hand at doing it myself, but I have zero experience and am reluctant to do that.

    Help me, TCSS Forums, you're my only hope!

    May the Force of others be with you,
    Beskar Anooba
    There is no Light Side, nor is there a Dark Side; there is only the Force. I will keep the balance; the balance will keep me whole. There is no good without evil, but evil must not be allowed to flourish. There is passion, yet peace. There is serenity, yet emotion. There is chaos, yet order. There is no life without death. There is death, yet the Force. The Force is all things and I am one with the Force.

  2. #2

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    The easiest solution would be to make your parts out of brass. I know TCSS has a few pieces made out of brass, but not too many. You could email and ask about getting a custom piece made.

    Other possibilities would include using brass accents instead of full brass pieces. Chrome sinktubes fit over standard MHS parts, and they're typically brass underneath the chrome. Some sanding and elbow grease should expose the brass.

    A quick Google search turned up a couple businesses that offer services to plate brass onto aluminum. https://www.mmresto.com/index.php/se.../brass-plating and https://www.sharrettsplating.com/bas...rials/aluminum came up for me.
    We all have to start somewhere. The journey is all the more impressive by our humble beginnings.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver Serpent View Post
    The easiest solution would be to make your parts out of brass. I know TCSS has a few pieces made out of brass, but not too many. You could email and ask about getting a custom piece made.

    Other possibilities would include using brass accents instead of full brass pieces. Chrome sinktubes fit over standard MHS parts, and they're typically brass underneath the chrome. Some sanding and elbow grease should expose the brass.

    A quick Google search turned up a couple businesses that offer services to plate brass onto aluminum. https://www.mmresto.com/index.php/se.../brass-plating and https://www.sharrettsplating.com/bas...rials/aluminum came up for me.
    Hi Silver. I've already placed the order for the aluminium parts from the shop, and having them done from solid brass, while appealing, would have been monstrously expensive to accomplish, and a sinktube won't work for me.

    I actually contacted Metal Man just before I saw your post; unfortunately despite advertising to the apparent contrary, they no longer offer plating over aluminium because "they no longer have the correct etching setup". I'll give the other site you linked a try and I know of an automotive/motorcycle/boat detailing company that might be able to help. I'll keep hoping for other replies on here, too.

    EDIT: The second site you linked only accepts industrial/commercial applications, unlikely that they'll do an order so small as a few lightsaber parts; I've ruled out a lot of places based on that sort of thing. But I'll try anywhere else I can find.

    Thanks for your help and may the Force of others be with you,
    Beskar Anooba
    Last edited by Beskar Anooba; 05-15-2019 at 01:34 PM.
    There is no Light Side, nor is there a Dark Side; there is only the Force. I will keep the balance; the balance will keep me whole. There is no good without evil, but evil must not be allowed to flourish. There is passion, yet peace. There is serenity, yet emotion. There is chaos, yet order. There is no life without death. There is death, yet the Force. The Force is all things and I am one with the Force.

  4. #4

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    It is actually not possible to plate brass on aluminum by the typical means, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, brass is an alloy. You may be able to peen plate, which involves using a fine dust that gets hammered into the surface.

    You should also be able to find rough brass drain pieces, you don't need to remove the chrome from a chromed drain, or you can just source brass tubing.

  5. #5
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    I was actually wondering about this as well. I've seen people plate brass by heating up the base metal and using a brass wire brush wheel, but a quick Google search couldn't confirm that you can do that with aluminum. The layers are pretty thin, but multiple people said they did several layers and achieved a durable finish. You have to ensure that you use a pure brass wire wheel brush, though, since there are some that are just brass coated, and if you get through the brass to the steel core it'll eat up your saber

  6. #6

  7. #7

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    Well perhaps by electroplating or another means, but based on the fact that I've seen it done and have had professional metal finishers tell me it's possible, then there's a way to put brass over aluminium. From what I understand it requires at least one immersion in a zinc bath (two is better), so it might be a more complicated procedure but it's definitely possible.
    There is no Light Side, nor is there a Dark Side; there is only the Force. I will keep the balance; the balance will keep me whole. There is no good without evil, but evil must not be allowed to flourish. There is passion, yet peace. There is serenity, yet emotion. There is chaos, yet order. There is no life without death. There is death, yet the Force. The Force is all things and I am one with the Force.

  8. #8

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    Just be aware... MHS threads are not toleranced for plating. Yes, anodize is technically a coating, but it only adds .0002 - .0005" to the surface. This is why you don't see powdercoated threading on parts. If you start dipping threads in multiple baths, both male and female threads, you will very quickly find out your parts most likely won't screw together anymore. Plus, any work you do to align features (switch holes, boxes, set screw holes, etc) will be lost after plating.

  9. #9

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    That's true, aye. But on the other hand, there surely are ways to mask the threads that will withstand the plating process. Silicone plugs of some kind for female and possibly a cap of some type for male; I've seen the former advertised online. And I could minimize that issue by having the boxes and thumbscrew holes added AFTER the hilt pieces were plated, leaving only the initial MHS threads to be covered. I've looked at anodizing and it's an option, just, y'know, a lower one because it's not going to look nor wear like brass will.
    There is no Light Side, nor is there a Dark Side; there is only the Force. I will keep the balance; the balance will keep me whole. There is no good without evil, but evil must not be allowed to flourish. There is passion, yet peace. There is serenity, yet emotion. There is chaos, yet order. There is no life without death. There is death, yet the Force. The Force is all things and I am one with the Force.

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