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How to make stainless steel duller


Q. I wanted advice on how to make the surface of stainless steel dull. In my product, first I buff the product to get shine. Then certain parts have to be made dull. The problem right now is that the dull part is having some shine. Is there any chemical which can make the dull effect more prolific?

Patel Denish Khodidas
- Rajkot, Gujarat, India


A. Unless you need to be selective, You can achieve a dull matte finish in a number of ways. Probably the most common is to abrasive blast the part. It can also be accomplished using mass finishing equipment and chemically. For selective areas, you may have to mask off or protect the polished areas against these processes, but this presents other problems. The way your question is worded, it sounds like you would save time and money by leaving the polishing of the part until after the matt finish.

AF Kenton
Nova Finishing Sytems Inc. - Hatboro, Pennsylvania

+++ -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We need to "dull" stainless steel electric plates and other stainless fixtures in a hospital environment. A brand new cover plate was dipped in muriatic acidamazoninfo and submitted for approval. The problem I'm having is duplicating the finish of the mock up cover plate with the existing stainless steel cover plates. My question,Is there a process I can use to make all stainless steel when dipped in a solution of muriatic acid look the same?

Nick Lisowski
decorating company - Chicago Ridge, Illinois, USA


A. Sorry but this is a bad idea. The HCl will leave the SS in a corrosion sensitive condition. May look good now but wait a while and the calls will be a coming. Consider an abrasive blasting means, then passivate the parts.

Jon Quirt
- Minneapolis, Minnesota

September 2012

A. Hi.

I have to agree with John that all but the most exotic stainless steels are subject to chloride corrosion and that hydrochloric acid is not a good way to dull it. Bead blasting can create a beautiful matte finish if that's what you seek.


Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

+++++ -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi,

We need to generate a dull gray surface, similar to that seen on un polished titanium wire/tube, on stainless tubes 304 or 316 grade, 5 mm O.D. x .2 mm wall x 300 mm long. Surface must be biocompatible (not implant use). Can you suggest suitable treatments please?

Jim F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
metal component supply - Oxford, UK


A. Have you experimented with any bead blasts, Jim?

Ted Mooney,   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. Pickling in a mixture of 35% nitric acid/4% hydrofluoric acid will produce a gray finish.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
- Spartanburg, South Carolina


A. You can achieve almost the same identical appearance of an abrasive blast finish, without the dimple pattern, by using a dry organic abrasive media in a mass finishing system. I have written a lot articles about dry media applications and they are free and posted on my website.

AF Kenton
Nova Finishing Sytems Inc. - Hatboro, Pennsylvania


A. You can achieve the same grey, non-reflective finish as found on architectural Titanium by dry blasting with #220 Aluminum Oxide.

Ken I'Anson
- Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Readers: for additional perspectives, please see the following very similar thread -- 41460. How to get Dull Grey Surface on Stainless Steel

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