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topic 10795

How to electropolish tool steel

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A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2017


Q. I have a simple for you, and a big for me doubt. I bought a electropolishing kit for stainless steel, when I told to my boss he wants that I electropolish all the Natoli punches that he use in the plant.

Questions are: Can I use the same chemical solution of the s.s. for tool steel? (the solution is new). If not, what kind I have to use? Is the amp/inch rate the same? How can I quote a electropolishing job?

I will appreciate any help that you can bring me, EXCUSE MY ENGLISH, I'm FROM PUERTO RICO I TRY TO DO MY BEST. Its easy for me to work with, I don't work too much with the computer.

Ruben A. Acevedo Lopez
custom fishing rods - Camuy, Puerto Rico

March 9, 2009

Q. I'm in need of polishing some stainless steel and I can't seem to locate an electropolishing kit.
Thanks Warren

warren stephens
- coquitlam bc Canada

Electroplating Engineering Handbook
by Larry Durney
from Abe Books


March 10, 2009

A. Hi, Warren. The brush plating suppliers who make this site possible are shown in the banner ad at the top of the page. As far as I know they all offer electropolishing kits as well as electroplating kits.

However, you should be aware that, in general, people send their stainless steel out to electropolishing shops for electropolishing as opposed to trying to learn the science themselves, and getting involved in toxic chemistry and the regulations it involves.

You can learn more about electropolishing in most electroplating texts, but I think the best coverage is in the Electroplating Engineering Handbook. For brush plating/polishing info there is nothing like Rubinstein's Electrochemical Metallizing, but he mentions it only quite briefly. Good luck!


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

October 25, 2010

Q. The Electroplating Engineering Handbook is nearly $400 on Amazon. Pretty expensive for only 20 pages of 26 year old info on electropolishing. I've heard of newer electrolyte recipes for stainless that don't use the more caustic acids, but haven't yet found the other setup details for their proper use. Any other recommendations?

Joe Diemer
Portland, Oregon USA

October 25, 2010

A. Hi, Joe. I see some used copies available on Amazon for $9 to $25. Most large libraries have or can get the books you seek if you wish; I'm confident the Portland library can get it if they don't have it. One reason that the electropolishing chapter is only 20 pages is that many of the other 750 pages are invaluable to electropolishers as well as to other finishers, but Metal Coating Process Corp. holds training seminars on electropolishing if you's like detailed guidance.

All of the newer approaches like "never-dump" and "neutral" solutions are proprietary. You can license/buy the electropolishing solutions and get the technical data for their use from companies such as Russamer Lab [a supporting advertiser] as well as the previously mentioned Metal Coating Process Corp. Good luck. Regards,

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

October 26, 2010

thumbs up signHi Ted, for some reason I can't find anything cheaper than $330 on Amazon, but the library has it - thanks for the tip!

I contacted Russamer a long time ago but remember thinking they use the more caustic blends, maybe that's changed. Metal Coating Process Corp. has yet to get back to me.

I guess I'm expecting the older books and more established companies to be using the older, established, very caustic electrolytes like nitric. I know newer solutions exist, but can't find app info yet.

I'll go check out that book though, thanks for the help.

Joe Diemer
- Portland, Oregon USA

October 25, 2010

A. Hi, Joe. These days there is little published general research into subjects like this; instead the research is funded by the suppliers, and the results held as proprietary. So that's where you find the "newer solutions" that you are seeking. The idea of "open source" development does not presently extend to electropolishing chemistry and may not ever do so. Good luck.


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

Localised Electropolishing of SS

March 19, 2017

Q. Hi, All.
I want to do localised Electropolishing of SS vessel. I tried phosphoric acid based chemical with reverse DC Current but due to very bad fumes, I do not want to use it. Request you suggest chemical or a ready-to-use product for localised polishing.

Dinesh Patel
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^

March 23, 2017

A. Dinesh,
For wand- or brush-based electropickling/electropolishing, you don't have to use phosphoric acid. Really anything that will carry the electric current should work. We've had good success using citric acid.

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner

May 1, 2017

A. Hmmmm. Wand "electropolishing" with citric acid?

I think not likely.

But with sulfuric/phosphoric, yes.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
      South Carolina

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