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"Bright dip school project safe at home (new product?)"


I was looking at a website for hobbyist plating, in their anodizing section and saw the information on the bright dipping. Although slightly expensive for a school project (52 a gallon) I was intrigued by the idea of quick polish by just letting my samples sit in the bath.

I called because I had asked the question about bright dipping before and was told no I could not, double walled steel and stuff that was way out of my league.

I called them and they said as long as it was near a window it was ok and I said I could do it outside and they said there would be no problem at all.

I am assuming that it is a non nitric acid bright dip and was wondering if anyone could give me advice about it.

I appreciate the time to read this and the help in advance.


Adam O.
- Rochester, New York


Please don't assume that, Adam. Rather, make sure they provide an MSDS sheet -- which will list the hazards and will almost always list the significant chemistry (for example, the nitric acid).

Personally, I think aluminum bright dip is too dangerous for use within a home for a school science project. And it's not really a substitute for mechanical polishing.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



An easy way to find out what, if any, hazardous ingredients are in the "hobby-dip" would be to ask the manufacturer to send you a MSDS (material safety data sheet). On page one, there will be a section for the hazardous ingredients. Personally, I am not aware of any bright dipping process that doesn't use a corrosive solution. Most of the advice you receive in this forum will be from professionals who have had previous experience with the subject of discussion in an industrial environment, and I think a lot of them would love to use a product that doesn't produce extremely hazardous gasses, or isn't so corrosive that it won't eat through metal like a warm knife cutting through butter..unfortunately.. those are the types of products that produce the best results. So, while this hobby kit may brighten the surface with less hazardous chemicals, don't expect it to look as well as if were "professionally done".

It is possible that there is a new product out there that does a comparable job to the aforementioned hazardous mixtures, and I am not aware of it.

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Boise, Idaho


Mark Green I got the MSDS sheet.

I copied it over into word and now I am going to paste it sorry for the length.

My mom went ahead and ordered the product thinking it was for school instead of just calling for the MADA so I have it in the garage in the box it came in away from all metal and water. I would like to know asap if I need to send this back or if I can work with it.

I have included questions in yellow text but I am not sure they will come out yellow. but they essentially are where can I buy an OSHA approved acid mist mask that covers my whole face and if I do the aluminum dipping outside will that be sufficient ventilation.

Thanks in advance,

Now for the letter:

Aluminum Bright Dip
Material Safety Data Sheet:

Ingredients/Identity Information

Proprietary: no
Ingredient: Phosphoric acid (Sara III)
Ingredient sequence number: 01
Percent: 78
Niosh (rtecs) number: tb6300000
Cas Number: 7664-38-2
Osha Pel: 1 mg/m3
Acgih Tlv: 1mg/m3/3 stel; 9394
Other recommended limit: none recommended

Proprietary: No
Ingredient: Iron Salts
Ingredient sequence number: 02
Percent: 5
Niosh (rtecs) number: BQ760500
Cas Number: 10022-22
Osha Pel: 2.5MG/CUM
Acgih Tlv: 3.0MG/Cum
Other recommended limit:

Ingredient: Acetic Acid Glacial
Ingredient sequence number: 03
Percent: <3
Niosh (rtecs) number: AF1225000
Cas Number: 64-19-7
Osha Pel: 2.5 MG/CUM
Acgih Tlv: 2.5 Mg/Cum
Other recommended limit: 2.5 Mg/Cum

Proprietary: no
Ingredient: ammonium bifluoride
Ingredient sequence number: 04
Percent: <1.5
Niosh (rtecs) number : BQ9200000
Cas Number: 1341-49-7
Osha Pel: 2.5 Mg/CUM
Acgih Tlv: 2.5 Mg/Cum
Other recommended limit:

Proprietary: YES
Ingredient: Non hazardous ingredients
Ingredient sequence number: 04
Percent: Balance
Niosh (rtecs) number: 100031aNH
Cas Number
Osha Pel: N/K (FP N)
Acgih Tlv: N/K (FP N)
Other recommended limit:

Physical /chemical characteristics
Appearance and odor: clear, colorless, syrupy liquid -- slight odor
Boiling Point 275-316 F
Melting Point -.5 -- 70 F
Vapor Pressure (MM hg/70 F) 5.65-2.16
Vapor Density (air=1) Unknown
Specific Gravity 1.58 -- 1.69
Solubility in water: unknown

There are also the following sections: Fire and Explosion Hazard Reactivity Data Health Hazard data Precautions for safe handling: respirator for acid mist

(Can I buy the inserts --I already have one for stripping wood with caustic chemicals -- or where can I buy one new?)

Control measures: Use a Niosh approved respirator for acid mists provide (question in blue applies here)

Adam O.
- Rochester, New York



As you can see.. there are several acids in your mixture, and.. for all intents & purposes it is very similar to bright dips used in our industry, save the fact that they are normally heated to at least 170 F. I would strongly suggest using this in a well ventilated area, as the gases it produces (when heated) tend to be corrosive, and extremely choking. I would assume that your results would be better, if you indeed heated the product..but I'm sure that's an expense you don't want. Check your local welding supply shop..here, in Idaho..NORCO sells respirators (full face..expect to pay about $150), and cartridges to the public.

Personally, I agree with Ted.. in that bright dipping should not be done by a novice. Some questions to ask yourself before you begin are: 1. By the time I buy a respirator, cartridges, goggles [affil. link to info/product on Amazon], Rubber Gloves [affil. link to info/product on Amazon], etc..is this worth my investment? 2. What am I going to do with the solution when I'm done with it (it will have to be neutralized prior to disposal)you cannot just dump this stuff down the drain, as it will probably attack your plumbing, besides being illegal. Don't you find it kind of strange that the seller of this product originally told you.."yeah..no prob.. just use it by an open window"..and then you read the safety requirements, and find out that its pretty nasty stuff (per the MSDS..pH<1). Phos acid is very viscous, and..can be difficult to rinse..if you decide to go ahead with this, I suggest using warm water to rinse your project after being immersed in the solution. I'm curious as to what grade you are in.. and what your project is that your teacher would be asking you to use this stuff?

Hope I helped. Marc (with a C) Green Oh.. one more thing.. the NIOSH cartridges you will need (the # escapes me) will be yellow in color.

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Boise, Idaho


I have been doing anodizing just to learn about it for like a year now. I am in the 12th grade and on my way off the college at the end of this approaching summer. I have been doing the anno outdoors with a 3m mask and the acid mist insert for the mask. As of yet I have not had any problems and can't even see fumes coming off my parts? Should the part have bubble like when being anodized because I notice nothing and don't smell anything (that could be because of the mask)

I am getting better results now than ever before. I was wondering if you had any idea about what I would need to do to get a a job from now until I need to go to college in the plating/anodizing industry locally. I would like something to expand upon my hobby/project and would like to learn more about this but don't how to go about it. I have told my manager that I may be leaving currently to go to a job in the metal finishing field.

Adam O.
- Rochester, New York, USA



Well.. if you were here, in Idaho, I'd put you to work in a second! Its not common to find folks that are interested in anodizing..let alone even know what it is. I've been doing this (anodizing) for 15 years, and I started out as just a laborer (at $4.10/hour..yuck) in the shop I'm currently in now. I knew nothing of anodizing when I started, and learned on the job. As I acquired more experience, my desire to learn also increased, so I read everything that I can...an still do..that relates to our field. I'm sure that if you went out and submitted some applications, that someone would put you to work (though.. I'm not sure what the job market is like in NY these days). Most folks, I believe, start off just as I did, and gradually worked their way up the ladder.

It is normal for the parts to bubble while being coated.. you are seeing hydrogen sulfide gas being created at the coating/electrolyte interface. You normally won't notice a smell (especially outside) until you really start doing large loads, and using a lot of current, and..at that point, the fumes/mist can be very noxious.

Good luck on your job search..I wish there were more guys like you in Idaho!

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Boise, Idaho


I have been successfully bright dipping and I am not dead yet! j/k. I have been wearing my acid mist mask and goggles. I got a check up at the doctor when I got a bad cough (nothing related to chemicals) guess I should not run in the woods for hours soaking wet in 30 degree weather. Anyway the reason for me new response. Marc I would love to go to Idaho to work at your shop, my hunch says my parents would not let me go cross country for a summer job.:-(

I wanted to get a dye for silkscreening as I want to do graphic anno now. (still need to get the silkscreening process down but it does not sound to hard). Also any info on graphic anno would be appreciated. I searched the boards and found little in the way of silk screening.

Thanks for the help,

Adam O.
- Rochester, New York



You may purchase "inks" for silkscreening anodizing from (several manufacturers). Perhaps U.S. Specialty Color also offers them, I'm not sure. Be prepared, as they are pretty darned spendy (but a little bit will go a long way). A cheap alternative would be to use a nail-polish (clear)of some type...go ahead and play around with that, prior to spending the $$ on the ink. The way I'd do it, would be to start would be to clear anodize your part..silkscreen with the clear nail polish (or you may use the little brush that's in the polish to draw your own designs), let the polish dry, dye to desired color (have you done any dyeing yet? if not..its my understanding that Rit Dye [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] will work), wipe off the nail polish with Acetone [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] (nail polish remover), then seal. There are many different types of graphic anodizing (most of it is VERY cool) being done these days, however, companies (mine included) spend a lot of $$ developing these processes, and you won't find the process info freely distributed on this site. When you get into using the more expensive inks, it will be possible to go ahead and seal with the inks still on the part, and remove the excess ink after sealing. What's nice about the inks is that they come in many different colors which can be mixed, and diluted, to create your own custom colors.

Good luck! P.S. When handling unsealed anodized parts..be sure to use powder free latex gloves, as the unsealed parts will readily absorb the oils from ones skin, and the finger prints will show up.

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Boise, Idaho


I don't have much to say that Marc hasn't already filled in for you Adam. But I will say this. I mirror the experiences he has had. There's no real schooling in the U.S. to learn how to do plating work, at least nothing I'm overly familiar with. If there is, it requires a 4 year college degree with all kinds of unnecessary stuff thrown in. If you want to learn to be a plater/anodizer there is only 2 ways to get information I know of and resources to learn.

1.) Dr. Kushner's Kushner Electroplating School has an at home study course for metal finishing, and separate courses for anodizing, chrome plating etc etc. (it's just the 20 volume course broken down into 3-4 course manual systems). I personally own the entire 20 volume course. But considering the information and the straight forward learning techniques he employs in the manuals. Its far better than a 4 year degree, not only for substance, but cost.

2.) Get a job working as a laborer at a plating shop like Marc did. I was fortunate (I think :) ) to have family that made this industry their life's work and was fortunate enough to get a very early start in the business. I started hanging around here at age 14. Helping out racking parts now and then and starting to experience what the environment was all about. Around 17 I had already logged a year in college along with going to high school at the same time (little known loophole in the system that allowed me to attend college classes while in H.S.) Around that time I was ready to start working. I came here for probably 10-20 hours a week doing accounting and paperwork and answering the phones. A few years later I started getting into working on the line itself. Now I'm 26, and well aged in this business for my relatively young self. Like Marc, I have this unstoppable desire to learn and continue to try different things. Its that core thing that drives me, because believe me some days this job can be very very troubling to do. Reject parts, messed up chemistry in tanks. When you put your passion into your work, that stuff will affect you because its human nature to only want to do the best you can do.

Good luck to you, I know I'm glad to see there's still young (I say that like I'm old) adults that are wanting to get into this business, not just for a paycheck from a job, but to honestly learn about the business. From my point of view its refreshing because this industry is starting to lose a lot of those people that built it up, and the influx of new people wanting to learn is getting less and less. I won't call it a dieing business because its not, but its shrinking in terms of # of shops and # of people wanting to do the job. Thats good in some situations, but bad in others.

Matthew Stiltner
plating company - Toledo, Ohio


Matthew Stiltner,

Thank you for the insight into the field and how easy it is to do college and HS. I graduate on the 25 and I have been enrolled in some college math courses at the local level to save on cost before I go to Utica. I mention this because of the second part of my letter.

Milt Stevenson, Jr.,

Thank you very much for the local input. I am going to Utica College this coming August. I will probably be passing through Utica on the way there and if my parents don't mind I would enjoy a side trip on the way out or back if that could be made possible through you. I appreciate this offer more than you know. Also I was wondering if you knew of any anodizers/platers in Utica as I will be away from home and my line so I will be in anodizing withdrawal and nothing to do other than play paintball and study (UGH!) so a nice job or even a summer job in the area would be very nice.

Thanks for the time and help both of you have given me.


Adam O.
- Rochester, New York, USA

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