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If it's brass, a quick pass through a candle or lamp flame should do it. Don't let it get beyond dull red (you don't need to go that far, even.) Then let it air quench. Brass is annealed by quenching, just the opposite of ferrous metals, which need to be heated and then cooled. PE is thin enough that it air quenches nicely.

I've heard that some PE is stainless steel, or some ferrous alloy. Not sure if it's true. In such a case, heat to dull red and allow to cool slowly (lift it a little higher from the flame and watch the color fade). If you know it's stainless, go to medium red but no further. Stainless steels usually have a very narrow working range, and they burn if you go beyond it. PE being so thin, it's easy to go too far, too fast.

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"Nickel silver" is actually a type of brass alloy. Treat as brass.

For a permanent scorched metal look, you are going to have a little trouble with nickel silver, which is intended to resist corrosion. Try this on a piece of scrap: heat to yellow and allow to cool. If that doesn't do it, try quenching in vinegar or saturated sodium bicarbonate, followed by a low temperature annealing (dull red, air quenched).

Several places (Micro-Mark is one) sell a brass blackening solution. This can produce the effect of burnt metal. Experiment with it on scrap until you find a technique (it won't quite be that for uniform blackening) that produces the result you want.

Edited by Triarius
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Thanks for the advice :monkeydance: - will try these out and see how that goes. You must know a wholelot about working with metals - great to be learnin from experts here :monkeydance: This is a new area of modeling for me, and if successful (provided I am careful and not mess up the metal), it will definitely be a whole new level of realism.

David

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- just a quick tip . it can be hard getting all the different sized parts to a uniform tempature over a bare flame , an old dodge is to put them onto a piece of thicker metal and heat that up , so preventing local hot spots . easy , he hee . ( use tongs ! ) :monkeydance:

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I'm afraid I don't like the naked flame approach. The problem is that the PE heats too unevenly and cools to quickly so it doesn't anneal well and can sometimes even be damaged. I turn on one of the stove elements (I have one with the coiled elements) until it glows red. Place the PE piece onto the element with tweezers and turn off the stove immediately. The PE glows red evenly and cools down slowly along with the element. This slower cooling properly anneals the PE.

For larger pieces of PE, the earlier suggestion of putting the part onto a larger piece of metal would probably work on the stove too.

Warwick

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Brass is annealed by quenching, not slow cooling as in ferrous metals. PE, being so thin, air quenches nicely.

Oh, ok. I did not know this. It is an important difference.

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