The Blackening Process: Insta-Blak A-384
For the longest-lasting, deepest, and cleanest black finishes, we recommend the following blackening process. Please read all safety data sheets and technical data sheets prior to beginning a project.
Soils such as cutting oils, coolants, lubricants, and rust inhibitors must be removed from the metal workpiece. Soils can inhibit the blackening process and negatively affect coating adhesion and appearance. Thoroughly clean and deoxidize the parts prior to beginning the blackening process.
Recommended Cleaning Products:
- E-Kleen 163 works at room temperature; no heat is required. It removes soils quickly when applied with sponge or rag.
- E-Kleen 154 cleans and deoxidizes aged engravings of brass and aluminum in one step.
- A typical household detergent can also be used to clean aluminum parts; apply with an abrasive pad.
After cleaning the metal parts, rinse them in cold, overflowing tap water; it’s necessary to rinse the parts to remove residual cleaning solution. Parts carrying over un-rinsed film of alkaline cleaning solution would quickly contaminate the subsequent chemicals in use, resulting in a spotty or non-adherent black finish.
Immerse the parts to be blackened for 30–60 seconds.
3. Age (aluminum) or Deoxidize (brass)
Immerse parts in a solution of E-Kleen 154 (10–50% by volume) for 2–5 minutes or use a swab/sponge to rub the metal surface. Surface oxides can be removed with steel wool, emery cloth, or other abrasive pads.
Rinse in cold, overflowing tap water for 30–60 seconds to remove residual blackening solution and ensure subsequent steps will not be contaminated.
Apply the Insta-Blak A-384 solution generously and at full strength to the aluminum parts with a swab, brush, rag, or sponge. Cover the part with the blackening solution as quickly as possible, rubbing the surface area for up to 2 minutes until the chemical reaction occurs. Do not rub the surface for the final 10–20 seconds. For a slower reaction, Insta-Blak A-384 may be diluted with 1–3 parts water.
Rinse in cold, overflowing tap water for 30–60 seconds to remove residual blackening solution and ensure sealant will not be contaminated.
Seal the black-oxide finish by immersing the still-wet parts in a corrosion-inhibiting and rust-preventative solution. E-Tec corrosion inhibitors are formulated to rapidly displace the residual acidic solution from the preceding rinse and produce long-term corrosion protection. As the E-Tec is absorbed, it enhances the depth of black, which may take several hours.
Recommended Sealing Products:
- E-Tec 520 is a water-based lacquer that air dries.
- E-Tec 504 is a solvent-based oil that dries in 10–20 minutes.
- E-Laq 522 is a soft, semi-gloss wax.