Tumble Brightening With Multi-Etch

Tumbled discs, untreated on left, tumbled with Multi-Etch on right.

Tumbled discs, untreated on left, tumbled with Multi-Etch on right.

Here's a labor-saving technique that can be achieved with a vibratory tumbler filled with ceramic media. It's good for cleaning hundreds of small parts all at once.

After mass finishing your titanium parts to radius or round the edges, the result is deburred and nicely rounded edges, but very dark titanium. Drain and rinse the parts and the ceramic media. Then, rather than dipping each part once at a time into Multi-Etch, reload your tumbler with the ceramic media and add one cup of Multi-Etch per 8-10 cups of media. The key is to moisten the media with the Multi-Etch. Add the dirty titanium parts and tumble 10-20 minutes, which will produce significantly brightened titanium parts.

Multi-Etch will not etch the ceramic media but it's best to clean and rinse between operations.

Have a question about Tumble Brightening with Multi-Etch? Leave a comment below or join our Facebook Group!

Multi-Etch's Pilgrimage to the Discovery Site of Titanium

The plaque we made to commemorate the discovery of Titanium.

In 1990, we were honored with a commission to make a plaque of titanium commemorating the discovery of titanium in Cornwall, England. We were given some materials by the Titanium Development Association (now the International Titanium Association) to help design the plaque, including a copy of a painting of the discoverer Rev. William Gregor. We included a glass vial of ilmenite (from which titanium can be refined), titanium sponge, an ingot of titanium, and some mill products.

Gregor found the titanium near the parish church of Manaccan and, as he was visiting the church’s rector, Richard Polwhele, the Titanium Development Association presented the commemorative plaque to that church.

Since 1990, we have asked several people to visit “our” plaque when they visited UK but we didn’t realize how far Manaccan is from the usual UK tourist destinations. Then, in 2007, our daughter began a year’s internship in London and we finally had the needed push to visit the plaque and the location where titanium was discovered.

Here is a map showing Manaccan’s location:

Map of Manaccan

In Falmouth, we met local historian and author Derek Carter, who, along with his wife Susanne, acted as invaluable guides in Manaccan and the area called “The Lizard” which includes the southwestern part of Cornwall. Their beautifully detailed tour included fascinating information about U.S. forces in Cornwall during World War II, when Cornwall was called the 49th State due to the overwhelming number of American serviceman. Derek co-wrote, with Viv Acton, two books about this period. The first is Operation Cornwall 1940-1944, The Fal, the Helford and D-Day and the second is Cornish War and Peace: The Road to Victory - and Beyond. Both are full of compelling details and first-person narratives.

We took a beautiful drive along the coast, up the Helford River to Gweek, on to pick up Susanne at their home in St. Martin, and then to the church at Manaccan.


For many years we thought the church in Manaccan was Rev. Gregor’s church but in fact, Rev. Gregor was vicar of Creed parish church. However, he paid frequent visits to his friend Rev. Polwhele who was vicar at the Manaccan church. It was during one of these visits that Rev. Gregor discovered some unusual black sand in the water of Tregonwell Mill, near the church. Upon detailed analysis he realized it was a new mineral which he named menachanite or manaccanite, also known as ilmenite, which contains titanium.

A few years later, M. H. Klaproth discovered titanium in rutile ore in Germany, later realizing it was the same material Gregor had found and crediting Gregor with the original discovery. But Klaproth’s name for the material—titanium—is the name that stuck.

The Manaccan church was begun in the 13th century and has many lovely Norman details. Here are Chris and Derek outside the entrance, across from what used to be the vicarage:

Looking for Multi-Etch Distributors Outside North America

Looking for Multi-Etch Distributors Outside North America

We are pleased to announce that Multi-Etch is now available in Australia! Our newest distributor is Nick Hacko Fine Watches.

Besides Australia, Multi-Etch has distributors in the U.S. and Canada. We regularly get requests to ship Multi-Etch outside the U.S., including to many European countries. How we wish we could send it to everyone who asks! The problem is that even though Multi-Etch is vastly safer than the industry standard of hydrofluoric and nitric acids, Multi-Etch is still considered a hazardous material. Because of that, there is a burdensome amount of paperwork that must be completed and filed with every shipment that leaves the U.S. and for that reason, shipping expensive.

We have a minimum requirement of 100 units of Multi-Etch for shipments leaving the US. Each unit makes one gallon of regular strength or 1/2 gallon of double-strength Multi-Etch. Most of the shipping cost is due to the paperwork and required licenses associated with shipping hazardous materials. So the more product you buy, the less per unit shipping will cost.

If you are a company already selling jewelry supplies, metal-working supplies, or industrial cleaning products, contact us for how you could add Multi-Etch to your product selection.

Contact us at info@multietch.com or 928-634-5307 for more information.

Plastic Containers to use with Multi-Etch

We often stress the importance of using and storing Multi-Etch in plastic containers, never in metal or glass. First time users will receive dry Multi-Etch powder in a plastic gallon jug. This jug is meant to have distilled or deionized water added to make a gallon of regular strength or 1/2 gallon of double strength Multi-Etch. You can use water heated to 150ºF in the jug to mix the solution.

05 PP plastic triangle recycling symbol

When using heated Multi-Etch in either a double boiler or in a custom tank, there are a number of types of plastics that can be used. For small users (one gallon or less,) you can find suitable plastic containers at big box or grocery stores. Look on the bottom of containers to see a number inside a triangle. Most of these containers will have a number 5, for polypropylene. These can withstand up to 230ºF.

Multi-Etch in a #2 white polyethylene plastic container.

For those of you building your own containers, several other plastics besides #5 can be used:

#2 white polyethylene can be heated to 150ºF. This is what our Multi-Etch jugs are made of.

#3 PVC types 1 and 2 are also an excellent choice.

#7 is usually polycarbonate and can be heated to 212ºF but #7 does include other plastics so sometimes means a type other than polycarbonate.

If you will run larger tanks of 5-20 gallons, we recommend IPEC Global who can construct complete customized systems which can include tanks for cleaning, rinsing, Multi-Etching, rinsing, and anodizing. Check them out at http://ipecglobal.com/ and see videos of their systems.

Check out the video below for a more in depth guide to using double boilers.


We welcome your questions and comments about plastics compatible with Multi-Etch.

Using Multi-Etch Heated and Unheated

Ever since we developed Multi-Etch in 1993, we have always used it heated because it is much quicker than using it at room temperature. Recently we conducted extensive experiments to compare the efficacy of heated vs room temperature. What we discovered is that over time, whether heated or unheated, unused Multi-Etch solution etches faster than when it is first mixed up. But the difference takes months to notice.

Laboratory set-up to use Multi-Etch heateed

We also discovered that if you heat the whole solution just one time to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, i.e., bring it to a boil and turn it off, that activates the solution and it will work much better at room temperature from then on. If you don’t have equipment to heat up Multi-Etch safely indoors, take a hot plate and a simple double boiler outside and heat it up there. Once it’s boiling or close to boiling, you’re finished! You can then use it while it’s still warm or let it cool down and use it unheated. But, it will always work faster if you can use it heated.

For help in creating a simple double boiler, see instructions here https://www.multietch.com/room-temperature and watch our short video here https://www.multietch.com/multietch-resources.

We'd love to hear your experiences. Leave comments and questions here.

Welcome to the Multi-Etch Blog!

Etching Titanium & Other Metals

Wondering if Multi-Etch will work with your process? Or, do you need to know specific details about how to use Multi-Etch? This is the place to ask those questions and get some answers. You can start a discussion and hear what others are experiencing. We’ll address your questions and ask some of our own to get conversations going as well as post articles of interest.

Join others in the dental, medical, jewelry, aerospace, and consumer product industries who have switched from using dangerous acids like Hydrofluoric, or never wanted those hazards in their work life in the first place and chose the safe route for etching titanium and other metals.

The danger of working with hydrofluoric acid has been in the news lately following the huge explosion at an oil refinery in Philadelphia. A Reuters.com article reports:

“A source familiar with plant operations said one explosion occurred at the 30,000 bpd alkylation unit that uses hydrofluoric acid (HF), one of the deadliest chemicals in the refining business and a source of controversy for its use to make high-octane gasoline at refineries located in densely populated areas.

“Hydrofluoric acid can form a toxic cloud at room temperature, with exposure leading to severe health problems and even death.”

Click the button below to read the full article:

So stay safe with Multi-Etch and subscribe to get notifications of new entries or just check back once in awhile to see what others are talking about. Have a question? Leave a comment below! Let’s get going!