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topic 0374

Cyanide substitutes in brass electroplating solutions?

A discussion started in 1996.
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I am trying to do some brass plating of epoxy parts. I have done copper plating and electroforming with low pH copper solutions but have not had much luck in in obtaining a plate that has the same color as brass. My operation is small and I don't want to get into with the problems involved with cyanide based plating solutions. I do historic restoration type castings from brass and plastics. Usually only a few things at a time.

Are there other less toxic complexing compounds that will give me a good brass like plate? I am in northern California and have tried to find a commercial operation that will work with me on this small a scale but I have been unsuccessful. If you know of anyone who might be interested, I would like to talk to them.

Thank You

Bob Coyle


Contact EPI (Electrochemical Products Inc.) [a supporting advertiser] in Wisconsin. They have a non-cyanide, brass process.

Richard Zuendt
- Garfield, New Jersey


Richard's advice is good, but you might also consider nickel plating the parts, then applying a tinted lacquer in brass tone, offered by such suppliers as G.J. Nikolas, or an electrolytic tint offered by suppliers like Atotech.

Of course, it depends on why you are brass plating, but many lamp manufacturers now use tinted lacquer in place of real brass plating. Because the brass usually must be lacquered anyway, the thinking is that in those cases why not just tint it.

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

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