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topic 459

Want to apply Nitride Binary Coatings such as TiN, SiN, and Ta2N5 to tools


I am a speciality manufacturer of various unusual (and patent-pending) needlework tools. I have a hot-selling needle and am working on another type, hopefully patentable. I am in search of an inexpensive plating/coating process for my tools. Years ago (way too many) I was vaguely familiar with a hard Teflon coating (Rockwell C 65-80) for various engine parts, such as piston skirts, etc., while I was hot-rodding cars and motorcycles. This seems like a possible candidate, along with others, if it falls into these following guidelines:

1. Semi-production (1000's of units at a time)
2. Very corrosion and wear-resistant (you wouldn't believe the acids and crud needleworkers emit from their fingers!)
3. Very smooth (slick and shiny is good)
4. Plate/coat small holes
5. Competitive pricing.
6. Color is important to my customers - can be nickel-like, or gold-toned, or a pleasing metallic color (niobium rainbow, etc.).

But! But! No nickel or plain old gold plating! I'm looking for something unusual and effective - my tools are expensive and top-drawer! I really don't want to tackle a process on my own - I'd rather find a good jobbing shop that can do this.

Any curious experts? Any ideas?

JM Flavin


The plastic coating you are referring to may be the Torlon products from DuPont (I think). These are hi-temp plastics that are used in some prototype engine blocks and components (piston skirts) and are most notably used as the piston rings/seals in the new wave of oil-less air compressors.

For a hard coating, you might be interested in nitride binary compounds such as TiN, SiN, and Ta2N5. The titanium and tantalum compounds have a gold appearance and are very hard.

These are the sort of compounds (TiN in particular) that are used for surface hardening the common gold colored drill bits that are commercially available. Unfortunately, vacuum CVD processes are the current way to apply these surfaces. There are service outfits that can do this for you but I'm not sure of the per piece cost, lot sizes, or tooling charges, if any.

Good luck.

Jeff Albom
- El Granada, California

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