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topic 526

Pretreating magnesium castings for nickel plating



- Bnei Berak, Israel


Of the many wonderful books on plating, the one that will tell you how to prepare and activate almost any metal you can think of for plating is ASM International's 'Metals Handbook Volume 5, Surface Cleaning, Finishing & Coating'

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


It is more complicated than this, but here is some information, you need good control procedures.

racks and hooks: monel 316 SS.
alkaline cleaner: a steel cleaner.
chromic acid pickle, low chloride,sulfate, fluoride.
HF solution.
You have to work fast with Magnesium, since it reacts with water, and the other solutions are quite reactive too, so you should set up a research project, and carefully document the process. The operator needs special training on safety, and how not to eat away your parts, which happens fast.

tom pullizzi monitor
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township,


One of the best resources for any plater is Modern Electroplating edited by Lowenheim. Chapter 25 deals with plating on Magnesium. Not my cup of tea, dilute vinegar will attack it. This is one that I would run lab work on using scrap parts before I committed money to a line.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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