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topic 0760

Hard chrome plating of rods


I am interested in finding specific information in regards to HARD CHROME plating for rods. Need info on solution composition, anode type and distance from the workpiece, also voltage level and amperage per area requirements. Any info or suggestions will be appreciated.

Steve Carlisle

Hi, Steve. I think Guffie's "Hard Chrome Plating" might be the reference you are asking for. Good luck!


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



If you are not a plater, you probably do not want to start with chrome. Waste treatment has always been a problem. Now there is air quality testing and shortly there will be a health protocol that will be a real pain.

There are three common plating solutions plus several fluoride solutions plus at least one proprietary solution and several proprietary additives.

You really need to get a book on chrome plating since it is such a large amount of information to be considered.

This probably sounds like a "put down" but it is not. There are very good reasons existing chrome platers are going out of business at a ratio of 10 for every new one. In a few years I look to see it be massive companies and a few mom and pop hangers on.

In short, not a good business to get into with no experience.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


I have never hard chrome plated a single production part. Since I have a perfect record of success, I can speak as an expert. That, along with a few reprints by real experts, and I can answer your question:

Lucky for you, rod plating is particularly easy, just ask Myron Browning,who wrote "Important Considerations in Hard Chromium Plating" Plating and Surface Finishing, February 1980, or Bob Guffie and John Meng, who wrote "Trouble-shooting Decorative and Industrial Chromium Plating", also in 1980. You can probably get a reprint from Atotech (see our directory).

You should also get copies of Technical Data Bulletins on hard chrome electroplating from the major houses like Atotech, Macdermid, Enthone-OMI, etc.

The Canning Handbook, Chapter 15 is devoted to hard chrome. It will answer all of your questions.

-solution composition: many different types, but for rod, you can probably get away with a sulfate catalyzed bath of 250 g/l chromic acid at a ratio of 75:1 to 100:1.

-anode type and distance from workpiece: Lead with 6% antimony or tin. For outside diameter plating, the ideal distance is approximately 4 inches (10 cm).

- voltage and amperage/area: 6-12 volts, 1-2.5 or more amperes/square inch cathode.

tom pullizzi monitor
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township,


I am interested in finding out some details as to the future of hard chrome plating. How are operating costs going to be effected by environmental regulations? What is the expected change to operating costs related to waste removal, waste treatment, air treatment, and raw chemical purchases ? What is the expected need for capital equipment to support a future plating system, and what is the estimated cost? Is there a general cost growth rate (percentage/year) that exists ?

Ken Inda
Northwestern University - Evanston, Illinois



I could not but help noting James Watt's reply.

I think that his recommendations are 100 % and totally A.OK! He put it down very succinctly. Just in case you think 'he' and I are buddy-buddies, not so. We've have had some minor (scrubber!) disagreements in the past.

What irks me and what, maybe he doesn't know, is that some Asiatic countries couldn't give a damn about pollution and drain everything including chrome wastes via a long undersea pipe out to the ocean. Either Korea or Taiwan, I forget which. Which is why they don't fish local waters. Source? Dick Ballinger ex Court Industries about 8 years ago. ... and why doesn't the U.S. force foreign car makers to COMPLY with chrome emissions and wastes? It would make the local industry more competitive!

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

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