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topic 12175

Seeking Touch Up Pen for Zinc Plating and Chromate

A discussion started in 2000 but continuing through 2018


Q. I restore old radio equipment as a hobby and I am frequently faced with a vexing problem. Equipment from the 1950's and 1960's with steel chassis that have been yellow zinc chromate finished frequently have pits and small rust spots. While I certainly can remove the rust without much of a problem, I also remove the finish at the same time. With complex pieces of equipment it is impossible to strip the chassis and have the piece refinished. Is there a touch up kit that will do a "reasonable" repair on yellow chromate finished steel? If yes, is this solution as toxic as the cyanide based products of 30 years ago?

Lance Wilson
- Scottsdale, Arizona


A. Hi Lance. I'm personally not much in favor of plating except in an industrial environment but, yes, there are brush-plating kits you could use to zinc plate from a cyanide-free electrolyte and then yellow chromate. Good luck.

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


RFQ: I am looking for some kind of touch up pen or spray for Yellow Zinc Chromate to repair scratches and scuffs.

Mike B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Memphis, Tennessee, USA
^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
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July 31, 2012

RFQ: Was there ever any response to the question about a Chromate touch-up pen? I, too, have a need, as we deal with a great deal of yellow chromate treated parts?

Chris R. Pegues
metal Products, sheet metal - Beaverton, Oregon, USA
^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
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August 2, 2012

A. Hi Chris.

The site's supporting advertisers respond in private to commercial inquiries like Mike's because it gets messy and spammy to have suppliers soliciting business in a public forum, sometimes even posing as satisfied customers. So please see our Directory of Chemicals for potential sources, or there will usually be Plating Distributors listed in your local yellow pages who can assist you.

In terms of technical responses, it will depend on whether you need to touch up only the chromate conversion coating or the underlying zinc plating as well (remember that chromate does not function directly on steel).

If you need to repair the zinc, which is the usual case, brush plating is a possibility (topics 12175, 4887 and 46537).

If you only need to repair the chromate, Robert Probert offers a "swab on" suggestion using a Q-tip in topic 55478 for cadmium surfaces, and for aluminum in topic 40706, which you can extend to zinc surfaces. There is a pen on the QPL for touch up of chromate conversion coatings on aluminum (Henkel "ALODINE 1132 TOUCH-N-PREP PEN"), which may or may not do a satisfactory chromate repair on zinc. Such repairs are usually not very cosmetic so, with your customer's permission, you may find that indelible marker pens do a better job where the issue is merely cosmetic.

Luck and Regards,

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

ASTM B633 Touch Up Pen For Zinc Chromate

December 5, 2012

Q. Is there such a thing as a pen that you can use to touch up zinc chromate?
We have some parts several thousand a year that we send out for plating. They are zinc plated then post baked then pickled then chromated. Is there a pen we can use to touch up the part even if the scratch is all the way thru the plating and into the part?
We use a two part paint and hardener now and paint it on with a brush, but it is a pain doing this and we waste a lot of paint because it dries up so fast. Our spec is ASTM B633 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet] .
Any help would be great.

Lori Brinson
- Springboro, Ohio

Touch up Pen or Brush on for Zinc Black Chromate Plating

February 5, 2018

RFQ: I have several steel parts that have been processed with Zinc Black Chromate Plating.
Like many manufactures we found an issue during assembly that required minor repairs.
Now we have some minor bare spots and scratches the are mostly a cosmetic issue.

My question is there anyway to touch this areas up?

A Black Zinc pen, paint either spray or brush or maybe some other method someone could share?

Thank you.

Ken Groth, Division Manger
- Rochester New York USA

July 19, 2018

Q. I have the same question. Often I have parts black zinc'd and they come back from the plater in need of minor, but necessary, touch up. Sending them back to the plater often costs time and associated paper work that can upset a production schedule as well as my own. If there is a touchup pen available or some other method of repair I would love to hear about it. Also, do the voids in the black affect the corrosion protection significantly?

Richard Webb
Sheetmetal Mfg - Lisle, Illinois

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