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topic 2336

Cleaning stages prior to plating


I am searching for information on cleaning stages prior to gold plating. I plate mostly brass items such as door handles, hinges, etc. The polishing medium collects in lumps around joins and screw holes. It is difficult to clean effectively, and time consuming. What methods are generally used for this problem? I have considered an ultrasound machine. Will this remove such deposits? Is there a cheaper solution?

jan dolk

Usually, the most effective cleaning method for items to be electroplated is electrocleaning. Perhaps the principal application of ultrasound is when electrocleaning cannot be used (aluminum parts, tubes which will get no cleaning 'bubbles' inside).

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


Dear Jan,

Without the proper product the equipment means very little. The key to preparing base metals is choosing the proper cleaners coupled with equipment enhancements. There is nothing better than ultrasonic cleaning for compound removal but it can be done without if you have a good cleaner.

Canning Gumm in Smithfield RI offers a beautiful line for this application. You need at least a good soak cleaner ( solution movement such as air agitation would help ) operating at a min of 160 deg F (optimum is 180 deg). The product would be CLEPO Buffex-LA or Mersol. This is followed by electrocleaning, and then a 10 % sulfuric acid or in the case of leaded brass a sulfamic and fluoride mix such as CLEPO 541-D is better since sulfuric passivates lead. From here, copper strike etc.

Randy DiSano
Canning Gumm Inc. - Smithfield,RI

Ed. note: Canning Gumm is no longer in business. Some of their product lines are now handled by Macdermid.

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