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topic 2586

Can you make your own chrome stripper and nickel activator?


I am currently brush plating auto emblems and I am importing my gold solution, stripper and activator. My question is can I mix my own chrome stripper and nickel activator from chemicals availiable locally? Isn't it just hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid ? This could save me heaps of money.


Mark Waks
brushplating service - WA Australia


Hydrochloric acid will strip chrome, as will anodic electrocleaning.(steel cathode)

Sulfuric will activate nickel, as will cathodic treatment in acid or Wood's Nickel Strike.(carbon anode?)

Not that there is anything wrong with proprietary (patent medicine) approaches to the two problems.

tom pullizzi monitor
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township,


Dear Mark ,

Lots of things will work , but the supply houses have gone to a lot of trouble "inventing" those solutions that work best in the majority of situations and are available at the end of a telephone when you do get a problem , if you want to make your own then go ahead , but the "Tech service" from you supplier will cease , he might even not want to sell you your Gold solution !

John Tenison-Woods
John Tenison - Woods
- Victoria Australia


It seems natural to bundle several processes together, too bad chemical suppliers can't make their gold plating work only with their own cleaner. But isn't that how Microsoft got in trouble?

Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania


Dear Mark, Hydrochloric Acid at 30-50% by volume as a simple dip will strip chrome and not attack nickel unless it is an optical surface. However because of the HCl fumes a Sodium Hydroxide 20% solution at room temperature can be used to strip chrome when the part is anodic and will not hurt the nickel. As far as activating the nickel, a second separate 30-50% hydrochloric bath as a dip could activate the nickel if there is a short enough time between stripping and replating.If that doe not work then a 25% Sulfuric solution with lead anodes and the part at the cathode run 60-100 asf for 2-3 minutes possibly followed by a woods nickel strike will. For economic sake try this without the strike first. Lastly please note Mr. Tenison's letter above is correct- If you change a manufacturer's process on your own, then you are your own customer support.The Question is: Are they the best vendor for you ?

Tony Covey
- Corona, California

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