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Best spec for Electroless Nickel Finish for Zinc Diecast Part


I have a zinc diecast part (connector backshell) and I want to specify an electroless nickel finish on the part. What specification (Mil-C-26074 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet], ASTM B656 [withdrawn 2000], ASTM B733 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet], AMS2404 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet], AMS2405 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet] ) is more widely used for zinc parts? How does one specify the thickness and/or the heat treatment for the finish (I'm too cheap to buy the specifications)?

I am thinking that I would use a low or medium phosphorus type (less resistance for emi purposes) with no heat treatment (maybe cheaper?). Since the part is zinc, do I have to copper flash the part? What would be the best callout for that process? I am looking for the most cost effective solution for the part. Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.

John B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rohnert Park, California

February 28, 2009

Hi, John. Yes, you may need a copper flash before the electroless nickel, although an alkaline electroless nickel strike may be an alternative.

Pick a local plating shop that claims to do electroless nickel on zinc diecastings, then sit with them to plan the process and write a plating specification. Whether cheap or extravagant, in this litigatious age nobody can afford to write that the plating shall comply with a spec that they haven't seen. Just picture yourself on the witness stand :-)


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

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