Hard chrome plating I.D. of small tubes
A discussion started in 1999 & continuing through 2017 -- add your Q to bring it back to the Hot Topics page.(1999)
Q. We need to achieve hard chrome plated steel tubes.
The dimensions are as under
- Inside diameter : 2 mm to 6 mm
- wall thickness : 10 mm to 15 mm
- length : 900 mm
The chrome plating is needed on the inside diameter only thickness required is about 25 microns. good finish on the ID and dimensional accuracy is required for the IDNitin Kibe
- Pune, India
A. To do this will require an electrode inserted down through the bore. With the length you have and the very small size of the bore it will be almost impossible to do.
The electrode will be so small to clear the walls that it will have no rigidity.
Why do you need chrome?
It might be better to consider electroless nickel. Not as hard as chrome unless you can harden by heat treatment but the process does not require any electrode or auxiliary fixturing.
- Southampton, England, UK
A. Hi Nitin.
If you like to plate a so small inside diameter. Is better to use a Platinum (Pt anode or silver thread anode. plant the anode in the middle of the diameter and tighten with CPVC and pull firm the anode with plastic screw. You can't use lead anode because the current can't go through a lead anode in this small diameter, and you may also get a roughness in chromium deposit if you uses lead anode. Use a current about 20 ampere per /dm2. I'd also recommend a little agitation in the chromium solution. But it's easier to plate electroless nickel in your case.
3rd Generation in Plating
Consultant - Arvika, Sweden
A. I am a skeptic! For most parts, it would be commercially unfeasible to try to put a thousands of chrome inside a 3 foot tube that is only 0.080" in dia. The definition of "uniform" adds a lot to whether it is practical.
Unless there is some drastic reason, I would look at using pumped EN for this job.James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
February 18, 2014
A. I am a hard chrome plater and I plate the id of tubes about 3 feet long. I put about a 1/2 thousandth per side. I use steel rod as a anode and I pump chrome through the tube. Its not a stagnant bath. Short reverse etch then 1 1/2 amps per square inch for 1/2 hour. If you don't use a pump you'll burn the tube with a stagnant bath. I check to see if I have chrome throughout the whole tube using copper sulfate then a boroscope. I then check the thickness with am id mic. Hope this helpsJason harris
- Tucson Arizona usa
November 28, 2014
I AM HARD CHROME PLATER & I WANT TO DO HARD CHROME PLATING INSIDE COPPER TUBE SHAFT. THE BORE OF COPPER TUBE IS 6 mm. x Length 24". AND REQUIRED PLATING THICKNESS .05 mm. Can anyone help how to do that and what type of anode and jig fixture to make.
- JODHPUR, RAJASTHAN INDIA
? Hi Ashok. Almost nothing is impossible, but many things are impractical, and this sounds like it might be one of them :-)
Can you tell us what this project is about so people can perhaps suggest what they think might be other practical approaches, like maybe copper plating a stainless steel tube?
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
November 29, 2014
A. Hi Ashok
It is possible but not easy. This is very similar to the problem of chrome plating inside rifle barrels.
Firstly, it is not possible to use a conventional lead anode. It will not carry the current without overheating and the resistance means that the voltage, and therefore the current, drops along the length.
The solution is to use a copper wire anode to carry the current which must be plated with a reasonably thick layer of lead. Anode current is fed from both ends and a spring tensioner is needed to keep it straight as well as a jig to keep it central.
In addition, it is necessary to pump the solution through the tube to avoid chemical depletion.
At least the copper tube should be relatively simple to pre-clean
December 26, 2014
A. How about electroless nickel guys! Sounds more practical.
All the best.
- Chandigarh, India
January 5, 2015
A. Your part is almost identical in dimension to an M-16 rifle barrel, which have been plated by the thousands and millions.
I don't know how many different shops plated those barrels, but the one shop I visited used lead coated steel wire as the internal anode. The barrel was held in a fixture, and the wire pulled taut and centered in the bore. Barrel and fixture were completely immersed, and the steel wire was thereby kept cool enough to do the job.
Thanks Jeffrey. You're right that 6 mm isn't that small; I, for one, was picturing it wrong.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"
February 24, 2015
A. Well what is the quantity to be Chrome Plated?
I have Internally Zn Plated up to 50 microns on internal diameter of 12 mm Tube of Length 2000 mm. I would suggest if you can find a source for spiral wound lead wire on an 2.5 mm diameter steel rod this would increase the Surface area of the said Anode mounted on an insulated fixture with screw type adjustment so as to tighten the Anode. Use perforated fixtures and air agitation for this process.
- Belgaum,karnataka, India
Chrome Plating Small Tubing I.D.June 30, 2017 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I HAVE A NEED TO CHROME PLATE THE ID OF 3 ALUMINUM BRONZE TUBES WITH FINISH id OF 0.842", 1.053" AND 2.385". WE HAVE TO BUILD UP ID 0.010" ON DIAMETER. THE TUBES AR 15.500" LONG.
WE ARE TRYING TO USE A BASE COAT OF 0.008" COPPER AND A FINISH COAT 0.002" OF HARD CHROME.
WE ARE DO COPPER FIRST AND MACHINING TO SIZE FOR CHROME BUT ARE HAVING PROBLEMS GETTING AN EVEN AND CLEAN COAT OF CHROME.
ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE APPRECIATED
TOOL SHOP FOR PLASTICS INDUSTRY - SANTO DOMINGO
July 13, 2017
Use a pump from a chrome bath which has the right temperature and let it flow back again into the bottom of the pipe to the chrome bath. The anode should be close enough to the area which shall be plated. If you not have a lead anode, nickel plated iron can be used as an anode.
Sundman & Nylander AB
July 15, 2017
A. Hi George
The process is well known for plating inside rifle barrels
Pumping the solution through the tube is easy but be prepared for leaks etc.
The anode is the main challenge. Lead has a relatively high electrical resistance and there can be a significant voltage drop along the anode. Two possibilities. Feed current from both ends and use a copper or brass rod coated with lead.
The anode can get hot and expand causing it to bow and short circuit to the tube walls so your centering arrangement should include some sort of spring tensioner.
July 15, 2017
A. Plating hard chrome in gun barrels, shotguns and rifles, is done every day.
The installations I have seen did not need pumps as the gas flow brings fresh solution into the barrels.
The anode is high strength steel wire, lead coated.