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"Can Electroless Nickel Plating be Machined ?"

Current question:

July 16, 2021 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We are doing Electroless Nickel since last 4-5 years on various base metal components made from Brass, M S Alloy steel. Sir, can we do machining, turning, hobbing, etc., on Electroless Nickel plated parts? We faced a problem of peel off. Electroless Nickel is 12-13 microns. Is it advisable to machine after Electroless Nickel?
Please guide us.

Suresh C. Mamtora
Job plater - Rajkot India

July 2021

A. Hi Suresh. We appended your inquiry to one of several threads here about machining of electroless nickel (please use the search engine to find others). Grinding, diamond turning, and honing are doable. Conventional machining probably not in most cases.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Closely related historical postings, oldest first:


I'm the plating manager in our plant and need help on the ENi process. We plate a high phos. Electroless nickel over carbon steel and over SS with good adhesion, but one of our clients needs to machine the parts after 25 to 50 µm. and the nickel comes off during the machining process.

What can we do ?

Any help will be appreciated. Thank you. Enrique

Enrique Segovia
- Monterrey, Mexico


Electroless nickel can even be diamond turned for the ultimate in smooth surfaces. It sounds like your electroless nickel simply doesn't have enough adhesion and that you will need to investigate the pretreatment and plating processes.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Grinding and honing are not uncommon on EN. With lots of coolant.

Heat treated EN is basically too hard for conventional machining. Carbide or ceramic inserts will cause a lot of failures.I suspect that they are taking large cuts and are crushing the nickel. Also, they could be generating enough heat by the wrong coolant or not enough. I would start checking my preplate quality with the most stringent adhesion test you have access to. If you can do repetitive 180 degree bends to metal failure with minor flaking at the break and no peelback, you have good EN and the problem is in the machine shop. If not, it is in your shop or a combination of both shops.

Unfortunately, plating is the whipping boy in most machine shops.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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