plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Repair scratches in electroless nickel plated components
June 26, 2012
Q. We received some electroless nickel plated pipes with 25 microns thick plating, 10.5% phosphorus. There are some minor scratches that occurred during handling. Client is not accepting the pipes. Is there any way to spray or touch up the scratched spots without re-plating the entire pipes?Lekshminarayanan S
Owner - Vadodara, Gujarat, India
A. None that I would accept as a customer. You might be able to polish out scratches that are truly MINOR. Will the customer accept it at a reduced price? In the future I would wrap the pipes in paper to protect the surface until you need to take it off. If the scratches were caused by a pipe wrench or pliers, switch to a band wrench.James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
A. I generally agree with Jim Watts, but this time I think he forgot about brush plating, it was developed exactly for those situations and is widely accepted by many customers in many industrial fields (including military and aerospace) as a valid localized repair technique for several platings, including electroless nickel. I would review its viability and discuss it with your customer depending on the purpose of the original plating and previous experiences.
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
A. Nope, I did not forget it. I assumed that this was a cosmetic issue. Few brush platers can match the color and reflectivity of good EN. The long term solution is to prevent the scratches.
I could be wrong. He needs to talk to his customer about options.
Pictures might help with the definition of minor.
- Navarre, Florida
July 12, 2012
Q. Hi James / Guillermo,
Thanks for the response. Could you please share with me the details of the touch up product? Web site of manufacturer, data sheets or any info? I appreciate your support. In my judgement, scratches are of two kinds: (i) those that existed on pipes prior to nickel plating (ii) some superficial scratches that occurred after plating because of handling. I will try to touch up with the product that you suggested and see if it improves the situation. Actually client himself suggested that we find some touch up product for local application.
It's a long story, but we don't like to post recommendations or testimonials to particular manufacturers here. But we have added a banner at the bottom of the page which links to brush plating suppliers who support this website, and you can google "brush plating" for additional suppliers. You can also see some brush plating videos on youtube. The most authoritative reference to brush plating is surely Marv Rubinstein's "Electrochemical Metallizing" if you can find a library or a friend who has it .
The book is 100% about brush plating -- Marv just hated that phrase, so he coined his own name for it :-) Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Thanks for the links. One of them has a representative in India! I contacted him already. Thanks again for the wonderful guidance. I do appreciate it.