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topic 59233

Protecting chuck from corrosion when doing brush plating on lathe- mounted work

April 10, 2013

Q. I operate a nickel brush plating operation for restoring mounting surfaces of bearing components. The components to be plated are held in a steel 3 jaw lathe chuck which is mounted to a turning head spindle. The chuck is exposed to plating chemicals which include acid for etching. The acid attacks the steel surfaces of the chuck and causes corrosion/difficult operation. Is there an inert protective coating that can be applied to the chuck surfaces to prevent corrosion? I have been using Teflon but the coating quickly breaks down on sliding surfaces within the chuck.
Thanks to anyone for advice.

Mike Ward
Toolmaker - Whittier, California, USA

April 11, 2013

A. Hi Mike. Electroless nickel, or an electroless nickel with Teflon process sounds promising to me. Good luck.


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

April 17, 2013

A. I would only recommend electroless nickel if the chuck and its internal parts are made of wrought steel. In such case the layer should be rather thick, around 0.003".
If it is cast steel or worst, cast iron, EN will surely fail very soon due to the porous nature of castings. Another option would be a 0.005" thick layer of an elastic nickel such as Watts or sulphamate (over 0.005" or more) applied over properly undersized surfaces followed by a careful re-machining to original dimensions. If you can find and afford it, your best choice would be a stainless steel chuck.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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