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Grey haze on electroless nickel

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  • Grey haze on electroless nickel

    Sometimes I'm getting a grey haze on the surface when I plate, it appears to be entirely superficial and it's usually easy to polish off. I have tried to experiment with the temperature, and it seems like a higher temperature makes it worse but it will still appear at lower temperatures. I mixed a new bath not too long ago and it happened even with fresh solution, so contamination should not be the problem. Any idea what this could be? I would like to try to lower the temperature (like 170-180 or so) to see what happens, but I may not want to see what happens... How low can you really go and still get a good nickel deposit?

  • #2
    What is the base metal ? how long are you plating ? what prep is being done prior to plating ?
    --
    Jason Vanderbroek
    315 946 1213 x116
    www.caswellplating.com

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Caswellplating_Jason View Post
      What is the base metal ? how long are you plating ? what prep is being done prior to plating ?
      It's gun parts, so it's slightly different steel alloys. I polish to a mirror sheen, degrease, rinse well and do the water break test and plate for 15-20 minutes. After some more testing, it seems like lowering the temperature helps. So what's the lowest temperature you can use?

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      • #4
        Due to the underwhelming response from Caswell, here's an update: I found that the problem was more than likely caused by lack of agitation. I wasn't able to confirm the temperature range, but sticking with 195 degrees and agitating by moving the parts around every 2-3 minutes appears to eliminate the hazing almost entirely. My next step is to build some form of mechanical agitator, not sure when this will happen but at least I can limp along now.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Deer Hollow View Post
          It's gun parts, so it's slightly different steel alloys. I polish to a mirror sheen, degrease, rinse well and do the water break test and plate for 15-20 minutes. After some more testing, it seems like lowering the temperature helps. So what's the lowest temperature you can use?
          For an EN Plate, 15-20 minutes, if everything else i correct, will only yield a 0.00025" thick (thin) plate.. I EN plate an hour to get a 0.001" thick plate.. That might be some of the problem..
          Charles.
          Charles

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JAGXK120DHC View Post

            For an EN Plate, 15-20 minutes, if everything else i correct, will only yield a 0.00025" thick (thin) plate.. I EN plate an hour to get a 0.001" thick plate.. That might be some of the problem..
            Charles.
            Correct, but you can only put so much nickel on a gun before you run into problems and I believe most gun platers stay within .0003”-.0005”. Caswell recommends 15 minutes for "indoor decorative applications" and 30 minutes for "hand tools, hand guns", and I have found that I run into fit issues if I run it any longer than that. Some guns can take it, but I work mostly on tightly fitted Colt revolvers and it can be a bugger to install, for example, a side plate if I let it go as long as 30 minutes. Even at 15 minutes I have to mask pivot pins and holes in triggers, hammers etc on many guns, so one hour would be way too much. 0.25 mil doesn't sound like much, but the EN nickel is so tough that you don't really need much more than that to get a durable coat for this particular purpose.

            Originally posted by Caswell's manual
            Electroless nickel plates at an approx. rate of 1 mil (1/1000") per hour. Indoor decorative applications will need approx. 0.25 mil or 15 min. of plating. General outdoor items (hand tools, hand guns) should receive 0.5 mils or 30 min. Items requiring high corrosion resistance should receive 1 mils or 60 min.
            In any case. The problem appears to be inadequate agitation, haven't had any problems since I addressed that.

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