I have been told that you can plate parts using something called “mechanical plating.” What is this all about? Also would this be a good method for plating springs and other parts made of steels that are subject to hydrogen embrittlement?
The process of mechanical plating has been around for at least 50 years. You can use the process to apply a number of different metals, including tin, zinc and copper. The concept is simple and straightforward. The clean parts to be plated are mixed with metal powder and special media. The parts are then tumbled in suitable barrels. The rotation of the parts, the metal powder and the media cause the metal particles to cold weld or “peen” on the surface of the parts. Thicker deposits build up with longer times in the barrels.
Any steel parts that are subject to hydrogen embrittlement are suitable candidates for mechanical plating. The process is discussed in greater detail in the Metal Finishing Guidebook & Directory, 2000 edition. Vendors of the equipment and supplies can be found at www.pfonline.com in the Suppliers section under “Plating and Anodizing Equipment” or in the Products Finishing Directory and Technology Guide, under Mechanical Plating Equipment and Supplies.