Plating Bath Additives


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Q. Where can I learn more about additives to plating baths? I want to formulate some of my own and avoid the high prices charged by plating chemical vendors. S.P.

A. This question pops up fairly often, and competition from overseas plating vendors being what it is, it seems to be a good place to cut costs. I addressed this question a number of years ago and my response has not changed. Here is what I wrote:

“I must warn you that I do not believe in ‘home brew’ plating bath additives. I realize that whenever the invoice rolls in for your plating chemicals there is a tendency to think in terms of saving money by formulating your own. Forget it. Vendors have expended time and money developing their materials and offer support when you have problems. If you formulate your own materials, whom do you turn to for help? Yes, if you dig yourself far enough into a hole you may turn to a consultant, otherwise you are at the mercy of your in-house expertise.”