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Plating Floating Plastic Parts

We are trying to plate small plastic parts that float in the plating solution. The parts have an electroless copper coat and must be plated with nickel and gold. We would like to barrel plate the parts rather than rack them. Do you have any suggestions as to how this can be done?
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Q. We are trying to plate small plastic parts that float in the plating solution. The parts have an electroless copper coat and must be plated with nickel and gold. We would like to barrel plate the parts rather than rack them. Do you have any suggestions as to how this can be done? I.W.

 

A. A number of people have reported successful plating of parts that “float” in a barrel. One such procedure was reported by Larry Durney in one of his early Plating Clinic columns.

  1. Use a portable barrel that has button contacts instead of dangler contacts.
  2. Completely submerge the barrel so all the air is removed. The floating parts will make contact with the buttons at the top of the barrel.
  3. Using a slow rotation speed, copper plate the parts until they sink in the barrel and maintain contact with the buttons in the bottom of the barrel.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and then transfer to the nickel plating solution.

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