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Surface finishes

Electroless nickel plating services

Electroless nickel plating is a process that deposits an alloy of nickel-phosphorus onto the surface of a metal. This process is chemical only, so does not involve the use of electricity.

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Surface preparation Tolerances Cosmetic availability Thickness Visual appearance
Smooth machined (Ra 1.6μm / Ra 63μin) Apply after Electroless nickel plating No 3μm to 40μm Electroless nickel plated parts will have a smooth, semi-bright appearance.

Example of an electroless nickel plated part

Example of an electroless nickel plating part
Example of an electroless nickel plating part

Design considerations for electroless nickel plating

Masking: Electroless nickel plating does not have a significant dimensional impact, therefore masking parts is not necessary.

The Protolabs Network electroless nickel plating process

Electroless nickel plating is a wear, abrasion and corrosion resistant finish that is compatible with aluminum, stainless steel and mild steel.

Here’s how to apply electroless nickel plating:

  • Parts are first washed and degreased to remove any contaminants, cleaning away any grease or oil

  • After cleaning is completed, the substrate is activated with another chemical, an acid, to remove oxides and activate the surface.

  • Parts are then dipped in the plating chemical solution, depositing the nickel-phosphorus alloy on the parts until desired thickness is reached

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