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topic 59199

Masking for two-tone Micron Gold Plating

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A discussion started in 2013 but continuing through 2018

March 15, 2013

Q. Hello,

I am looking for a masking product for a two tone micron gold plating production of jewelry.

What would be the best product to mask the area that is not supposed to be plated?
What product should be used to remove the mask?

This will be used in jewelry production.

Thank you in advance.

Albert K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- New York, USA

May 30, 2013

A. Albert,

One plant I worked in used a product called "Microshield" from Micro products. It was a red, solvent-based product that was like a lacquer. You can get a fine edge with this. To make it a harder finish, you need to heat it slightly for a period, then you can add multiple layers. Instructions on the can. For clean up, you can submerse the part in MEK, which quickly dissolves the masking.
However it also pollutes the MEK and you will need multiple tanks of MEK, or fresh MEK to guaranty no staining in the end. What we did was have 3 small tanks; one polluted to remove the bulk of the mask, then one to wash off the polluted MEK, and finally one virgin MEK. The polluted was eventually discarded and the middle MEK was downgraded to the polluted tank and so on.

Bob Adams
- Wellman, Iowa, USA

May 30, 2013

A. Albert

The Microshield Bob mentions works great. We used acetone to remove it and employed the same 3-step wash to remove. It may not be cost-effective in a production environment depending on the detail to be masked. Tapes, hard and soft fixtures might be an option for simple geometries.

Willie Alexander
- Colorado Springs, Colorado

February 3, 2018

Q. Hello
I d like to make a 2-tone jewelry. This is a ring with a gem stone. Only the prongs and a few filigree details need to be gold plated. Gold plating thickness should be 2.5 microns.

The prongs and filigree to be plated in gold are quite intricate and small areas.

I am capable of plating the ring completely at 2.5 micron thickness.

I could plate the ring completely with 2.5micron gold and try to mask the areas id like to keep in gold and dip the ring into rhodium plating to plate the rest of ring to achieve 2-tone. But this is costly since I am plating the areas that will be white with 2.5 micron gold (and slow).

Any idea or product or a company that you can suggest that can get the job done?
Thank you in advance.

Cem Adig
- new york, New York
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