The X Tiles: Anodizing vs. Metal Plating

The X Tiles: Anodizing vs. Metal Plating

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(light electronic music) – Hi, this is Greg Paulsen, and I want to briefly describe to you why I may choose metal plating on my part over something like anodize. First thing’s first, metal plating is good for any conductive material, where anodize is only good for materials like aluminum alloys,
titanium and magnesium. So if you’re working with steel,
maybe just go with plating. That’s easy, right there. But I’m really looking for this because I’m trying to
protect my part over time. So I have a, as-machined
aluminum part here. Now, this part may be prone to corrosion, or maybe it’s just not as tough as I want it to be over time. But I like aluminum because
it’s a commodity material, it’s something that I can
use, it’s easily available, and it is cheap. So, let’s mill our part in this, mill our sets of parts with this, run into production with this, it’s a great material. So, let’s give it some enhanced properties by using different finishes for it. So, I have over here a few
examples of anodized parts. I’m actually doing a dip bath that’s going to control the oxidation on the outside of this part and even sometimes implement pigmentation. So, if I do something like
a Type II clear anodize like this part in the middle here, it’s going to give it a little bit more of a matte, clouded surface finish than the natural finish here, but it does give this part
an insulated outer surface, as well as high levels
of corrosion resistance. Type II anodize is also
great for adding pigments like blues, reds, golds, purples. We have a great selection at Xometry, and we can do even more working directly with our finishing partners. Black anodize is extremely common, think for ruggedized military
environments, laser systems, things that don’t need
reflectivity to them. If you B-blast the part before anodizing, it’s gonna give it even
more of a matte surface. And then we have things
like Type III hardcoat, which adds a little bit more of a layer when you’re doing this dip
bath, and it’s gonna give it a much higher level of wear resistance. So Type III anodize is good for parts that are gonna be hitting
against each other, something in a high mechanical situation or something that’s just in
a really harsh environment. Now, on the other side of things, I can do something like
electroless nickel plating. So this part up at top here
is an E-nickel-plated part. So first off, it’s beautiful. I am actually taking an aluminum piece and I am putting a very thin
coating of nickel on top, almost like an exoskeleton. It’s increasing the corrosion resistance, it’s actually increasing
the wear resistance ’cause nickel’s a very hard, tough metal, and it’s increasing the lifetime
functionality of this part. So think about metal plating
as almost an enhancer, an exoskeleton to this. Now keep in mind, metal
plating works on conductive, it is conductive, so it’s going to have a conductive outer surface, unlike our other anodized pieces here. But I can do things like
mill something out of copper, plate it in gold, give it a better electrical
conductivity to it. I can look at metal plating to essentially take something like a 4140 steel, give it high levels of
corrosion resistance by just putting that
outer skin of metal to it, even high levels of wear resistance. So, by being able to augment
a base conductive metal and giving it the properties of whatever external metal I’m plating to, I’m able to do a lot more
things with those pieces while often saving a lot of money, versus milling directly
out of that end piece. So, when I’m looking at this, think about where my environment is, what this part’s gonna live in. Do I need electrical conductivity? Maybe I use plating. Do I need an insulator? Maybe I use anodized. Do I need it pigmented? Maybe I look at a Type II anodize for it. I hope this helped out. If you have any more
questions I’m happy to help. Go to, take
a look at our resources, or just shoot me a line. Thanks so much.

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