Type 3 Hard coat anodizing vs Nickel Plating on billet alloy
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    Default Type 3 Hard coat anodizing vs Nickel Plating on billet alloy

    Hi fellow Practical Machinists,

    if one were to choose a finish that would last the next 200 years which would it be: type 3 hard coat anodizing or electroless nickel plating?

    From my very limited understanding, hard coat anodizing is not a plating but embeds itself above and below the surface of the aluminum substrate. It is very scratch and impact resistant as it is more tough than the aluminum itself. Another plus is that it will not flake or peel off unlike plating.

    EN plating on the other hand is even harder and more wear resistant than HA but the drawback (if any) is weight and a potential to corrode off and/or peel?

    Please share your thoughts and experiences with both types of surface treatments.

    Type 3 hard anodizing example:



    Nickel plating example:


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    duh, I guess it depends on what you're trying to do with it.

    btw, I quite surprised by the shitty machine work on Brembo calipers. I would have expected better. Or are these Chinese Brembos?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    duh, I guess it depends on what you're trying to do with it.

    btw, I quite surprised by the shitty machine work on Brembo calipers. I would have expected better. Or are these Chinese Brembos?
    With parts made from Jb Weld....

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    All four calipers are genuine Brembos through and through. They just aren't their top of the line stuff.

    Let's say the application is for a pistol and brake caliper. Neither would be subject to salt water.

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    Default Type 3 Hard coat anodizing vs Nickel Plating on billet alloy

    As beautiful and warm as nickel-plate is I don’t think this is the application for it. Nickel isn’t as durable as chrome even. It scratches easily and might even blue if the brakes are used in anger.

    My vote would be to anodize those calipers.

    OT: The best use of nickel plating I can think of in the motorcycle world was on the Rickman brothers frames. They built frames, primarily for European dirt bike engines and later for Honda and Kawasaki big fours. All of their frames were gas-brazed Reynolds 531 tubing and then nickel plated. My dad has had a slough of their CRs for the Honda 750 Four. I actually got a chance to go ride dads latest last weekend.




    Even after 40 years I still think these are beautiful motorcycles. This one is dads third or fourth bike built to sell. He’s still got his original and reiterated over the weekend that it will one day be mine.





    Jeremy

    Edited: I’m now an official lifetime Tapatalk member. Unlimited pictures!!!
    Last edited by jermfab; 04-22-2020 at 10:05 AM.

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    Thanks for your thoughts. Here is some more brake porn and gorgeous machining and finishing work while we're at it.












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    edit .... Rickman Bros in New Milton:- I was born a couple of miles from the factory and lived just down the road for 40 odd years

    Electrolytes Nickel - nasty stuff on aluminium.
    It's a hi-tension covering - 1x scratch and you can watch it lift and roll back like the lid of a can of spam from my experience.

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    There must be a reason why EN plating is used in top level motorsport calipers from all the big names: AP Racing, Brembo, Alcon, Endless, etc.

    You will find them in Nascar, Formula 1, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Minotaur View Post
    There must be a reason why EN plating is used in top level motorsport calipers from all the big names: AP Racing, Brembo, Alcon, Endless, etc.

    You will find them in Nascar, Formula 1, etc.
    Probably because they think it looks nice.
    But possibly for electrical conductivity reasons too - sensors etc?

    In my drawing office days (black box - Aerospace) all the Pitot Static transducer manifolds were made with a process of:-
    2014-T6 aluminium (hard wearing to counter Customer fittings being wound in/out of the units)
    Machine complete
    Chromic anodise (.0001" thick)
    Locally Skim seating faces to remove anodise
    Alocrom/Alodine1200/Conversion coat by complete submersion*

    * This was very important for two reasons.
    1) For electrical conductivity/Bonding. Anodise is insulating and Alocrom isn't.
    2) The air gallery passageways never got fully anodised to the alocrom would "get in there" and treat the bare metal.

    Now the new generation units are made from (a lot) softer 6082-T6 and Electroless Nickel plated.
    They did it for cost-down. It saves $20 on a $8k unit.
    It is dog dirt.
    The plating doesn't even fully get to the bottom of the 7/16 or the 1/2 UNF tapped holes. Iv'e seen many where the plating lifts/peels from the thread flanks.
    NOT good for FOD.
    The air gallerys are bare and thus open to corrosion in the field.

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    For 200 years , might bear in mind, anodising can reduce fatigue life significantly, if there's cyclic loads. Mightn't be much of a consideration on racing brake calipers, but short of beryllium, they're disposable items in the upper echelons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    Probably because they think it looks nice.
    But possibly for electrical conductivity reasons too - sensors etc?

    In my drawing office days (black box - Aerospace) all the Pitot Static transducer manifolds were made with a process of:-
    2014-T6 aluminium (hard wearing to counter Customer fittings being wound in/out of the units)
    Machine complete
    Chromic anodise (.0001" thick)
    Locally Skim seating faces to remove anodise
    Alocrom/Alodine1200/Conversion coat by complete submersion*

    * This was very important for two reasons.
    1) For electrical conductivity/Bonding. Anodise is insulating and Alocrom isn't.
    2) The air gallery passageways never got fully anodised to the alocrom would "get in there" and treat the bare metal.

    Now the new generation units are made from (a lot) softer 6082-T6 and Electroless Nickel plated.
    They did it for cost-down. It saves $20 on a $8k unit.
    It is dog dirt.
    The plating doesn't even fully get to the bottom of the 7/16 or the 1/2 UNF tapped holes. Iv'e seen many where the plating lifts/peels from the thread flanks.
    NOT good for FOD.
    The air gallerys are bare and thus open to corrosion in the field.
    wow. not good, what manufacturer?

    to the OP. just a little basic 5th grade materials science... anodizing gets it's wear resistance from the formation of a thick(ish) layer of aluminum oxide. yup, same stuff as ruby, sapphire, and the stuff on your sanding disks.
    I'll let you figure out wether its any harder than nickel

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    I'm guessing that with a 200-year lifespan you are not talking about brake calipers. I favor nickel for corrosion resistance: plenty of antique/vintage machinery with nickel plated parts still out there. Anodizing is good where you need a really hard surface. So maybe its a question of "Which property matters more?"

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    And since none of the other curmudgeons chimed in, you're giving us a rash when you call extruded or wrought bar stock "billet". Bembo is not a rolling mill, they don't buy billet to make their parts. They buy plate, rod or flat stock.

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    Application and service environment needed. High temp but clean air? Less hot, but abbrasive environment (deserts)? Both?
    Make your anodize too thin and it wears through.
    Make it too thick in a fatigue environment and it'll drive cracks right down through the base material.
    I wonder what hard chrome would do to service life? Might not be good for heat dissipation though.
    The pictured items have elstomer components, those are going to last ?10? years if taken care of, less with heat.
    Don't want to do all surfaces either. Having anodize ride on anodize tends to result in those previously mentioned super hard particles rubbing off and making an extremely fine abbrasive slurry on a long term basis. Might be better than the alternatives, but worth mentioning.
    Is the goal to maintain function, keep it pretty, or both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyanidekid View Post
    wow. not good, what manufacturer?

    to the OP. just a little basic 5th grade materials science... anodizing gets it's wear resistance from the formation of a thick(ish) layer of aluminum oxide. yup, same stuff as ruby, sapphire, and the stuff on your sanding disks.
    I'll let you figure out wether its any harder than nickel
    Something to keep in mind is the thickness of the coating. Basic anodizing solutions donate oxygen to the aluminium oxide being formed, but aluminium is provided by the part. Hence the thickness is limited to whatever can be while still giving access to the aluminium in the part. Kind of similar to black iron oxide coating, which is very thin. On the other hand electro plated or electroless nickel coatings can be made as thick as desired since the source of nickel is the solution, so the thickness just keeps building. And thickness matters. The difference between decorative chrome and hard chrome is thickness and hard chrome is way more wear resistant than decorative, because with thick enough coat the surface gets the properties of coating material; rather than the hardness and wear resistance of underlying material.

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    The brembo shit is obviously meant to appeal to those who like shiny shit without function. All that machining of 3 D features with a ball mill could have been cast into a part with more corrosion resistance than the fabled "billet". And no, this shit is NOT used in F1. The OPs 9th pic shows a F1 caliper. It's carbon fiber.

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    i have used calipers with a golden coating that if i remember was TIN. it was unscratchable by screwdrivers and such. im sure that today there are other similar options. another interesting process is anodize with teflon, nice for the bores. its gray.

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    I'd hard anodize and in BLACK as its the best colour for conducting heat (or it was when I was at school in the 60's

    As for the rough machining, there speaks someone who has never seen / can't remember, Italian motorcycles and cars of the 70s.

    4X was some of Ducati's machining rough!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdmidget View Post
    The brembo shit is obviously meant to appeal to those who like shiny shit without function. All that machining of 3 D features with a ball mill could have been cast into a part with more corrosion resistance than the fabled "billet". And no, this shit is NOT used in F1. The OPs 9th pic shows a F1 caliper. It's carbon fiber.
    the carbon fiber you see on that caliper is not for structural purposes, it is used for air direction and housing oil lines and possibly some sensor wiring, the caliper itself is aluminum

    and casting makes sense for serial production, in F1 context, there will be maybe 10 of each made per year, it makes all the sense in the world to machine them, and no one cares about the tool marks on them, they must be made to spec and on time, that is all that matters, that, and that they must last the distance and a bit to be safe, and designs sometimes change quite quickly, and it would take too long to cast a new piece just because some feature had to be moved or changed - simply - if casting would have been beneficial in any way - they would have done it

    hard anodizing does flake, not in big chunks, but still does, and it is because of repeated heat/cool cycles, oxide layer has 1/5 of the aluminums heat expansion coefficient, rarely happens with calipers, it is an "issue" on brake bells, issue is in quotes because it really isn't, it just happens, they last the distance they are meant for and that is it, the problems arise when someone thinks that it is a great idea to use them on road cars...

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    i thought f1 calipers were beryllium.


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