We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Mechanical Plating?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Mechanical plating is a method that can be used to coat the surface of an object with various metals. Unlike electroplating, mechanical plating uses a physical peening action to achieve the effect. The workpieces are typically placed into a drum that has been filled with a plating medium, and the drum is then agitated. As the particles in the plating medium strike the objects that have been placed in the drum, a thin layer of less than 0.001 inches (0.025 mm) will be peened into place. The similar mechanical galvanizing process uses the same method to create thicker layers.

One of the reasons that certain fasteners are plated with other metals is to guard against corrosion. Plating can protect a component by preventing harmful elements from reaching it, or by acting as a sacrificial metal. Electroplating can introduce hydrogen into certain metal components though, which tends to lead to a phenomenon called hydrogen embrittlement. Mechanical plating does not introduce hydrogen in this manner, and it is typically less costly to perform as well. The main limitation of the method is the size of the workpieces it can be used with, as excessively large or small items may be damaged during tumbling.

The entire mechanical plating process can take place within a tumbler coated with some type of protective material such as plastic or rubber. Each workpiece is typically cleaned before mechanical plating takes place, so it is often tumbled with a degreasing or descaling agent first. In some cases, the workpieces will then be conditioned prior to the actual plating phase, which may result in an initial coating of copper. These steps may be left out if the starter contained in the final plating media contains cleaning or conditioning agents.

After the workpieces have been prepared, the final plating media can be added to the tumbler. This is typically a mixture of glass or ceramic beads, water and fine copper, zinc or tin dust. When the tumbler is activated, the glass or ceramic beads are repeatedly struck against the workpieces. Each of these hits can cause some of the metallic dust to be peened onto the workpiece that was struck. Over the course of about an hour, a layer that is typically less than 0.001 inches (0.025 mm) can be cold welded onto the surface of each workpiece, while mechanical galvanizing can use more media and time to achieve thicker coatings.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.