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Image of racks of parts in an electroplating solution

3M Extreme Masking Tapes for electroplating

Electroplating method requires chemically resistant masking tapes that can also withstand churning in the electrolyte solution without edge lift – our extreme masking tapes deliver.


Take charge of your electroplating process

You take pride in parts that look their best, and you know a great finish relies on a great start. Start with masking tapes that work as hard as you do. Conformability, adhesion, chemical resistance, removability – 3M Extreme Masking Tapes have the extreme performance features you need to deliver results that are up to your standards.

  • Icon of a shield representing Reliability

    High chemical resistance prevents the electroplating solution from bleeding through the tape to streak or spot the masked area.

  • Icon of an increasing bar graph representing Performance

    Excellent conformability helps mask a variety of part geometries and irregular surfaces while strong adhesion prevents edge lift and curling.

  • Icon of three arrows forming a circle and representing Productivity

    One-piece clean removal with no adhesive residue or slivering helps reduce cleanup and unlike liquid masking, there’s no cure time before plating.

  • Diagram captioning metal ion transfer from the plating material at the anode to the cathode

    Electroplating deposits a thin layer of metal onto the surface of a work piece, which is typically a less expensive metal or even a plastic. Electroplating is used to provide a decorative finish or impart corrosion or abrasion resistance to a part. The electroplating process involves dipping the part to be electroplated into a chemical bath containing the dissolved plating metal and applying an electrical current. This causes the metal in the solution to be attracted to the part, forming an outer layer of the plating metal.

    Electroplated parts are extremely durable and often used in military, aerospace and automotive applications. The duration of the chemical bath controls the thickness of the coating. Chemical baths can last from minutes to hours or even days.

3M Extreme Masking Products for electroplating

While our go-to masking tapes for electroplating reliably handle most processes, you may need a more specialised tape depending on your surface or the temperature of your electrolyte bath. Find more information about 3M Extreme Masking Tape products using the tabs below.

Go-to electroplating tapes

Go-to electroplating tapes

These general-purpose tapes provide exceptional resistance to most electroplating chemicals and have non-silicone adhesives to minimize the risk of silicone contamination while offering clean removal from many substrates.

  • Image of two different-width rolls of 3M™ Electroplating Tape 470
    3M™ Electroplating Tape 470/470L
    • Made exclusively for electroplating baths
    • Conformable backing for masking many irregular surfaces
    • For solution temperatures up to 250°F (121°C)

    3M™ Electroplating Tape 470

  • Image of two different-width rolls of 3M™ Lead Foil Tape 421
    3M™ Lead Foil Tape 421/420
    • Conductive backing attracts current uniformly for more consistent metal deposition
    • Can be burnished to prevent build-up of plating material at edges, reducing rework
    • For solution temperatures up to 225°F (107°C)

    3M™ Lead Foil Tape 421

    3M™ Lead Foil Tape 420

Other electroplating tapes

Other electroplating tapes

These tapes provide excellent masking for specific electroplating situations.

  • Image of two different-width rolls of 3M™ Vinyl Tape 471
    3M™ Vinyl Tape 471/4712
    • Unique backing properties allow the tape to remain stretched to conform without lifting
    • Yellow for easy identification
    • For solution temperatures up to 170°F (70°C)

    3M™ Vinyl Tape 471

  • Image of two different-width rolls of 3M™ Aluminum Foil Tape 425
    3M™ Aluminum Foil Tape 425/427
    • Dead soft aluminum foil backing conforms to curved and uneven surfaces
    • Strong adhesive resists edge lifting in turbulent baths
    • For solution temperatures up to 300°F (149°C)

    3M™ Aluminum Foil Tape 425

    3M™ Aluminum Foil Tape 427

Meet the expert

  • Image of Meredith Opatz, Application Engineering Specialist for 3M Specialty Tapes

    Meredith Opatz

    • Application Engineering Specialist, 3M Specialty Tapes

    • How long have you worked on harsh environment processes and solutions for 3M? I’ve been at 3M for over 10 years – I started in our Regulatory department and I’ve been an application engineer for around 9 years. I started with powder coating and progressively picked up other harsh environments such as anodization.

    • What is the greatest challenge a masking tape has to meet in an electroplating process? The electroplating process can be quite aggressive with turbulent bath chemistries and an electrical current. Masking tapes can be immersed for several hours with the expectations of staying stuck and in place, sealing out plating solutions.

    • When would I use a foil tape over an alternate backing, such as polyester or vinyl? Foil backings provide additional conductivity which draws electrical current uniformly across the part, providing a more consistent coating. This process is sometimes called “thieving”.

    • What do you love about your job? I never knew such a job existed. It is like going behind the scenes of “how’s it made” every day. I support several products that go into dozens of unique and different applications that people may or may not know about. It allows me to be creative and learn something new on a daily basis. I get to work one-on-one with customers to help them improve their processes and make their jobs easier. I’m proud of the products we create and how we influence lives.

Explore other Extreme Masking Tape applications

We're here to help.

Need help finding the right product for your project? Contact us if you need product, technical or application advice or want to collaborate with a 3M technical specialist, or give us a call at (65) 6450 8888.

Need help finding the right product for your project? Contact us if you need product, technical or application advice or want to collaborate with a 3M technical specialist, or give us a call at (65) 6450 8888.