The course consists of 10 lessons. Each one contains a wealth of valuable, practical information. And if you score 70 or above on the optional exam, you’ll receive 1 credit toward certification as a Master Surface Finisher. MSF is the world’s most respected – and most widely recognized – designation for finishing industry professionals. Those passing 6 course exams earn the coveted MSF designation.

Course Options

  • Home-Study

    Tuition: $1110 | Member Tuition: $825

  • Optional Exam

    Tuition: $250 | Member Tuition: $150

  • Who Benefits?

    This training program is beneficial for operators and supervisors of contract and captive shops performing precious metal plating. The course is also beneficial for industry sales personnel.


    The goal of this course is to provide students with a broad range of information related to preparing parts for precious metal plating and to exploring each “PM” plating process, what can go wrong and how to solve plating problems.

    At the conclusion of this course, attendees can expect to:

    • Have a basic understanding of methods of preparing a wide range of substrates for plating.
    • Have knowledge of reel-to-reel plating technologies used for precious metals plating.
    • Know the basics of the sulfamate nickel plating process which is commonly applied as an under-plate for precious metal deposits.
    • Know the various types of gold plating solutions and be able to distinguish the features of each.
    • Understand other precious metals plating processes such as palladium, palladium-nickel, silver, platinum and rhodium, their chemical make-up and operational conditions.
    • Know the types of tin plating processes commonly used in the electronics industry, their chemical make-up and operational conditions.
    • Be prepared to take the examination which is part of the Foundation MSF certification program.

Course Description

1. Preparing Metals for Plating, Part 1
This lesson will provide guidance on cleaning, acid pickling and other methods of preparing substrates made of copper, zinc, “white metal” and aluminum alloys for precious metals plating.
2. Preparing Metals for Plating, Part 2
This lesson will provide guidance on cleaning, acid pickling and other methods of preparing substrates made of ferrous, nickel, and other alloys for precious metals plating.
3. Reel-to-Reel Plating
This lesson details the technologies used in continuous reel-to-reel plating systems. Included are discussions on equipment, high speed plating issues and how to calculate the maximum line speed when multiple layers of plating are specified. A special focus is given to techniques for selective plating.
4. Industrial Nickel Plating
This lesson provides detailed guidance on the sulfamate nickel plating process, including chemical make-up, operational conditions, and control of impurities. There is special focus on the impact of impurities on internal stresses in the nickel deposit. Alloys of nickel such as tin-nickel, nickel-cobalt and nickel manganese are also covered, as are strike solution formulas and their use.
5. Gold Plating
This lesson covers the major gold plating processes, including cyanide, acid, and neutral formulations. Chemical make-up, equipment, operational conditions and impurity control are major topics in this lesson. A special focus is given to minimizing porosity in gold deposits.
6. Decorative Gold Plating
This lesson will provide detailed information on decorative gold plating, especially for jewelry applications. Significant time is devoted to the discussion of coloration in gold alloy plating. Another focus of this lesson is plating gold from the sulfite process.
7. Silver Plating
This lesson provides detailed information on silver plating for jewelry and electronic applications. The lesson covers chemical make-up and operational conditions for both cyanide and non-cyanide-based silver plating solutions. Significant time is devoted to carbonate generation and treatment.
8. Palladium, Palladium-Nickel, Platinum and Rhodium Plating
Each of the titled plating processes is covered, from chemical make-up to operational conditions. A special focus is a comparison of each process and deposit with the others.
9. Tin Plating
This lesson covers tin plating from acidic and alkaline processes. Chemical make-up and operational conditions are the main focus of this lesson. A discussion of the causes and prevention of tin whiskers is provided, along with anode filming methods for the alkaline process. A focus of this lesson is solderability as it relates to tin and bright tin deposits.
10. Alternatives to Electroplating
Alternatives such as physical vapor deposition, HVOF Spray, Plasma Spray and Sputter Ion Plating are covered in this lesson. For each technology, advantages and disadvantages are discussed.