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Classic, Vintage & Veteran For Coventry and Meriden Models. Anything pre-Hinckley goes.

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Follow up on zinc plating issues

A few months back, there was a thread where somebody was trying the do-it-yourself zinc plating process with vinegar, epsom salts and sugar and what having a terrible time with everything coming out black. He was given the correct instructions regarding the process, but still everthing came out black.

I've been doing this process for several years now and am in the process of plating the cad plated parts on my '66 with zinc since all the cad is gone (Yeah, I know it's not correct). I'd never run into his problem but suspected his voltage was too high. 1.5 VDC is the upper limit from what I've learned in reading and talking to others.

Well yesterday, I was doing some parts and ran into the exact same problem. As it turned out, a few of the parts in the bath lost electrical connectivity and this changes the current and voltage for the process. The voltage was closer to 2.5 VDC when I looked and sure enough, my parts were black and mottled. I scrubbed the surface with a brass brush and put it back in the bath at the correct settings and it came out fine.

So, it would appear that whoever was having the problem was either not monitoring his voltage or not controlling it properly and that was the cause for his black, mottled outcome.

Not sure if he's lurking here, but regardless, this should help others that run into this in the future.

regards,
Rob
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've been plating parts with "Electroless Nickel", really easy, prepare the parts then just simmer them in the solution in a stainless pan.
Once buffed, they look the same a chrome and I'm getting up to 4 thou thickness.
I always take the easy way out
The spanner is a new chrome one for comparison and the two bolts are straight from the plating bath, unbuffed.

.
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Follow up on zinc plating issues-p1040187.jpg   Follow up on zinc plating issues-p1050574.jpg   Follow up on zinc plating issues-p1050576.jpg   Follow up on zinc plating issues-p1040195.jpg  
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Cafe Racer View Post
I've been plating parts with "Electroless Nickel", really easy, prepare the parts then just simmer them in the solution in a stainless pan.
Once buffed, they look the same a chrome and I'm getting up to 4 thou thickness.
I always take the easy way out
The spanner is a new chrome one for comparison and the two bolts are straight from the plating bath, unbuffed.

.
What chemicals are you using?

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Old 01-31-2012, 11:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I echo that question. I'm curious if you use a home brew or buy the chemicals from a plating supplier. Electroless nickel is a common process used on custom race guns. It is a glide metal and helps prevent corrosion. And it does not peel like electroplated nickel.

As a general rule, nickel has a little more yellow tint to it than chrome. Chrome is actually laid over nickel and it is the chrome that gives the final look a bluish tint.

If you have a home brew that works well, it would be nice of you to publish the recipe and the process steps.

regards,
Rob
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Second that. Ive been using snakeoils zinc set up but would love to mix up the bling with some nickel
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I buy the chemical from here in Oz http://www.janekits.com.au/mainframe.php

The process couldn't be simpler, I clean, acid wash the parts in dilute sulphuric acid, wash in detergent till I get a complete water sheet on the surface (no grease) then hang then in the solution.
There is an ideal temp but I found if I simply keep it at the temp where water vapour just comes off the surface, thats about right.
Simmer for between 40 and 100 minutes depending on how thick you want the plating.
As there are no electrodes, the plating is completely uniform even inside hollow parts.
It's the best thing I've found in years & has been a godsend for the Daytona progect.
It's clear white when polished, no yellow at all. Looks like chrome.
The processs is used in major industry these days and the plating can be hardened significantly (they commonly use it for hydraulic rams)
I was lucky enough to obtain a pdf document with some very interesting data which I have attached here.
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File Type: pdf Electroless nickel_tr16_020707131158.pdf (220.6 KB, 451 views)
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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thanks for the info. Do you do the heat treating afterward?
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Brownells is a gun parts and gunsmith supply house in the US with whom I've done business for years. Here is a link to their electroless nickel products.

http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1...NICKEL-PLATING

Caswell is another outfit I've done business with once. Bought their tank sealing product. They are primarily a plating supply house. Here's a link to their electroless nickel kits.

http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/electroless.htm

It would be nice to be able to compare the chemicals used in each of the processes as well as OCR's process. Price variation is significant.

regards,
Rob
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just ordered one tonight and can hardly wait. It looks really simple.

I bought the regular electrode kit from Caswell a few years ago, but only got half way through setting it up before the ADD kicked in.

Last edited by motobob; 02-01-2012 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dl.allen View Post
thanks for the info. Do you do the heat treating afterward?
No heat treat required, just buff the parts that show.
Thing is if everything is kept really clean the solution lasts & lasts.
It comes as a concentrate that I dilute about 4:1 with distilled water.
As it boils off I just keep adding more water, the nickel stays in the mix.

.

Last edited by Old Cafe Racer; 02-01-2012 at 01:45 AM.
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