Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of this month's Bike of the Month Challenge!

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone had any experience with "home" electroplating? I'm debating on trying one of these kits for plating bolts and small parts. Looking for experiences, positive, negative and catastrophic :eek:

Also, if one was to go this route, would tin plating be the best "one hit" solution? or maybe zinc, or nickle?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,034 Posts
hey jtt this is next on my list http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/zinc.htm . i've had to divide my money and time restoring this bike between it and my kitchen remodel .

my goal is to do everything but the machine work myself .

this coming week it's the granite counters and next week it's the plating kit and frame paint .

i'll do a write up when i get it .

cheers , Woody
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Woody, make sure your score yourself a extra scrap slab of the granite from the counter top! It makes a great flat surface for lapping parts, such as cylinder heads and clutch plates ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
601 Posts
Has anyone had any experience with "home" electroplating? I'm debating on trying one of these kits for plating bolts and small parts. Looking for experiences, positive, negative and catastrophic :eek:

Also, if one was to go this route, would tin plating be the best "one hit" solution? or maybe zinc, or nickle?
Jtt,

Back in the day, lets say, around 1920 or so, everyone did plating
at home and no one thought much about it. Most of the chemicals
used in home kits are pretty safe, but they do look like cool-aid.
So keep them away from kids. The hardest part of plating is
getting the voltage right. A little trial and error you will get it right.

Plating is just like paint, the finished product is based on the prep
work. So take your time on prep. I would also suggest that a
dull nickel would give the best results. Zinc with get a whitish
oxide on it. Bight nickel is cheap and easy, but gives up in the
weather in a few years. The dull nickel gets its name because it
comes out of the bath dull and then has to be buffed up to shine.
The buffing process seals the metal so it is better protected. Gets
a look of chrome when done right.

If you can find a copy of, "The Compleat Talking Machine" by
Eric L. Reiss, ISBN 0-911572-55-4 he cover home plating for
small parts such as bolt and brackets. I know the book does not
cover motorcycles, but it does all apply.

Pookybear
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks pookey. I'll look into that book too!

Jtt,

Back in the day, lets say, around 1920 or so, everyone did plating
at home and no one thought much about it. Most of the chemicals
used in home kits are pretty safe, but they do look like cool-aid.
So keep them away from kids. The hardest part of plating is
getting the voltage right. A little trial and error you will get it right.

Plating is just like paint, the finished product is based on the prep
work. So take your time on prep. I would also suggest that a
dull nickel would give the best results. Zinc with get a whitish
oxide on it. Bight nickel is cheap and easy, but gives up in the
weather in a few years. The dull nickel gets its name because it
comes out of the bath dull and then has to be buffed up to shine.
The buffing process seals the metal so it is better protected. Gets
a look of chrome when done right.

If you can find a copy of, "The Compleat Talking Machine" by
Eric L. Reiss, ISBN 0-911572-55-4 he cover home plating for
small parts such as bolt and brackets. I know the book does not
cover motorcycles, but it does all apply.

Pookybear
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
I got into the Caswell “copy cad” plating several years ago. It serves a very useful purpose but can be a pain in the butt some of the time.

The only thing that I have plated is “copy cad” which is really zinc plating. Actual cadmium plating is getting hard to find (not impossible but more difficult) due to the environmental problems with the process.

Zinc plating is good for all the “bright” parts that were found on Triumphs and lots of other things. Cad and zinc plating are “sacrificial” coatings. In other words they, little by little, go away until they are used up. Their strong points are that they “heal” themselves when nicked or scratched so that they go on looking normal until they finally “weather out”. They also have much more flexibility than nickel or chrome. This makes them viable for things like hose clamps or spring clamps.

Chrome plating is actually a three step process; First copper, then nickel, and finally chrome. Once the parent metal is compromised it starts rusting under the nickel/chrome and the surface fails. Caswell has something that sounds like a nickel plating with a dye to give it that slightly blue hue that chrome offers. I do not know anything else about it so can’t offer any help there.

When I first started trying to zinc plate I spent untold hours trying to follow the directions that came with the kit. I was after a “bright” finish, not the dull grey that every one associates with cad plating. Each failure was followed by even closer adherence to the instructions until things got completely ridiculous. Finally, I threw the instruction book away and began experimenting on my own. These are the things that I found.

1. The power supply that came with the kit was a joke. Tossed it!! Began using a car battery with a battery charger attached and used a bank of bulbs to regulate the “power”.

2. The amount of “power” was adjusted watching the “froth” or “bubbling” coming from the parts being coated. All that calculating resulted in total failure. Watch the bubbles and after a while you get to where you can “read” the bubbles to adjust your power. Sometimes my power requirements start out with a spare halogen sealed beam head light bulb from my truck with fine tuning done with smaller bulbs. I then watch the finish until I am satisfied and pull the piece from the solution. Yes, I use a timer but it is more of a rough guide.

3. The finish is extremely susceptible to attack from acids so keep the cat away from your freshly plated parts.

4. This is an extremely labor intensive task so don’t do it thinking you are going to knock it out in a few hours. It is pretty cool when you get done though so that makes up for it.

5. Doing it yourself allows you to maintain control of all your goodies, no losing stuff to and fro from the plater.

6. I don’t think my stuff is as durable as commercially plated stuff.

Here are some pictures of stuff I did just to give you an idea of what’s possible. Click on the link and go about half way down past the tank stuff.
http://artshobbyprojects.com/workbench.html

In answer to your question “tin plating or nickel plating” they are really for two different applications. You will find that some things are supposed to be chromed and some things are supposed to be cad. You wouldn’t cad plate handle bars or choke control but bolts, certain brackets, levers, clamps, etc. are perfectly acceptable. Of course you can chrome all sorts of things but the cad (zinc) does have its place. You will have to decide.

And Pookybear is right, plating can be a hobby all unto it’s self.

If you do think you would like to jump in post back and we can try to give you as many pointers as possible.

Art.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,034 Posts
hey Bird , that's the kind of stuff i wanted to hear . personally i can't see nickle plating the bits on a triumph . not the right finish .

so you really copy-cadded your amals ?

i didn't expect it to be an afternoon project . since i started this resto i've taught myself fiberglass making my seat . bought a 5 hp 60 gal compressor so i could run all my old air tools . bought a mig welder and a c25 tank for proper mig .

looking forward to learning plating :)

cheers , Woody
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
With an attitude that says "hey, I'll jump in over my head and figure out how to swim on the way up" you can figure out just about any thing. I'm sure plating will be no different for you.

Good luck, Art.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
PS, I forgot about the stuff I plated for my Jag project. Click on my main page at
http://artshobbyprojects.com/
go to the bottom and click on the picture of my Jag. At the bottom of that page you will see pictures that are links, click on the picture of a plating bucket to see more.

Art.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,034 Posts
now that's what i'm looking for .

any reason not to just use a rheostat to control current ? from reading caswells site , they seem to be advertising a new formula .

hey getting my mad scientist hat dusted off hehe . looks like fun :)

thanx for the input on this BoP

cheers , Woody
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
Pookybear is right, a rheostat is an excellent way of controlling current. It also represents a sizable investment, especially at start up, especially if you get one with plenty of power potential . Everyone has a car battery, most of us have a charger. Those two items represent the biggest part of the investment to get started. I suspect that a rheostat would be a must for nickel/chrome though so if you invest up front you are set up for the jump to chrome plating. All depends on how you want to go about it.

Art.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,144 Posts
Art,

I clicked on the jag site and the palting you did looks very nice. Neat set up you put together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
The set up I use is very basic and the smallest that Caswell offers. With the exception of the bucket and the solution, all of the original kit has been discarded and replaced with improvised components. There have been a few times when I really needed a larger set up to do some longer items like a vacuum tube or bent rod. Coming up with a container that’s larger enough isn’t hard but it increases the volume of solution needed substantially.

No magic, you just have to figure out something that will work. One of the great things about zinc is that the electrons find there way into every nook and cranny; unlike nickel/chrome where you have to come up with all these exotic anodes to get the electrons to “flash” into all the hidden or even just shrouded places. Kinda’ cool really.

“What’s that oil on the floor?” Why, it’s just marking it’s territory.

Art.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top