Author Topic: Plating at home?  (Read 720 times)

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Offline Pop Bumper Pete

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Plating at home?
« on: February 07, 2016, 12:47:55 PM »
Has anyone here use home plating kits ?
(rather than sending stuff out to be plated)

If so, what kit did you use?

Thanks

Offline DSB

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 02:18:08 PM »
Yer. I bought the Caswell copy cad kit. Quite expensive and you need  to supply a power supply and ph testing equipment that don't come with it. Takes a lot of time to perfect as you play with different methods. Expect poor results to start with until you work out a method that works for you. I never perfected it by got reasonable results on small pieces. It's a hobby on its own in opinion. If you've got the patience and time and don't mind a few failures along the way it is worth it.

Offline Pop Bumper Pete

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 03:36:12 PM »
that was the kit I had been looking at

Offline GAP

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 06:30:07 PM »
I have a Jane 4 ltr nickel and zinc kit and have only used it once, but was happy with the result.
www.janekits.com.au

Cheers
Graeme

Offline pinsanity

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 06:40:02 PM »
I have the Jane kits model for nickel and zinc plating and whilst I have used it a few times to experiment with quality, in future would only use it (or any home based plating kit) for underside playfield componentry.

There is just too much labour involved for prep work, the plating process and most importantly polishing to get the topside or other visible pieces to showroom condition, so I would be taking them as a bulk lot to the nearest sensibly priced commercial plater to be high polish plated instead.

« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 06:59:46 PM by pinsanity »

Offline GAP

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2016, 06:44:15 PM »
, in future would only use it for underside playfield componentry.

Would agree with that 100%

Offline Strangeways

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2016, 08:45:38 AM »
I've been using the Janekits Zinc plating system for years with excellent results. Here's a couple of threads ;


http://aussiepinball.com/index.php?topic=5421.0

http://aussiepinball.com/index.php?topic=11892.0


http://aussiepinball.com/index.php?topic=10274.30

You need a lot of space and a lot of patience. It is time consuming and often frustrating as you learn. But once you have the system working for your application, you can plate almost anything that fits in the plating bath. It is very much a "backyarder" approach to plating, with sometimes, professional results. I stopped using commercial players as they have a habit of losing small parts. The time spent preparing parts is often more than just playing them. I still enjoy plating, but you really do need to put a lot of time into it.

For a hobbysit with small parts to plate - it is a great experience.
Aussie Pinball - Proud to be Australia's Premier Pinball Forum

APR - Australian CPR Distributor

http://www.australianpinballrestorations.com.au/

http://www.rtbb.com.au/catalog/

We carry the largest range of NEW Ramps in Australia

Offline Pop Bumper Pete

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2016, 05:04:31 PM »
thanks all
I will give it a go

Offline pinsanity

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2016, 01:38:46 PM »
It all depends on how much you value your time.

You can spend 3 hours prepping, plating and polishing a lockdown bar in nickel or you can spend $50 and get it mirror polish chrome plated.

Offline Pop Bumper Pete

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2016, 02:35:37 PM »
It all depends on how much you value your time.

You can spend 3 hours prepping, plating and polishing a lockdown bar in nickel or you can spend $50 and get it mirror polish chrome plated.

I mainly want to plate stuff under the playfield
in the past I have cleaned parts up, only for them to corrode within a few years

there is also the minor issue of there being no one in Ballarat that does Chroming
there was a guy, but he would take three months to get the job done
I looked in the yellow pages and he was not listed

EDIT
then checked online and found two places that do it  !^!

oh well
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 02:38:23 PM by Pop Bumper Pete »

Offline pinsanity

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2016, 02:50:07 PM »
Worth a shot using homebrew for the under the playfield parts, for sure.

With a bit of minor post process buffing to smooth, you can almost leave the finished pieces for them "as is" once plated.

Offline Brettski

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Re: Plating at home?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2016, 10:02:05 PM »
Hi Pete,
Just noticed this thread, I posted my recipe and method in my Charlie's Angels Resto thread but thought you might be interested here..



Home Zinc Plating Instructions..
 

9 - 11 Litre plastic bucket

Zinc anodes... I got a handfull of zinc balls from a local elecrtroplater.

1kg of Epsom salts

6 - 8 litres of white vinegar...Aldi $1.19 ltr

1.5kg of white sugar to be used as a brightener.

Thick copper wire for the anodes, I used some stripped back inner wall electrical cable.

A few strands of light guage copper wire for hanging parts.

1 piece of copper water pipe or use the thick copper wire cable tied to a piece of wood for the cathode hanger

Multi Power Supply, I have one that has 2v, 4v, 6v, 8v, 10v, 12v, I only use the two volts mostly and for bigger parts 4v (slower adhesion at lower voltages but better quality)

200ml of hydrochloric acid to be used as an acid dip before plating... you can get this at Bunnings.

Fine grade steel wool.

 

Method

Electrolyte

Mix Vinegar, Epsom salts and sugar together until dissolved in the bucket.

Drill a small hole in two zinc balls, then attach reasonable lengths of the heavier gauge copper wire to them with screws and place them in the bucket at equal spacing, do not let the screws touch the water then bend the wire over the edge of the bucket to support them in place and wire them in such a way that they are both connected and there is some bare wire to connect your power to. (See pic)


Next get your copper pipe and flatten the ends the same width as the bucket so it doesn't roll and while doing this squash a piece of heavy gauge wire in one end... this will be your cathode hanger. Or use thick copper wire cable tied to a piece of wood.

Place this on top of the bucket and make sure it is not touching any of your anode wiring or it will short out.

Attach the positive to the anode (Zinc) wiring and the negative to the cathode wire (copper pipe).... turn on power and your almost ready to start.

Now before plating your good parts you need to plate out the electrolyte... this sets up the solution for complete surface coating.... this means you have to get zinc ions in the solution for it to plate quickly and evenly.

To do this you need roughly a square piece of metal about 50mm square that has been wire brushed of all contaminates and dipped in the hydrochloric solution (read about hydrochloric solution below) and hang this submerged in your electrolyte with the power on. You should see a slight fizzing going on....this needs to run like this overnight if possible. I also placed an extra zinc ball into the water which just sat on the bottom during this process.

 

Hydrochloric solution.

1 litre of water to 200ml of acid mixed well.....wear gloves and glasses as this stuff burns like nothing else so be very carefull.

This will be your parts dip..... keep another bucket of plain water handy to rinse parts after dipping.

 

Parts cleaning and plating

Clean all dirt and grease of the parts before doing anything else, I use dish washing detergent and water.

Then hang your parts in the hydrochloric solution... you may see some fizzing going on, this will be the previous zinc coating being dissolved by the acid and this will also remove surface rust.

After the fizzing has stopped rinse the part thoroughly in fresh water and dry off with a rag.

Next you need to wire wheel the part back to bright steel.

Once that is done dip your part into the hydrochloric acid quickly and then rinse and very quickly hang in the zinc bucket submerged, if you wait to long to hang it, it will flash rust and you will have to start again.

Now that it is in the zinc bucket you can leave it to do it's thing, you will see some fizzing and that's good, it is now being plated with zinc. Leave it in the zinc bucket for 30  minutes or until completely plated evenly

When you pull the part out it will have a dull grey appearance but should be completely coated in zinc.

 

Brightening up the part.

You can clean the part up with some fine grade steel wool or buff it on a polishing wheel to get a chrome like appearance.

You can also use a week solution of aluminium cleaner (chemtech BLITZ) available at Supercheap mixed with water.

Dip your parts in this one at a time and using a stainless parts cleaning brush brush the parts to a bright shine then finish of with fine steel wool.... when satisfied rinse off with water and dry. ( wear gloves and glasses when doing this.)

You can replate at this stage if you want a heavier coating of zinc then repeat the cleaning procedure.

The attached picture should help with the instructions.

Hope this helps..

Cheers: Brettski... :)