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Jun 25, 2020 - 1:57:09 PM
2125 posts since 2/7/2008

I have some copper parts I'd like to Nickel plate. I've seen some YouTube videos, but I'd love to hear from the trusted experts here. Anybody done this with good results?

What did you use for electrolyte?

What did you use for an anode?

What did you use for a power supply?

How long did you let it "cook"?

Any info is appreciated.

Jun 25, 2020 - 2:19:14 PM

370 posts since 3/26/2015

I do it all the time for miscellaneous parts. Works great. You can get everything you need on amazon, hardware store or grocery.

YouTube has some very good DIY setups that use a cell phone charger. Works like a charm. Put a good polish on your parts and they come out well.

Jun 25, 2020 - 2:35:52 PM

11071 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by CompanionBanjo

YouTube has some very good DIY setups that use a cell phone charger. Works like a charm. Put a good polish on your parts and they come out well.


One video I've seen using a 6v lantern battery was pretty convincing. Eliminates the AC-DC converter and any risk that might entail.

Jun 25, 2020 - 7:36:56 PM

rmcdow

USA

852 posts since 11/8/2014

When I ran a plating shop in the 80’s, I found that electroless nickel was the most trouble free method to plate nickel on most metals, including aluminum, but not pot metal. I used Niklad 495 for my solution, but have had difficulty finding it lately. Here is a link to a company’s page who makes a kit. I’ve never used this particular solution, but don’t see any obvious issues with how it is formulated.

Caswell plating.com/electroplating-anodizing/nickel-plating-kits/electroless-nickel-plating-kits.html

Jun 26, 2020 - 2:30:40 PM

13144 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

When I ran a plating shop in the 80’s, I found that electroless nickel was the most trouble free method to plate nickel on most metals, including aluminum, but not pot metal. I used Niklad 495 for my solution, but have had difficulty finding it lately. Here is a link to a company’s page who makes a kit. I’ve never used this particular solution, but don’t see any obvious issues with how it is formulated.

Caswell plating.com/electroplating-anodizing/nickel-plating-kits/electroless-nickel-plating-kits.html


Rives, I probably didn't do it right, but I bought that Caswell system to nickel plate a bracket band for an old Vega, and I was befuddled by the constant recalculating and replenishing you had to do to keep the solution correct.  I eventually gave up (still have the chemicals, which you can't dispose of responsibly), but the piece I was trying to plate turned out so funky that it looked OK next to the old stuff it was supposed to match, so I consider it to be a success in a strange way.  Next time around, I would use a battery.

Jun 29, 2020 - 3:02:47 AM

rmcdow

USA

852 posts since 11/8/2014

One thing about electroless nickel plating is that the parts have to be absolutely clean and the surfaces free of any defects. I was only able to obtain this by using an electro cleaning bath first, made up of a highly alkaline solution with a current high enough to produce copious amounts of hydrogen on the parts. That would take away any leftover buffing compounds, particularly red rouge, which gives spots for the nickel to form on the parts quickly. Fingerprints would show up quickly in the plating without the electro cleaning. On second thought, this plating method is probably not best for home use, also considering the disposal issue, which Ken points out correctly. I’ve used this solution at home with an electro cleaning cleaning before plating, and used precipitation and filtration or evaporation on my solutions to get them into a solid form that I send out occasionally to have precious metals recovered from. Stepping back to take a look at this from the point of view of recommending it, I would say that unless you are a fellow mad scientist, it might be best to take another route to plating. I’d still use the Niklad 495 if I could buy it, as it is simple and foolproof, no calculations necessary, but think Ken is right, electrode nickel is going to be better.

Jun 29, 2020 - 3:59:12 AM

jcland

USA

309 posts since 3/7/2006

FYI

Correct web address is caswellplating.com/

There is no space between caswell and plating.

Jun 29, 2020 - 4:10:45 AM

13144 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by rmcdow

One thing about electroless nickel plating is that the parts have to be absolutely clean and the surfaces free of any defects. I was only able to obtain this by using an electro cleaning bath first, made up of a highly alkaline solution with a current high enough to produce copious amounts of hydrogen on the parts. That would take away any leftover buffing compounds, particularly red rouge, which gives spots for the nickel to form on the parts quickly. Fingerprints would show up quickly in the plating without the electro cleaning. On second thought, this plating method is probably not best for home use, also considering the disposal issue, which Ken points out correctly. I’ve used this solution at home with an electro cleaning cleaning before plating, and used precipitation and filtration or evaporation on my solutions to get them into a solid form that I send out occasionally to have precious metals recovered from. Stepping back to take a look at this from the point of view of recommending it, I would say that unless you are a fellow mad scientist, it might be best to take another route to plating. I’d still use the Niklad 495 if I could buy it, as it is simple and foolproof, no calculations necessary, but think Ken is right, electrode nickel is going to be better.


That was probably my problem along with having a difficult time finding a suitable container that a bracket band would fit into–large enough for the bracket band, small enough that you didn't need gallons and gallons of the solution.

Nowadays I have discovered rubber livestock feeding bowls that I use for patinas and copper pickle—they didn't exist when I tried the electroless plating, and I used a porcelain enameled dish pan that had a chip in the porcelain.  If I did it again, I would use a rubber bowl, and pickle the parts first, which would give them a little copper flash.

We live and learn, but I haven't had any requests for nickle plated banjos in years and years

Jun 29, 2020 - 7:17:33 AM

118 posts since 2/12/2017

I have a nickle and copper plating line in my workshop.

Smaller scale, but does everything I need.

Degreaser, heaters, rectifier, sulphuric acid based


 

Edited by - Mirwa on 06/29/2020 07:19:19

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