I make a small range of vintage model yacht fittings in brass and steel and need them nickel plated. The individual items are fairly fiddly and the quantities small. I see via Google that DIY nickel plating kits are available. Has anyone any experience of doing their own plating? Commercial prices are prohibitive on this sort of application (assuming the quote I have been given is genuine and not just a "Go away you horrid little man - be can't be bothered" price)
I have plating done regularly - about once a month on average. Minimum charge is I think, £30.00 plus VAT and delivery. If the parts need wiring then its more expensive, due to time it takes to wire the parts before plating. If the parts can be barrelled then its cheaper. I have had a handful of small parts done for the minimum charge.
I always polish the parts before they are sent for plating, the polishing charges can often be higher than the plating costs.
Some time ago I bought a manual from
but never got around to doing it myself.
may be of interest if you have not already found this one.
I have seen it done at a trade show and the results were pretty good.
I've done quite a bit of plating..on home grown kit...humm to be honest I wouldn't bother.You really need to be looking at CNC to get it right (Copper,Nickel,Chrome) to get any kind of hard wearing finish. What sort of price were you quoted?
I think GLR distributors sell nickel plating kits. I've not used them but a clockmaker hobbyist I used to work with got good results. It seemed that cleanliness was absolutely essential to getting a good finish
I've nickel plated at home. It is a lot of trouble, and the final result is a sort of matt grey, and I believe porous, but a wipe with oil seems to have done the trick on my valve gear.
nickel plating solution. a fishtank pump and airstone. a glass saucepan. a nickel anode. a power supply. degreaser, caustic soda, sulphuric acid (pref. used to pickle your copper boiler], copper sulphate.
1) Put the solution in the saucepan, and heat to 60 degrees Celsius. (The pH of the solution has to be between 4-4.5 BTW.)
2) degrease the steel parts with thinners, then a quick wash in caustic soda, rinse then put in acid (If used for pickling good, if not put copper sulphate in until pale blue] remove when the part is light brown with copper, rerinse.
3) put the airstone in the plating solution, and start the pump. drop the parts in wired to a support, as the cathode (-ve) and the scrap nickel anode (+ve). Adjust the current to be 20Amps/sq ft. of cathode. Make sure that the bubbles are agitating the job.
4) Wait until the desired thickness is reached, (I use about 10 minutes)
5) Admire the nice finish, or curse the large black splodge. (These appear at random, usually on a part that is in view)
(I was advised to connect the steel job as an anode whilst in the acid and use electrolysis to etch the surface clean.)
I've probably taken 15 years off my life already, but it may spare me the incontinence and Alzheimers (At least you don't know about one if you have the other)
I have used the GLR kit and had reasonable results. The trick as always is to ensure a good finish and a very clean finish first before plating. Then after that its down to getting the current about right so as not to burn (brown). It is quite a straight forward process. You do need to make up some bits and pieces as the kit is only the chemicals plus a little explanatory booklet on how to do it.