I have used kits from several different companies over the years. Within the context of the small scale of a home workshop,- we're talking about small items like nuts and bolts rather than re-plating girt Austin Seven radiator shells here - I've generally found the system to be OK and relatively trouble free. They all provide simple instructions, and, provided you follow them, you will probably be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Polishing and degreasing are the primary preparations. Remember, above all, that the condition and quality of the underlying unplated surface will be what largely dictates the quality of the subsequent finish. At a thou or so thick, it's not like paint where you can obliterates all the pits and scratches with a second coat.
Chemical disposal hasn't been a problem - you simply pour the (relatively harmless) nickel salts solution back into a suitable plastic jug for re-use. I'm still using stuff I made up ten years ago with the occasional boost from a bit more of the salts now and again.
Google 'home nickel plating' and ask somebody like Frost
the car tarter-uppers to send you a copy of the instructions to have a look at first if you're not sure of what's involved. The cost of the usual 'basic' kit used to be about £50 when I last looked. --
Chris Edwards (in deepest Dorset) "....there *must* be an easier way!"
I have used the kit supplied from GLR for some years now and get good results (my standards!). As stated by an earlier post the secret is a good clean (chemically) component and a good surface finish as a starting point. The GLR kit comes with all the required salts and anodes etc but you have to make up your own tank, current control and component holders but the instructions give guidance on all this.
ISTR an article on nickel plating in MEW around the late 90s or early
00s - I have just been thumbing through all my copies from no. 1 over the last few weeks. From memory, he used one of the commercial kits (may have been Techtrate) and was quite pleased with the results.
There've been postings on this before. I began using the Dynic Sales kit about 20 years ago when rebuilding an old Brit bike. As b4, surface prepn is vital for a good finish. But and it's a big 'but' ~ if you haven't much patience, there's an awful lot of buggeration involved. This includes accurate control of temp., agitation, current (need a steady DC source not a battery charger) and your source of pure nickel. You can plate directly onto steel, no need for Cu plating first.
If you want I can email the detailed Dynic instructions.