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Plating nuts and bolts

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Wolfie24/01/2016 18:30:44
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I want to tidy up the rusty nuts and bolts coming off my C15 project. Have heard about zinc or nickel plating.

Anyone have any experience of either?? I don't really want to go down the stainless steel route as its expensive and I'm not likely to be riding in poor weather.

JasonB24/01/2016 18:33:33
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Could you not replace them with BZP off the shelf?

Ian Parkin24/01/2016 18:47:47
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I used kits from GATOROS zinc with passivation ,copper and dull nickel for restoration of my motorbikes

They worked well and have lasted well

Eugene24/01/2016 18:52:10
130 forum posts
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Wolfe,

The old bolts can indeed be replated, but the cost for any trade plater to do so would be way above the price of new stuff off the shelf, stainless, BZP or otherwise.

I'm a retired industrial chemist with a background in electroplating, and wouldn't consider reprocessing a few old old bolts for a minute. The only exception would be parts that had special threads or shapes.

Eug

Tractor man24/01/2016 19:14:27
426 forum posts
1 photos
I renovate old machines and simply polish any bolts or nuts on my cotton buffing machine. They look like stainless and with a light oiling will resist rust well. Better than spending cash on playing etc.
KWIL24/01/2016 19:30:01
3131 forum posts
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When I had to recover "milllions" of bolts and nut for a major project, a local plater did all the "barrel" loads I could provide at a fairly reasonable cost. Project was a full size mainline diesel electric locomotive.

Mark Prickett 224/01/2016 19:42:57
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Ive got a gateros large plating kit , its done loads of work and the results are excellent , especailly when you give it a quick polish afterwards , the key with plating ive found is cleanliness, plus the time it takes sometimes is longer than expected , ie you cant rush plating , if you do the results will be poor . Excellent results can be had with time and patience .

stevetee24/01/2016 19:55:19
128 forum posts
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If it was just nuts and bolts it would be straightforward enough, but when you get on to 5/16 CEI half domed head bolts , things are not so simple, buying new ones isn't really an option. Also there is the myriad number of little brackets and other associated parts that are manufacturer specific. If it was just bolts I would buy new, if I lived somewhere civilised enough to have a platers within a 150 mile round trip then I would have them all barrel rolled for a very reasonable price, but I don't.

After a plater lost a load of irreplacebale motorcycle parts I thought 'right I'm not doing that again' I bought a plating kit off Gateros, several years ago now. They have been more than helpful with telephone enquiries and free top ups over the years. They have now started a zinc/ nickel kit which sounds very attractive , I'm hoping they will upgrade me from my zinc kit. Whether Gateros will do that or not I have no hesitation in recommending them and their plating kits.

Alan Wilson 126/01/2016 15:35:52
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I do not know where you are located but Action Plating of Basildon will replate a large bucket of nuts, bolts and other small pieces (and not so small) for £20 (last year). I have used them for years with no complaints and zinc finish is provided in addition to passivating etc. Some parts are barrel plated and some are individually hung on copper wire into the plating vats. No connection other than as a satisfied user.

I always thoroughly clean up and/or refinish the parts before plating (including any threads). The plated finish very much depends on how good the parts are going into the plating process.

Alan Wilson 126/01/2016 15:35:52
4 forum posts

I do not know where you are located but Action Plating of Basildon will replate a large bucket of nuts, bolts and other small pieces (and not so small) for £20 (last year). I have used them for years with no complaints and zinc finish is provided in addition to passivating etc. Some parts are barrel plated and some are individually hung on copper wire into the plating vats. No connection other than as a satisfied user.

I always thoroughly clean up and/or refinish the parts before plating (including any threads). The plated finish very much depends on how good the parts are going into the plating process.

Michael Gilligan26/01/2016 16:02:10
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Posted by stevetee on 24/01/2016 19:55:19:

... I bought a plating kit off Gateros, several years ago now. They have been more than helpful with telephone enquiries and free top ups over the years. They have now started a zinc/ nickel kit which sounds very attractive

.

Thanks for the reference, stevetee [and Mark]

MichaelG.

.

Edit: http://gaterosplating.co.uk/Zinc-Nickel-Plating-Kit.php

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 26/01/2016 16:03:17

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 26/01/2016 16:04:42

Wolfie26/01/2016 20:16:37
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I'm in a very rural part of North Yorkshire, there isn't much round here so home plating would suit.

Yeah it was Gaterous I was looking at.

How thin is the layer of zinc/nickel? I mean does it mess threads up?

And what's best, zinc or nickel. And how long does it take? Do you have to do one bolt at a time?

Cheers all

Edited By Wolfie on 27/01/2016 09:28:52

Nigel McBurney 127/01/2016 09:21:48
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Be careful electroplating high tensile bolts,the steel can suffer from hydrogen embrittlement,ensure your plater understands the potential problem and applies the secondary heat treatment as soon as possible after the plating process. Its better to buy new bolts and disregard cost, particularly on a motorbike,where an accident hurts.

Tim Stevens10/05/2016 14:33:05
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1101 forum posts

One thing to watch is the effect of plating on tightening torques. Zinc can act as a lubricant, while nickel is the opposite, so in effect a 'correct' torque for plain steel on a zinc bolt will overtighten, and on nickel will undertighten.

Zinc is a blue shade of silver, while nickel is on the yellow side. Mixing the finishes will really be obvious.

Cheers, Tim

Harry Wilkes10/05/2016 15:20:16
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729 forum posts
60 photos

Woolfie commercial zinc is normally done to zn3 spec in english 3 microns I believe Nigel's point on hydrogen embrittlement is an important one !

H

gary10/05/2016 19:43:44
58 forum posts
10 photos

nickel plating looks best on an old bike and if polished can look like chrome but everything has to be grease free,dont worry about embrittlement as you only do the heads on bolts. a kit will last you years if looked after.

Tim Stevens10/05/2016 20:43:55
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1101 forum posts

The idea that 'only the heads will be plated' is difficult to achieve in practice. And the most likely place for a bolt to fail from embrittlement is just below the head. My advice is - for the sake of a few minutes in a domestic oven it is not worth the risk.

Cheers, Tim

gary11/05/2016 06:52:34
58 forum posts
10 photos

nothing difficult about plating the heads only tim, simply hang them with a copper wire into the plating tank. very few bolts on a bike need need high torque eg mudguards,stays petrol and oil tanks

Swarf, Mostly!11/05/2016 11:00:12
498 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by Nigel McBurney 1 on 27/01/2016 09:21:48:

Be careful electroplating high tensile bolts,the steel can suffer from hydrogen embrittlement,ensure your plater understands the potential problem and applies the secondary heat treatment as soon as possible after the plating process. Its better to buy new bolts and disregard cost, particularly on a motorbike,where an accident hurts.

Hi there, Nigel,

I'm not challenging the point you made but wouldn't it also apply to the plating of bolts in original manufacture? Is that 'secondary heat treatment' part of the manufacturing process?

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Tim Stevens11/05/2016 12:45:57
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1101 forum posts

The idea that heads-only plating simply involves dipping the heads into the plating vat with no plating ever into the shoulder relies on two things I have never come across in such situations:

1. Accurate wiring which allows the bolt to hang exactly vertical

2. A plating vat which is never disturbed once the parts are delicately lowered in.

Embrittlement does not affect mild steel as much as high tensile stuff, but how is our man to know which of his (totally unmarked) bolts are mild steel? For sure the parts book will not say.

And yes, of course this post plating heat treatment was given to parts originally.

All this fuss because our man cannot bring himself to use stainless ...

Cheers, Tim

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