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Nickel Plating Brass

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Russell Eberhardt18/05/2019 11:12:25
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2443 forum posts
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When I was plating parts for a vintage car I was restoring some years ago I purchased high purity nickel from Johnson Mathey. EPNS is no good. Nickel silver is an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc, mostly copper I think.

Nickel plating on brass can be done directly. On steel or cast iron you might get a good finish but it is not weather resistant unless you plate with copper first.

I did the nickel plating on this car myself and it lasted for the twenty years I owned it:

morris-cowley.jpg

Russell

Fowlers Fury18/05/2019 11:34:33
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Nice job Russell, looks magnificent ! I kept my steel plated m/cycle bits well waxed. The bike was only taken out in good weather so didn't experience your " it is not weather resistant unless you plate with copper first."
It'd be interesting to read about how you did the plating.

The topic was discussed on here before - just over a year ago.
I've tried b4 to insert a link back to postings without success, so trying again.....
**LINK**

Forgive the repeat, but to anyone "contemplating plating" at home, this was my posting then (truncated):-
".... kit was 'Dynic Sales' (no longer exist).......But - and it was a big but - you had also to purchase:-
An aquarium heater / aquarium aerator / amp meter / stabilised power supply or 12v battery / accurate current controller as well as being prepared to construct various non ferrous rods from which to suspend anode & cathode on top of a plastic container. Effective plating required control of temperature, current, agitation and a perfectly smooth surface on the steel item otherwise corrosion pitting would show up badly after plating.Eventually results were consistently good. (I did a petrol tank filler cap, shrouds for rear shocks, lamp bezels, Cu oil pipes and numerous steel bolts and nuts).
Bottom line? It is possible to Ni plate at home but requires one hell of a lot of aggravation and preparation."

(Edit for typo)

Edited By Fowlers Fury on 18/05/2019 11:35:38

Neil Wyatt18/05/2019 12:40:37
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Must get around to silver soldering then replating the various banjo parts I shared a year or several ago...

Neil

Russell Eberhardt19/05/2019 11:46:08
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2443 forum posts
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Posted by Fowlers Fury on 18/05/2019 11:34:33:

It'd be interesting to read about how you did the plating.

I'm afraid it was done in the late 1970s and I don't have my notes. I used an electrolyte recipe from an old chemistry handbook that was being thrown out by a university library as being out of date. I was able to buy all the chemicals, including concentrated acids, direct from a laboratory chemical supplier. I doubt that they would deal with a member of the public now!

I used guttering to plate the long pieces of the windscreen frame. Other parts were done in a bucket. Current came from a car battery and resistor to control the current. The radiator surround was made from german silver (nickel copper alloy) so didn't need plating. Anodes were pure nickel.

Russell

Roderick Jenkins19/05/2019 16:50:34
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My attempt a nickel plating was all done at room temperature with distilled vinegar from Sainsbury's and some sheet nickel from ebay.

The driver was this ebay purchase. Sadly I didn't take any before pictures but this is the ebay pic.

lorch slide before.jpg

About 50% of the plating was falling off and much of the metal underneath was rusty so I scrubbed as much as I could off and then dunked the major component parts in Evaporust. A further scrub and wash before plating which worked fine even going into the pits left by the rust removal. The handle went particularly well. It has all been buffed.

lms3.jpg

The new milling spindle was fabricated from a piece of steel plate (probably EN3B) and a length of FC mild bar.

lms1.jpg

These 2 bits were silver soldered together and then dunked in brick cleaner (HCl) to remove the flux and scale. After that they were plated in the Nickel Acetate solution

plating.jpg

I was interested (and slightly annoyed) to see that the flux/acid combination has etched the surface of the FC steel but I am still happy with the result.

lms2.jpg

I don't know how well stuck the plating is but it did at least survive a trip to the buffing wheel.

Rod

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