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Anyone done any Nickel or Chrome plating of mild steel parts at home?

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John Smith 4725/03/2021 01:49:37
393 forum posts
12 photos


Have any of you good people done any plating with Nickel or Chrome?

The background is that we are making some prototypes for a consumer product. As part of this we are making magnetic flux guides as part of a magnetic latch for an indoors consumer product. Basically the flux guides need to survive fingerprints without rusting.

We are hoping to use some grade of ferromagnetic stainless steel (nobody thus for can tell me which!), but if that fails to have enough magnetic pull, we may be compelled to a mild steel which we would then plate to make it corrosion resistant.

Is that a difficult process? Have any of you tried it? Do home kits work well? Do we need electrodes or can we do it chemically?

Any advice would be welcome.


Hopper25/03/2021 01:53:52
6679 forum posts
347 photos

Zinc plating is cheaper and easier. But not as shiny looking. Plenty of kits available. I've a mate who does it on old motorbike parts with great success. He has done nickel at home too, but not chrome. All seems to go well with no great problems.

Edited By Hopper on 25/03/2021 01:55:19

gary25/03/2021 05:02:22
142 forum posts
28 photos

the home kits for nickel work very well if the instructions are followed exactly. i found it very time consuming as the parts to be plated have to be highly polished and free of any scratches, you can also control the thickness of the nickel by the time it is left in the tank.

colin wilkinson25/03/2021 06:12:57
71 forum posts

Did quite a few motorcycle parts , kits from Gateros. Extremely pleased with the results.

Dave Wootton25/03/2021 06:30:17
319 forum posts
69 photos

A few years ago but I replated a 1930's motorcycle at home using a Dynic kit that was available in the 70's and 80's, agree with Gary that it is very time consuming. The kit I had only did the old fashioned dull nickel which had to be polished after plating, The results were very good and although I sold it a long time ago I know it still looks good today, There is a copy of " the vintage motorcyclists workshop " by Radco available free somewhere on the internet which has full practical instructions, I followed these to the letter. Only problem I had is that sometimes it is very difficult to get the plating to get into internal corners. I imagine that the Gateros kit is much the same as my old Dynic, I used their Zinc plating kit with very good results, if that is suitable it seemed slightly easier to use than the nickel. I enjoyed the whole thing found it a very satisfying process, almost magical!



Edited By Dave Wootton on 25/03/2021 06:30:52

Graham Stoppani25/03/2021 07:54:01
126 forum posts
26 photos

I've done bright nickel and zinc plating using home kits successfully. Chrome plating is a no no for home use because of the cyanide content. However, there are substitutes called "Copy Chrome" and "Replica Chrome" if you Google them, though I haven't tried them myself.

Just to repeat what has already been said, the metal prep. can be time consuming if a high polished finish is needed. Even without a polished finish the metal must be absolutely clean before plating.

Chris Evans 625/03/2021 08:33:44
2067 forum posts

A good few of my motorcycling friends use the DIY kits and have plated things for my bikes.

I believe they are now finding it harder to obtain the battery acid that is used in the process.

Andrew Tinsley25/03/2021 09:59:45
1612 forum posts

All plating needs super clean surfaces. Nickel plating (and nicasil dipping) is straightforward. Chrome plating isn't and requires toxic chemicals. I did a little, 40 years ago when the toxic items were to be had Would not recommend it now, even if you could get the chemicals. Horrendous problems in disposing of the solutions afterwards, as well. Leave it to the professionals!


John Haine25/03/2021 10:59:53
4716 forum posts
273 photos

As this is a prototype I guess that extreme hard wearing and longevity aren't so important. Many years ago we used "Niculoy" to electroless plate on aluminium, actually to make it solderable but the finish was very bright and corrosion resistant. It is still available, I think we got it from RS but they don't stock it now. Google is your friend.


As the name implies the plating is nickel.

Edited By John Haine on 25/03/2021 11:00:23

Roderick Jenkins25/03/2021 11:07:37
2201 forum posts
616 photos

I've used this nickel acetate method with success. I do however use a laboratory type variable DC power supply (only because I've got one)

Geoffrey Croker YouTube video


Russell Eberhardt25/03/2021 11:37:28
2751 forum posts
86 photos

Years ago I did the nickel plating on the 1929 Morris Cowley shown in my album. I used a recipe that I found in a book from the University chemistry department. Unfortunately I no longer have the recipe. It used some nasty chemicals which were easy to obtain from an industrial supplier at the time. All was done on brass items. For it to adhere properly and last on steel you must copper plate first and you need a cyanide bath to do that well.

If I was doing it now I think I would go to a commercial plating firm.


KWIL25/03/2021 12:29:27
3563 forum posts
70 photos

I have had a handfull of parts bright nickel plated by a local plater for "tea money", just go and ask them if there is one nearby.

Matt Harrington25/03/2021 12:45:49
187 forum posts
7 photos

I agree with KWIL. Try a local plater. I have sent small batches of items to be bright nickel plated to a company near me and the cost was relatively low.


Dave Smith 1425/03/2021 12:49:30
213 forum posts
43 photos
Posted by John Smith 47 on 25/03/2021 01:49:37:

We are hoping to use some grade of ferromagnetic stainless steel (nobody thus for can tell me which!), but if that fails to have enough magnetic pull, we may be compelled to a mild steel which we would then plate to make it corrosion resistant.


Austenitic stainless steel is non magnetic and is what most people recognise as rust proof Stainless Steel ( althouigh some grades can rust stain). Martensitic Stainless Steel does have magnetic properties, how ever it is at best a corrosion resisting steel and will rust in the correct conditions.

Martin Kyte25/03/2021 13:24:03
2789 forum posts
53 photos

If you are anywhere near Arlsey in Bedfordshire I have used these people before.


Very happy with the results on all my motorcycle chrome.

PS they really really will not do exhausts!!!!!!!!

regards Martin

Bazyle25/03/2021 13:33:33
6381 forum posts
222 photos

The stainless you want is that used for cutlery - go check your spoons with a magnet, It uses chromium up to a certain hardness. Then you have to add Nickel to balance the atomic level stucture. Non magnetic austenitic Stainless "18-8" is so common now it is hard to find other versions (it used to be extra expensive so only used where strength was needed as in nuts and bolts).

Edited By Bazyle on 25/03/2021 13:38:11

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