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I've decided to try to plate all my parts at the house. For two reasons; 1. To save a bit of coin 2. To learn how to do it myself.
What I'm wondering is what is the original coating on these parts? It doesn't look like 100% zinc. Has anyone ever tried to reproduce the finish and been successful either having it done professionally or doing it themselves?
 

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Most of the screws and bolts are zinc plated. Many of the other steel parts were Cadmium plated. Stay away from the Cadmium, it is a nasty carcinogen. Casswell markets home plating kits. But there are many home brew methods out there. Post lots of pictures and keep us posted.
 

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I started messing around with zinc plating near the end of 2016, there certainly is a lot to read out there on the subject. One important prep step is to soak your parts in 5% white vinegar first to remove any rust or old zinc plating, it won't hurt the steel unless you're really patient or forget they're soaking. After a day or two soaking I'll clean the parts with green scotchbrite or with a wire wheel then again with acetone just before plating. Be sure to spray on some WD-40 if parts will be sitting overnight or longer before plating. There really is no need to resort to products that claim to do a better job for $20/quart...

Whichever plating bath recipe you choose remember to use 5% white vinegar, Kosher salt, distilled water (both don't have any other trace metals or minerals) and my favorite...
Imitation vanilla extract. It's chemical name is Vanillin or something like that, apparently it is used as a 'brightener' which essentially inhibits the growth of large zinc crystals on your parts so they'll look shiny like a paper clip rather than crusty like a galvanized bucket. Getting a smooth, shiny finish isn't as easy as the reading made it seem, but everything will polish up in the end. And if you aren't satisfied, back in the vinegar it goes to strip the zinc off ready to try again.

For polishing I recommend one of the vibratory polishers that people use for cleaning their brass casings before reloading their ammo. Don't mess around with building your own unless you're in it for the adventure. For polishing media, the corn-cob pet bedding works very gently and produces good results. Polishing small parts by hand isn't worth it, bigger parts yes.

For a power source I've been using my regular, plain old, not smart, not automatic, 25-year old, Craftsman battery charger.
I guess they're called Manual Battery Chargers these days.

In my reading I found a few people wiring a bike headlight (or car i suppose) in series with your plating bath, it's there to limit or increase current to your plating bath and you can wire in high/low or both beams depending on your needs.

Try lots of different methods and find one that works for you.
I like de-rusting with plain old 5% white vinegar, or using the electrolytic derusting method with the washing soda and battery charger for heavily rusted or large items.

There is so much you can do with this stuff and if you home-brew it, it's pretty cheap and relatively safe. Just read everything you can find before starting.
Don't worry too much about hydrogen gas production, it's not a large amount and is produced rather slowly anyway.
 

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Ive been experimenting with nickel plating, I make nickel acetate using nickel welding rods,white vinegar and a 4 volt power supply. Here is my first attempt. Before DSC00523.JPG and after DSC00532.JPG
 

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Wonderful results! Are you able to plate Nickel directly onto well prepped steel?
 

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I did remove the rust first with vinegar, but yes the more polished the steel the better. I have been working with plating with chromate I have a pure source for my electrode(the tube of a cheap solar light $1 dollar, I have a spectrum analyzer at my disposal) ,using that vinegar and 12 volts makes a super hard bright heat resistant finish.
 

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Heat resistant you say? I'll have to look into how that'd survive on a handmade steel exhaust system I'm dreaming up.
 

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DSC05527.JPG
Above is a sample of plated parts.
I sandblast, sometimes wire wheel, then I use the Caswell System with EXCELLENT Results.
I'll look for some before and after pic's
 
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What plating did you use? the parts look great
 

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I've been thinking of trying my hand at plating. Seeing someone else's success makes me really want to try it. Great results! Have you thought about copper plating?
 

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Im in the process of plating a part Its the cover for the starter lug on a cb400a. even if I paint it silver like it was it wont rust anymore. Ill post pictures when its done
 
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