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Copper and Nickle Plating?

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Old 01-25-2011, 02:38:04 PM
Nicholas Carrier Nicholas Carrier is offline
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Default Copper and Nickle Plating?

I have been playing around with some copper and nickle plating techniques on steel. I was wondering if anyone else out there has done the same and be willing to lend a hand or share ideas on different solutions to use, electric charge, or general ways or methods of plating steel? Thanks
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:30:26 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Copper and Nickle Plating?

The old way to chrome was to first plate steel with copper, then nickle, and then chrome. Each metal has an afinity for its base metal. Copper likes iron, nickle likes copper and chrome likes nickle! Skip any layer, and the upper coat will eventualy peel off. Doing Chrome at home is not recommended. it involves many processes, and dangerous chemicals. Lastly, it is essential that the surface to be chromed be prepped and smoothed so as to get a good finish, and then the chrome itself must be polished to get the sheen that it is known for. It does not come out of the plating solution nice and shiny, like in a show room!

GM tried direct plating chrome on steel in the 1970s. After a few years, the chrome peeled off in sheets! My boss, at the time, had a Buick wagon, as a loaner car. Another worker noticed a small area where the chrome was loose on the front bumper, and decided to try and peel it off. He ended up peeling the entire front of the bumper off in one piece! Needless to say, the boss was not a happy camper! GM did make good on a new bumper, but it too peeled off the chrome after 2 years! After that, a can of chrome paint took care of the bumpers on that car!

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Old 01-25-2011, 05:11:55 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Copper and Nickle Plating?

I think he was asking more about the copper & nickle plating techniques than getting into chrome.

Too many dangerous chemicals involved with chrome plating.

Other than an acid bath, I'm not sure what other chemicals are needed for copper & nickle plating, but I vaguely remember reading about the process in some old Popular Science & Popular Mechanics magazines.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:11:11 PM
PTSideshow PTSideshow is offline
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Default Re: Copper and Nickle Plating?

You can make up a copper plating solution from Root killer crystals. It has to be a saturated solution. The material has to be squeaky clean, cleaner than your wife"s kitchen cooking pots and pans.

Is one brand

On the root killer, make sure you read the label. As some are other chemicals, also make sure that it has the highest amount of copper sulfate in the ingredients with no other chemicals other than inert. Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate (the blue crystals) that are sold here in the states as sewer line root destroyer by a number of companies Roebec being one of them. Plumbing isle of the big box store.
They will be large crystals, which need to be ground into a fine powder, to make it mix easier to the saturated solution point.

You can get a mortar and pestle that is used for grinding herbs in the kitchen. The stone kind works well. DoNot reuse for foods after use in patina's.

This a porcelain chemical one.
Also there is sewer line clog buster/root destroyer that is 98% Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)

All state's are different including local area's may have prohibitions against it's sale, use and discharge into the water treatment systems

The cheaper versions(less copper sulfate more inert ingredients) and the liquid versions don't work well in mixing for a saturated solution.

"DO NOT TOUCH THE STEEL WITH OUT GLOVES ON" As any skin oils will leave finger prints and not plate.
This is a quick flash plating with no power used. You can spray or dip the piece, warmed not sizzling seems to help.
This is one of the same solutions that is used to electro plate steel.

Here are two sites that will provide info that will cut the learning curve down.

Casewell plating site and they have a forum

This site is the latest word in the plating world It is old school the owner may take a day or to to answer the questions. He knows more on the subject that the so called experts. Scroll down to find the subjects that interest you. There is a section for artists and hobbyists.

You may be answered by somebody form a third world country, since a lot of them still do things the low tech way.

Never needed to nickel plate anything thing so can't help.
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