Home Zinc plating experiments

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linuxrob
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Home Zinc plating experiments

#1 Post by linuxrob » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:54 pm

I did try some home plating a lot of years back with Vinegar and Epsom salts with poor results. So I drop off all my parts to the platers.

Having read a few bit and bobs on the net I am now going to see what results i can get for little to no layout.

Yes I know you can get a plating kit but would like to try a few experiments with what I have already.

I used to use 1.5V AA batteries (HP7 in my day) a large margarine tub and solid copper wire, had some zinc plates of unknown purity. What I got was a few small bits covered with a dull grey zinc which polished up to a not so dull grey.

Now my plan is to
a: clean the parts with de-greaser then wire brush and polish to a near mirror finish.
b: use an acid to etch (pickle) the parts prior to placing into the plating solution.
c: correctly calculate current required for a specific area of the parts to plate
d: regulate the power in the circuit
e: keep the electrolyte solution warm (21-25 degrees C)
f: use air bubbles to mix the solution.
g: plate for no more than 10 minutes, remove rinse with water and light buff with wire wool then back in solution for another 10 minutes.

Today I got as far as to get a good power source.

From what I remember you only need around 1.5V, it's the current (amps) which need to be in a specific range.

When I was looking into putting some LED lights on my bike I wanted a good constant voltage for the LED's as when running the battery voltage varies from 13 to 14.5 V. I go a little bit of kit of ebay that would take an input voltage from 3-23V. You could then dial in the required output voltage, in my case 12V. This will give the LED's a nice stable voltage and hopefully not burn them out. I ended up not using this as the lights i fitted have stood up to 14.5 volt ok so far.

this is the unit
Unit.JPG
Will use this as a good 1,5v supply. The battery of the Z500 is big enough to last for ages.

Wired to a 12V battery via an inline fuse (5A) and set in this case to 9.12V to just illuminate this small strip of LED's
battery psu.JPG
Now have to find the zinc plates for the anode and get some Vinegar and Epson salts to make up the electrolyte.

See next post

Rob B
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#2 Post by fastbob » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:01 am

linuxrob wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:54 pm
I did try some home plating a lot of years back with Vinegar and Epsom salts with poor results. So I drop off all my parts to the platers.

Having read a few bit and bobs on the net I am now going to see what results i can get for little to no layout.

Yes I know you can get a plating kit but would like to try a few experiments with what I have already.

I used to use 1.5V AA batteries (HP7 in my day) a large margarine tub and solid copper wire, had some zinc plates of unknown purity. What I got was a few small bits covered with a dull grey zinc which polished up to a not so dull grey.

Now my plan is to
a: clean the parts with de-greaser then wire brush and polish to a near mirror finish.
b: use an acid to etch (pickle) the parts prior to placing into the plating solution.
c: correctly calculate current required for a specific area of the parts to plate
d: regulate the power in the circuit
e: keep the electrolyte solution warm (21-25 degrees C)
f: use air bubbles to mix the solution.
g: plate for no more than 10 minutes, remove rinse with water and light buff with wire wool then back in solution for another 10 minutes.

Today I got as far as to get a good power source.

From what I remember you only need around 1.5V, it's the current (amps) which need to be in a specific range.

When I was looking into putting some LED lights on my bike I wanted a good constant voltage for the LED's as when running the battery voltage varies from 13 to 14.5 V. I go a little bit of kit of ebay that would take an input voltage from 3-23V. You could then dial in the required output voltage, in my case 12V. This will give the LED's a nice stable voltage and hopefully not burn them out. I ended up not using this as the lights i fitted have stood up to 14.5 volt ok so far.

this is the unit
Unit.JPG

Will use this as a good 1,5v supply. The battery of the Z500 is big enough to last for ages.

Wired to a 12V battery via an inline fuse (5A) and set in this case to 9.12V to just illuminate this small strip of LED's
battery psu.JPG

Now have to find the zinc plates for the anode and get some Vinegar and Epson salts to make up the electrolyte.

See next post

Rob B
These bits and bobs on the net , they didn't include Ichiban Moto by any chance ? If they did then it's only fair to inform you that this is a deliberate spoof channel . I hope this is not the case. On the other hand this site seems very helpful http://www.southsandia.com/forum/websit ... ating.html
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#3 Post by linuxrob » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:08 pm

I know that site very well ta, he is good entertainment Bob. That article by Tom on the Thunderbird forum is a good read, have thought sugar will do the slowing down of the zinc crystal formation. That Karo corn syrup is American only and have worked out it is almost pure glucose so will get down to the body building shop and get some.

Anyhoo will have to estimate the surface area of my bolts and give it a go.

Rob B

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#4 Post by Mickly » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:50 pm

I found this:
B607EAD4-496F-4759-ACB7-737C8746553D.png
I wasn’t clever enough to understand that the rate of plating ( or amps ) was very important.
Also I only gave the parts a polish and cleaned with panel wipe without and etching.

I used an old slot car transformer that gives 14v ( although it says 12v) I need to check the amps.

I created the mixture as described and switched on for about 5 mins

This is what I got:
AF4865F6-6C38-4969-9284-50C5F15189DD.jpeg
D9E68D2D-A735-425D-A969-BB5D693E181C.jpeg
The coating wiped off and didn’t seem to give a permanent finish.
I tried giving 2 x 1minute busts, cleaning with a brass brush in between - seemed to stick better but can’t be sure it’s worked.

I’m really interested in seeing your results.
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#5 Post by linuxrob » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:29 pm

Mickly, looks like to great an amperage there and the part had "burned" also 14V is too great. Have read that post

What other power sources have you, a old mobile phone charger should be a good starter. Put your multimeter in series with it in current mode and see what current the part draws. From what I can gather 80mA per square inch to 140mA per square inch is correct current draw. I used some AA bats in the past but never bothered to measure the current and got dull grey deposit.

Watch this space.

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#6 Post by Mickly » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:47 pm

Don’t know what ‘burned’ means, but the item I was trying to plate was structurally unaffected. The grey fur just wiped off.
Just tested the transformer- 2.4 amps .. whoops !!
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#7 Post by Mickly » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:04 pm

@linuxrob
I’ve got this:
5FF09F7F-FFDE-45EE-8A5A-8AF2267421CC.jpeg
Do you reckon this will do the job?
Also which wire is positive? The black or black with white stripe?
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#8 Post by Mickly » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:20 pm

Answered one of the q’s
40693FBE-1EB3-423B-B169-E88A1E9F61BA.jpeg
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#9 Post by linuxrob » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:27 pm

Finally got the test tank together.

Yesterday found and cleaned an old washing up bowl, cut up some zinc into strips. 4 for around the tank (20 mm x 100 mm) and one in bits to soak in the 200 ml of white vinegar to get some Zinc ions going. Soldered and cleaned the 4 zinc strips to copper wire tails. Could use Titanium wire if I wanted to totally immerse the Anodes but will just loop the copper tails over the edge and have the zinc in the electrolyte. Ran a wire round the bowl and soldered on the tails.

Put the 25 W aquarium heater in the bottom of the bowl and put just plain tap water to 20 mm below the wire tails together with the business end of the small temp gauge. Set the thermostat to 24 C. Within 10 mins it was steady at around 25 C with occasional stirring. I do not have an air pump as yet so will have to use manual agitation.

Today made up some electrolyte in the bowl:
6 litres of water (Filtered via coffee filter from the rain barrel)
200ml Distilled White Vinegar.
150 Grams of Epson Salts.

Turned on the heater and stirred gently, the PH of the solution is between 3 and 4, was aiming for 5 so a bit to acid but here goes.
Litmus PH3.JPG
Selected a test bolt, scrubbed it up on a drill mounted wire brush, cleaned it off in Acetone and wrapped a copper wire round it to hang off the Stainless Steel bar over the tank. Rough guess total area about a square inch so aiming for around 100 Ma of current. In it goes and adjusted voltage to get said current (0.78 v) Water had now gone up to 30 C but did settle a bit later.
Test Bolt settings.JPG
Test bolt all.JPG
started to fizz nicely so gave the tank a stir.
Agitate tank.JPG
Test bolt -crop.JPG
Good so far, cuppa I think.

OK now for a real bolt, a spare crankcase bolt shined up a few weeks ago.
1-Bolt cleaned ready to plate not pickled.JPG
A quick clean in acetone and in. Set the voltage to 1.59 Volts to get my guesstimated current of 700-800 mA
2a-Bolt in tank all -2.JPG
Gave it 10 mins and then a rinse in water .
3-After 1st strike.JPG
buff with brass brush
4-Buffed after 1st strike.JPG
Acetone cleaned and another 10 minutes
5-Bolt in tank fizz 2.JPG
7-Bolt final current.JPG
out and cleaned, second strike
6-After 2nd strike.JPG
buffed after the 2nd strike
9-Buffed after 2nd strike -2.JPG
Success I think. Total outlay so far : £18.00, inc Heater, DC-DC psu, Vinegar (500 ml), Epson salts (1 Kg), 100 mm x 100 mm zinc plates (x 5) Already had the bowl, battery, wire, clips, degreaser, acetone, and brass brush.

I will try to use a "Brightener" when I get some glucose but even without any there is a good sheen when buffed. Also will get some acid to "pickle" the part just before plating to etch the surface.

Tomorrow will try more time, more strikes with a new solution with less Vinegar to get a higher PH of 5. and try a bigger part, the rear brake arm of the GS125 will be a good test. It is used all year round so see how the plating lasts.

Until tomorrow here are some links for the bits

DC-DC psu, Ebay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DC-DC-step-d ... 1414338126

Zinc strips, Ebay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-5pcs-99-9- ... :rk:6:pf:0

Heater, Ebay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hidom-Submer ... :rk:6:pf:0

Rob B
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#10 Post by goat » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:25 am

that's looking great @linuxrob. Love seeing peoples home experiments. Interested to see the results with the rear brake arm.
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#11 Post by Mr Fro » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:04 am

linuxrob wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:27 pm
Sweet experiment.
That looks really good!

Will you electrolytically de-rustify the torque arm before you plate it up?

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#12 Post by linuxrob » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:51 pm

Mr Fro wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:04 am
linuxrob wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:27 pm
Sweet experiment.
That looks really good!

Will you electrolytically de-rustify the torque arm before you plate it up?
It's the brake actuating arm today just a buzz with the wire wheel. but will do a few nasty bits like this soon.

nearly done for today will post tonight, just remembered i forgot to do the spring. :oops:

Thanks to all
rob

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#13 Post by fastbob » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:55 pm

Most impressive.

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#14 Post by Mickly » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:14 pm

The final result looks very like the original polished version, a lot like my own experiment - how do you know it’s worked and you haven’t just buffed off the zinc coating?

This isn’t a smart arse question, I’m truly interested.
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#15 Post by fastbob » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:14 pm

Another question, I understand that zinc is highly toxic . What safety precautions do you take especially during the buffing and polishing stages ? I believe Ed China wore a respirator to drill a zinc plated chassis on a Morgan .