Home Zinc plating experiments

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linuxrob
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#16 Post by linuxrob » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:14 pm

Mickly wrote:
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.
Actually it is a very good question, I did think that a buff with wire wool of even a brass wire brush would remove some material. So. I buffed the copper wires with my brass (real brass not just brass coated steel) brush and it shone the zinc plating up on the copper wires, i had to really be brutal with a green scotchbrite to make any impression on even the first strike.

am putting together today's pics
here is a pic before of the rear brake arm on the GS125 been through 5 winters since major cleanup.
Brake arm before.JPG
rob
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#17 Post by linuxrob » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:32 pm

fastbob wrote:
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 .
B'limy made a rod for own back here:

Good Point Bob, I use nitril gloves and eye protection throughout and did not use my mask. I dried / buffed outside today but now you have put a thought into my mind I will get the mask on tomorrow. Even outside the mask is a must and the old decorators one piece suit too when using the polishing mops.

Rob

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#18 Post by linuxrob » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:24 pm

I ran out of time last night to post.

Yesterday I completed the re-plating of the GS125's rear brake arm.
01-Brake arm before.JPG
To clean
02-parts removed.JPG
Brake arm de-greased then cleaned with Brass coated steel wire brush.
03-Brake arm wire wheeled.JPG
In the tank and plated for 15 minutes
04-Brake arm 1st strike 15 mins.JPG
With these settings
05-Brake arm setting.JPG
Not plated well, you can see the missed bits. I calculated (rough) 5 Square inches of surface area @100 mA per Square inch for 15 mins a strike.
06-Brake arm 1st strike 15 mins closeup.JPG
Did 3 more strikes for 20 mins each at the previous settings to get a better coat, rinsed and buffed between coats.
11-Brake arm 4th strike 20 mins.JPG
you can see in the picture below where the zinc has not adhered to the metal in the hard to reach places, a media blast would get in there OK but I do not have access to blasting.
12-Brake arm 4th strike hard to reach places obvious.JPG
The part now had nearly an hour in the tank with 4 strikes. At this point the colour and texture of the surface were the same after the last 3 strikes, colour light-ish grey and smooth to the touch. I dried it with a heat gun and buffed with a soft brass wire brush. Time to raid the cupboard and add some "brightener" to the electrolyte. "Karo" Corn syrup gets a lot of thumbs up in the states but not available over here, so, from what I can gather it is pure Glucose - Dextrose type stuff and these are available via body building suppliers on Ebay. Only thing in the cupboard today is caster sugar, ah well it will have to do. The PH of my electrolyte is still on the low side (acid) at 4 via litmus paper so will have to make a new batch soon, having nothing to loose I added 100 grams of castor sugar, some recipes say same or more sugar as Epson Salt but I just want to try a little sugar for now just to see what happens.
13-Brake arm 6th strike 25 mins with sugar.JPG
Gave it 25 minutes, so longer than before but with less current, there was noticeably less bubbling with the lower current and a slightly shinny-er finish.
14-Brake arm 6th strike 25 mins with sugar settings.JPG
Rinsed, dried with hot air gun and buffed with soft brass brush and a light going over with Solvol. Shinny!!!!
15-Brake arm done buffed good side.JPG
Now for the small bits

Even with ACF50, GT85 and cold water rinsing the bike has a lot of corrosion on most of it's fasteners, I have found Stainless Steel Brake adjusters with spring on Ebay but Before I get the crow bar out to open my wallet I want to see if I can get some more winters out of what i have.

Here is the nut De-Rusted, It is full of pit marks.
17-Adjusting nut wire wheeled.JPG
5 mins later on the fine grinder and 600 wet and dry
19-Adjuster nut dressed-2.JPG
That bar by the way is a M6 x 150 mm Stainless steel coach bolt.

Wiped with acetone and in the tank for 15 minutes 1 Volt 300 mA, must be 3 Sq-ins there? Came out a bit underdone.
20-Small parts 1st strike 15 mins not enough time.JPG
So in for another few strikes 45 mins in total.
23-Small parts 3rd strike- dry-2.JPG
Not bad, after dying and a buff up.
24-Small parts 3rd strike buffed.JPG
Getting near Tea Time now. Realised as I was putting it all back together forgot to take the blooming spring off.

Quick de-grease and wire brush, acetone wipe and in for 15 minutes.
26-Spring settings.JPG
Out
27-Spring 1st strike- dry.JPG
Dried and polished with my well used Autosol cloth
28-Spring 1st strike-buffed.JPG
Gave it a total of 3 strikes, and all done

here is a before and after as a reward for reading all the way to the bottom of this.
Before and After.jpg

Conclusions so far:

To vary the current in my setup I am adjusting the voltage (Ohm's Law)

Basic solution works well
6 litres of water (Filtered via coffee filter from the rain barrel)
200 ml Distilled White Vinegar.
150 Grams of Epson Salts
100 Grams Castor Sugar (used as "brightener" does make a small improvement in appearance to the freshly plated item.)
@24-27 C

Container
The washing up bowl is a good size for my heater but makes the distance between the Anodes and the work a bit to great, will try a higher current per square inch and - or longer strikes. Can see a depletion of the Zinc strips used for the anodes even after plating these small-ish parts.

Preparation
de-grease (strong solution of all purpose cleaner @60 C)
wire brush de-rust
de-grease again
acetone or alcohol wipe
The above steps steps together with using different gloves for each step keep the work contaminant free and result in a good zinc adhesion.

Lustre
Buff with soft brass wire brush after rinse and drying followed by light polishing gives a good shine comparable to bare polished steel.

Improvements and further steps.
Media blast parts.
Acid dip parts prior to 1st strike to remove any rust particles and etch the surface.
Glucose as a "brightener" and more of it.
Increase PH of solution to max PH 5 by using a lot less vinegar.
Aquarium air pump to constantly mix electrolyte.
Increase current per square inch to 140 mA
More accurate calculation on surface area of part and possible alteration of technique depending on the shape of part.
More Tea

Now the rest of the bike end is letting it down.

Will monitor these parts this winter

More soon, may have to buy (Aghhhh!!!) some pasivate chemicals to get that bright Zinc look

rob b
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Last edited by linuxrob on Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#19 Post by Hoggs » Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:06 pm

ooh shiny shiny!

:thumb:
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#20 Post by Bianco2564 » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:04 pm

I'm inspired to give this a go so have ordered one of the voltage/current controller.
Got plenty of parts on 3 of my bikes that would benefit from plating.

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#21 Post by Via » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:07 pm

Awesome results, now have I got space left anywhere to do this myself :scratch: :thumb:
Hoggs wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:21 pm
I agree totally with @Slowlycatchymonkey

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#22 Post by BmwMeister5978 » Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:14 pm

toxic or not , the result is simply amazing, i already tried similar methods for aluminium anodisation but zinc plating... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:. For people that are interessed into anodisation process, click here (but in french, dont hesitate to use a translator guys ;) )

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#23 Post by linuxrob » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:20 am

BmwMeister5978 wrote:
Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:14 pm
toxic or not , the result is simply amazing, i already tried similar methods for aluminium anodisation but zinc plating... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:. For people that are interessed into anodisation process, click here (but in french, dont hesitate to use a translator guys ;) )
Good link to a interesting article, have some time this week to try more experiments with the plating.

rob B

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#24 Post by MarkW » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:36 am

Interesting stuff!

I'm currently refurbishing an old clarinet for my son and have a load of dull and tarnished keywork to renovate. I had read a bit (admittedly not much) about DIY silver and nickel plating, but the consensus seemed to be that the finish was thin and wore off quite easily. I stopped my researches at that point, but after reading this I might have another look!
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#25 Post by spanner » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:01 am

Excellent work @linuxrob , love seeing this type of work :thumb:

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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#26 Post by linuxrob » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:07 pm

Finally got round to doing a few more bits with the home brew plating bath. I did try some experimentation to get a brighter finish out of the bath instead of a gray. I used my standard recipe:

100g of Epsom Salts from Pound Stretcher £1.00 per 500g (Magnesium Sulphate MgSO4) per litre of white distilled Vinegar via ASDA 39p for 548ml. Containers from the local Greggs, other sandwich shops are available. Used a 3 litre one for the electrolyte and the 1.5 ltr ones as rinse tanks. Splashed out on some new anodes too, got 5 X 140mm x 140mm x 0.2mm thick 99.9% zinc sheets for £6.52.

Made up the electrolyte and dropped the remains of the old zinc anodes in and left it overnight to dissolve a bit of zinc in the solution. Next day used 4 of the 5 new anodes to line the inside of the 3ltr tub and some Titanium wire in a ring around the tub to secure them. Will use crocodile clips in the future for a better connection. Further modifications to complement the aquarium heater were the addition of an eBay sourced 12V small pump and a cathode bar made from 2 lengths of 6mm twin and earth copper wire soldered together and insulated where it goes over the edges of the tub see pic below without the heater i filter the mix via a coffee filter after every session into a clean 5Ltr container.
100_3177.JPG
By this time I had read a lot about the process and ways other than proprietary chemicals to get a bright finish out of the tank without the need to buff. I made a few solutions to my recipe and added the following:

Dextrin or pure glucose @ 3g per litre and got a slightly lighter gray but still matt, slowed the plating down a bit too. - Abandoned.

PVA glue, the clear type @ 4ml per litre as a wetting and levelling agent with and without the glucose @ 3g per litre got very light gray but slow plating and reduced the conductivity of the bath too much. - Abandoned

Vanillin @ 1-3g per litre, this is used in food prep and is a synthetic alternative to Vanilla. Ethyl Vanillin is the compound that gives the best results in tests but is expensive and difficult to get so I had a go with Vanillin, again from ebay. It did give a shinier lustre out of the bath and made the mix smell a lot better (vanilla) the more I added the better the look was. On close examination the coating was satin and had a glittery roughish look even when slightly buffed. Slowed the plating down a lot. Well worth trying if this is the finish you want but I am after a Cadmium silvery type look. So put this mix in a container for later use maybe.

Some examples of Vanillin at 1 g per litre
Addative.JPG
and 3 g per litre
100_3183.JPG
So after all this I thought I would try some passivating chemicals and stick to a std plane mix to get a good even gray coat then buff and clear passivate for protection and keep the silvery look. Ordered the Clear / yellow and Olive drab from Gateros plating. This turned out to be a good idea and am now getting with the clear passivate a very good cadmium look. I use the mix @ 30c with circulation pump on and 3 12 minute strikes with buffing in between and a final buff and gegrease before in the passivate for 30 seconds.

my 4 rear disc bolts for the Z500 project
all bolts finished.JPG
Got some time after Christmas to give the GS125 som TLC to the chain and will plate the rear spindle, spacers and chain adjusters. Will also redo the rear brake arm as now after over a month in the salt has dulled down a bit even after cold water washes and gt85. Then busy with the Z500

All the best to everyone.

Rob B
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Re: Home Zinc plating experiments

#27 Post by linuxrob » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:18 pm

Evening all hope you had a great break. Took advantage of time off and good weather and got the rear wheel out and chain off the GS125. First an update, the rear brake arm has now had 6 weeks of salt and has not fared well. It did have a good layer of zinc but the coating was not passivated to give it more protection.
rear brake after just 6 weeks of salt.JPG
I now have some clear passivate chemicals to play with and see how much more protection it gives. The chain and sprockets are to be replaced in the spring but it is due a good clean and oil, being a non -O ring chain I cannot overlook it. As you can see in my before and after shot below when I first replated the brake arm the rear spindle and chain adjusters were in a terrible state.
Before and After.jpg
Put the chain into soak in old engine old for a bit while I cleaned up the spindle etc. I took the sprocket off to and cleaned up the carrier bolts and tabs. Whilst there I noticed a bit of roughness in one of the wheel bearings so will fit a new set in the spring before MOT time. A 6302 on one side and 6202 on the other. The sprocket carrier bearing is OK but will order a 6204 for it anyway.
rear hub and sprocket before.JPG
Those tabs have not a lot of life left in them, good job I ordered a new set with the chain and sprockets.
spindle and chain adjusters degreased.JPG
On with the plating:
Filtered my electrolyte mixture via a coffee filter into the plating tank and let the heater get the mix up to 30 C with the circulating pump on.

First up were the sprocket bolts, these are 8mm x 1.25 pitch and work out at 2 square inches surface area each. I can do 2 at a time with a total current of between 400 and 550mA. I chose 500mA so adjusted my voltage to give me this, the first strike as usual is for 15 minutes.

Did 3 strikes on these followed by the other 2 carrier bolts. 3 strikes on the pair of tabs and then did all 4 nuts together. Improved my spreadsheet to calculate the nuts surface areas as well as bolts now. Each 8mm std nut works out at 1 square inch total surface area would you believe copy of spreadsheet available on request.

By now my passivate mix had heated up to 25 C in a water bath so the bits got a clean with acetone , dried and in for 30 seconds. They came out with the Cadmium look I was looking for. Interestingly the passivation process with my setup of Vinegar and Epson salts dulls the mirror like shine when buffed to a bright silver when done.
sprocket bolts and tabs.JPG
I need to clean the nut threads better, will look out for a small wire bottle type brush. The dark rings round the bolt shoulder show that I have not got all the rust / grease of that part either. Must do better.

Spindle nut, spacers and adjusters proved no problem but the spindle itself was too long for the tank. I could have just stood it up on each end but that would mean that the very bottom and top not getting any coating. After some Heath Robinson type ideas i just made a small wood support over the tank with the spindle pushed through a hole in the cross piece and held at the right height by a cloths peg first one end then the other. I was too embarrassed to photograph this "contraption" but I am sure a) you could imagine it, and b) have a much better idea.
rear spindle and all finished.JPG
Whilst all this plating was going on I not only cleaned and oiled the chain but cleaned and repainted the rear of the swing arm as it was now letting the side down.

And some pics of the finished job, and before anyone comments I forgot to give the bike a wash before i did all this so the chain guard is looking a mess, sorry.
job finished brsake side.JPG
chain ajuster sprocket side done-2.JPG
Regards and have a good 2019

Rob B
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