plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
JUST WANT TO DO NICKEL PLATING
I know nothing about nickel plating. I want to plate some cycles parts. Can you tell me the basic formula. I have some nickel sulphate but what do I mix it with to make a solution. And is the nickel anode a piece of pure nickel?
THANK YOU.J J DERWIN
- MANCHESTER, LANCS, UNITED KINGDOM
Hi J J,
In case you are unaware of it, but interested in the prospect, plating of this sort is generally done by jobshops. You don't have to do it yourself if you don't want to.
You are certainly entitled to try plating yourself if you wish, but I think it's appropriate to tell you that it may not be quite as simple as you first think. We have an FAQ, complete with electroplating experiments if you'd like to play around a bit to get familiar with it on scrap before committing to plating important parts. Remember that school projects don't require good adhesion, substantial thickness, freedom from porosity, or corrosion resistance; people work full time for years to learn how to do plating really robustly.
Your plating solution also needs nickel chloride, pH control, boric acid, and wetting agents -- it's called a "Watts Nickel" plating bath and you can find concentrations and operating conditions by searching our site, or in any plating text, or in the Metal Finishing Guidebook available on line. This will not plate bright without addition agents including a primary brightener and a carrier, but perhaps you can buff it to satisfactory brightness. The anodes should be sulfur-depolarized rather than pure nickel because pure nickel tends to not dissolve into the plating bath.
The plating step only comes after you have buffed the parts, alkaline cleaned them to a waterbreak-free surface, and acid activated them. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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