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Applying Colors to Nickel Plating

adv.  

(2004)

Q. I have some miscellaneous, small, light, mild steel parts and tensile wires that have been nickel plated prior to my procuring them. I have a strong desire to apply various colorations to these parts for a student project and for possible future fabrications of the project's end product. Is there an established method for applying a lasting coloration to parts that have been previously nickel plated? Many thanks for your time.

Brandon Senn
student - San Luis Obispo, California, USA


Handbook of Electropainting Technology

(2004)

A. Hello, Brandon. It may not be something you can do yourself, you might have to go to a jobshop for it, but Electrophoretic lacquer is commonly applied to nickel plating to simulate brass, and it is available in many other translucent colors as well. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2004)

Q. What is the typical thickness of an electrophoretic lacquer finish? (my application requires that any coatings I apply be on the range of ~1 mm or less).

Also, do you know if flexible (thin) metal components which are electrophoretically colored will retain their flexibility, or will they be subject to cracking when deflected?

Thanks,

Brandon Senn
student - San Luis Obispo, California, USA


 

A. Hi, Brandon. Electrophoretic lacquer can be applied quite thin. Maybe 5-10 microns.

It has reasonable flexibility.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2005)

Q. How is Electrophoretic Lacquer applied to jewellery.

Syed Shafqat Naqvi
jewellers - Lahore, Pakistan


(2005)

A. Hi, Syed. Electrophoretic lacquering is done in an electrified tank, rather similar to electroplating. The electricity converts the components that are in the solution into lacquer on the surface of the parts.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2004)

A. Copper sulfate 10-12g/l
lead acetate or lead nitrate 10-12 g/l
sodium thiosulfate 100-180 g/l
rachel salt 15-20 g/l
temperature 18-25 °C
immersion: 5 min-yellow/ 7 min-brown/ 10 min-red/ 13 min-violet/ 17 min-blue/ 20 min-green.

I believe you should acid activate your parts. I tried this solution on newly deposited nickel and it was O.K .

Good luck


Cair Shishani
aircraft maintenance - Al Ain, United Arab Emirates


(2004)

Q. Your nickel coloration process seems simple enough and most of the chemicals seem within my abilities to acquire but ...

I am wondering if anyone can recommend inexpensive US suppliers for this chemistry (online preferred) -- since my process will definitely be a trial run and I am on a student budget.

Also - what quality of finish are you obtaining? Your responses are very educational and much appreciated.

Brandon Senn
Student - California


(2004)

A. I got dark blue similar to gun blue, brightness as the base metal.

Good luck


Cair Shishani
aircraft maintenance - Al Ain, United Arab Emirates


(2004)

Q. What exactly do you mean by 'rachel salt' I have been unable to locate any for my purposes. Thanks.

Brandon Senn
Student - San Luis Obispo, California


simultaneous (2004)

A. I think the spelling in the USA is Rochelle salts.

Jason Deible
Plating - Grand Rapids, Michigan


(2004)

A. Try looking for Rochelle Salt. One source said that it was a sodium and potassium soluble tartrate. Did not find the precise formula and it is not in my Fisher catalogue.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


(2004)

A. Mr Brandon Hello,

It is potassium sodium tartrate, you can prepare by mixing tartaric acid with sodium and potassium carbonate NaKC4H4O6.

REGARDING OTHER SALT CAN BE PREPARED BY ADDING METALLIC LEAD TO NITRIC ACID AND COPPER ADDING TO SULFURIC ACID WITH A SMALL AMOUNT OF NITRIC (BE CAREFUL OF NITROGEN OXIDE FUMES, VENTILATION REQUIRED).

REGARDING SODIUM THIOSULFATE IT IS A BIT COMPLICATED BUT YOU CAN TRY SODIUM SULFIDE OR POLYSULPHIDE BY DISSOLVING SULFUR IN 200-400 G/L NaOH WHILE BOILING. Please be careful and ask help from a chemist and please read the material safety data sheets MSDS.

Wish you good luck, God blessing. Please send feedback if possible!


Cair Shishani
aircraft maintenance - Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

(2004)

A. Lead free recipe, for different colours:
cooper acetate.......25 gms
sodium tiosulphate......240 gms
citric acid..............30 gms
16 °C temp, 20-300 min., according to Fishlock's Metal Coluring Handbook. Can be used on nickel or nickel plate.

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia


April 6, 2011

Q. I am very interested in Mr. Shishani's process for coloring nickel. I have a number if aluminum castings that I need to color and they will not anodize. I can nickel plate the AL and then color if I can figure out how to make up the bath. I have spent untold hours on the net researching "nickel coloring" and this thread is about my only hope. I am not a chemist, but I follow directions well. I have made several inquiries to chemical suppliers and some of the items he lists are somewhat problematic to procure, but I am both patient and persistent.

Any help with this process will be greatly appreciated.

Phil Wagoner
Gun Refinisher - Mt. Airy, North Carolina USA


September 21, 2012

Q. I have questions about Mr. Shishani's method.
In this method electrolyzing is not used?
Or what type of Anode should be used?
Please help. Thanks

william wallace
- iran



Need Red Steel options!

August 4, 2016

Q. I am currently trying to get a steel part to look red. Because of the other requirements, I'm having a difficult time finding options. The coating/treatment must be thin and durable to friction--this part is a small (5"L .75" Dia) tube that slides within another steel tube loosely, but too tight for powdercoat. The steel part can be made of stainless or non-stainless steels, if that offers additional options. PVD is the closest option I have come across but I cannot find red, only rose or red/bronze. I read on this forum that nickel plated steel can be made to look red by the below method, but I have no source to test the method to see the results (and I am no chemist):

"Copper sulfate 10-12 g/l
lead acetate or lead nitrate 10-12 g/l
sodium thiosulfate 100-180 g/l
rachel salt 15-20 g/l
temperature 18-25 °C
immersion: 5 min-yellow/ 7 min-brown/ 10 min-red/ 13 min-violet/ 17 min-blue/ 20 min-green.
I believe you should acid activate your parts."


The steel I have could be nickel plated if that would allow the above procedure to work with good result, but I also do not know how durable that finish would be. Any help or guidance is greatly appreciated!

Drew Daddono
product designer - Tampa, Florida USA
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


Cerakote (Red)

October 25, 2016

A. Drew,

My first recommendation would be cerakote =>
It has a high abrasion resistance, comes in many colors, as with any coating preparation is key. Follow the instructions provided by cerakote, or if you're not equipped to do it on your own, send it out to a coater to have it done.

--Rama

Rama Shunn
- Woodinville, Washington USA

----
Ed. note: We appreciate the suggestion, but describing the suggested coating generically rather than by brand name might be better. Our understanding is that it's a sprayable ceramic coating, available in both air-dry and oven-cure versions.


January 2, 2017

A. Hello Drew,
How about making the part undersize a hair to allow for paint?

blake kneedler
Blake Kneedler
Feather Hollow Eng.
Stockton, California


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