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Zinc plating small motorcycle parts

I am restoring a 1972 Suzuki GT750, and a lot of the small parts are not available. Most of what I need to do was zinc plated. This question I have is, what kind of power supply do I need and what electrolyte is used in this process? I thank you and anyone that responds in advance, Ace.
Ace Alsbrooks
Hobbyist - Bunnell, Florida USA


Hi Ace, good luck with the project.

Most of us last saw electroplating in chemistry lab, which tends to color our thinking about how it's done; but actually it takes a much larger commitment of time, specialized equipment & chemistry, and analytical instrumentation to do good industrial quality electroplating than people think. One of the things that will happen, for example, is too much plating on the threads, and no plating under the head of the bolts. Another is plating that blisters or flakes off from the screws. a third is hydrogen embrittlement of the fasteners (turning them to brittle glass). Consequently, the usual way to handle your needs is to send the parts out to a plating shop for the application of modern technologies. If you wish to try it yourself, that I strongly suggest you practice on scrap parts. You can consult our booklist for a few books on this subject because it is complicated. There are 3 broad classes of zinc plating processes: cyanide, acid, and alkaline non-cyanide -- and each has many variations to the formulas, and the effective required addition agents are proprietary. So, if you want to make zinc plating your avocation, and commit time and effort to it, that's fine. But if you want to ride your bike, you'll make much faster progress looking for a plating shop than looking for a plating chemical. Good luck.
Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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