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topic 4913

DIY Nickel plating onto steel

Current question:

February 1, 2021

Q. Hi,
I'm a retired engineer, from England. I'm currently restoring some old guitars, and I want to economically repair a polished nickel-plated item, which has an area of about 1.5 square cm of plating missing. Unfortunately, there are no commercial platers locally, to whom I can take this small job, and anyway, I think I'll enjoy the satisfaction of doing it myself.
If I'm successful, I may progress to experimenting with a bit more plating with Nickel, and possibly also with chromium and gold.
I'd be most grateful if you would please answer a few questions regarding some basics, so that I can make an informed decision on what equipment and technique(s) to try out.
Obviously I don't expect to become an expert overnight - just knowledgeable enough to start in the right direction.

The job in hand is a guitar bridge, made from mild- or carbon- steel, and plated with bright polished nickel. One area has been stripped of nickel by abrasion or perhaps by acidic skin deposits. It looks as though there is a layer of copper plating under the nickel. There is a second component; a small block of brass, also nickel-plated.
I intend to re-plate the bare areas, and possibly follow up if necessary, by adding a layer of plating over the entire surface of the component. I intend to use a commercially available brush-plating kit, or (if you say this is unadvisable), I will buy ready-made materials, and plate in a bath.
If the plating result is perfect and shiny, then I will be (a) delighted and (b) very surprised. I will be quite prepared to build up the plating, then achieve a good finish by polishing & buffing it.
I assume that in "brush plating", the electrolyte simply becomes depleted of nickel and the operator renews the solution on the brush.
So, here are my questions:
1. Regarding activators and nickel striking. Is the purpose of the activator or the strike, purely to prepare existing nickel for further plating? Would I need to use this on the existing nickel, prior to plating?
2. Do I need to first copper-plate either the steel, or the existing nickel, before plating with the nickel ?
3. Regarding 'brighteners'. Do these additives affect the colour / hue of the plating? Or do they affect the surface texture? If they affect colour, can you provide any advice on what additives I should look for, that will produce the colour of bright nickel plating that is commonly found on most musical instruments?
4. Generally, what is the effect on the material qualities of the plating, if the current is too high, or too low? What do I need to look out for, that will tell me to reduce or raise the current?
5. If I use a brush-on technique, then I guess that the plating process varies as the electrolyte is being weakened, and again, when it is replenished on the swab / brush. Is this likely to be a problem, or does it only affect the rate of deposition?
6. My interest is to achieve a smooth shiny decorative finish; even by polishing, if necessary. However, it would also be good to achieve zero porosity, to reduce the possibility of corrosion. Any comments on avoiding porosity, or the effects of embrittlement / stress in the plating etc would be welcome !
Many thanks and kind regards, Keith

Keith Johnson
- Yeovil Somerset England
^- Reply to this post -^

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January 2021

A. Hi Keith. Before getting to your numbered questions, and for the benefit of other readers, I must remind you that your first efforts should always be on scrap not on important pieces. Plating is part science but part acquired skill, and it's not hard to ruin stuff.

You British tend to call it 'tampon plating' rather than 'brush plating', and that phrase is more descriptive. The metal anode goes into sort of an absorbent pillowcase which is periodically redipped.

1. Proper electroplating can only build onto clean, bare metal, not on to the oxides which quickly develop on most surfaces. So, unless parts are shot blasted, they are almost always dipped in acid to dissolve those oxides. Iron oxides dissolve easily, but nickel oxides are quite acid resistant and a mild acid dip will not remove them; you usually must do a Wood's Nickel Strike.
2. Don't copper plate. Direct nickel plating is easier and better.
3. Brighteners do a lot of things but don't change the hue. You can skip them, or use the generic ones discussed on this page, or buy a solution with them already in it; but be prepared to buff to a shine.
4. Don't exceed 20 amps per square foot and you should be fine.
5. Brush plating is a difficult acquired skill; I'd suggest vat plating if you haven't already bought equipment.
6. In your first attempt at plating you have a tiger by the tail in terms of trying to control everything from cleanliness to activation to current density to solution composition to pH, so the question of how you get a smooth even finish without porosity or stress or embrittlement is difficult. Larry Durney wrote that you can do it is by obeying the letter of the law ... but unfortunately, without analytical equipment you won't be able to do that; the other way is to practice on scrap and be ready to say "well, that didn't work, I guess I should have ..." :-)

That is to say, get some scrap, read the rest of this page about solution concentration, etc., and try it ... then get back to us after you see what you get :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


February 2, 2021

thumbs up sign Good evening, Ted.

Thank you for such a rapid response, and for your help:-)

I had intended to keep the cost down for such a tiny repair, by sourcing a brush plate kit. Fortunately, I have not yet bought it, so I'll get the materials together for a bath process.

I was really concerned about being able to prep properly, so thanks for the info about using a Wood's Nickel strike.
As you advise, I won't copper-plate first.


Q. Regarding preparation....
If I use some mechanical cleaning, plus chemical degreasing, should I then use the Wood's strike universally on the steel; brass; and existing nickel surfaces?
Should I acid-clean the steel; brass; or copper surfaces, before using the Wood's strike?
Should I remove all the copper from the repair area, or just strike and plate over it?

Obviously, we don't know the original manufacturer's reasons for Cu-plating, but I'd like to know in principle, what possible benefits might be expected from initially plating the steel with copper prior to Nickel?

I guess there are whole books about stress; embrittlement; porosity and other physical issues within the plated layer. Can you just tell me from your experience, would I need to be concerned about any of these properties for this application, and what signs should I look for in the finished plating, that would indicate the presence of any of these "faults"?


I intend to grab that tiger's tail soon-ish, once I've gained a little more understanding. I'll certainly let you know how it all turns out.

Thanks and regards, Keith

Keith Johnson [returning]
- Yeovil Somerset England
^- Reply to this post -^


February 2021

A. Hi again. A 30-second dip in 20% or so HCl after cleaning is a good idea for everything, and there's no need to remove the copper. The reason for the Wood's Nickel Strike is that it's the only good way to activate the existing nickel plating. It won't hurt the bare steel, and I don't think it will hurt the exposed copper plating.

The reason I don't want you to copper plate steel is easily dispatched: because acid copper won't stick to steel; only cyanide copper will, and you don't want to mess with cyanide. Why it was originally copper plated is a very long story but is related to the fact that copper can be deposited smooth and bright and in the old days nickel couldn't -- and people stuck with copper plating long after it was no longer really necessary. Decades ago, when I entered the plating business, every car bumper was copper plated; by the time chrome bumpers fell out of fashion, none of them were copper plated before the nickel plating.

If the nickel plating looks good it will be good enough for a guitar bridge, but may not be good enough for a continuous casting mold for a steel plant, or for something that needs to be swaged, or soldered at high temperatures.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


February 3, 2021

Q. Hello again Ted.

I want to check two things with you, before buying my HCl.

It seems to be widely available at 36% w/w concentration. Is it ok to use at this strength, or should I add it to water to reduce it a bit?

Secondly, I can't tell exactly what type of steel or cast iron the item is made from. The component is apparently "molded" .. so I assume cast. It is definitely magnetic, and dense enough to be a ferrous alloy. Will the HCl have the desired effect on any steel alloy? Are there any alloys which may produce an unwanted reaction?

Thanks and regards, Keith

KEITH JOHNSON [returning]
- YEOVIL, ENGLAND
^- Reply to this post -^


February 2021

A. Hi again Keith. People generally use about half that strength for general purpose activation. In general HCl is okay for iron and steel alloys; I've never heard otherwise. But again it is possible to "over pickle" so try 15-30 seconds and watch for any pitting. Commercial plating shops sometimes use plain HCl but often they use proprietary acids with inhibitors which limit dissolution of raw metal, focusing the expenditure of the acid upon dissolving rust and oxides, giving a little bit of insurance against pitting.

sidebar I appreciate your visits here and don't want to be rude, but to your " ... want to check two things with you before buying ...", I must reply: don't be waiting on my account! :-)
This is a public forum of which I'm the curator; and when I reply too many times, people start viewing the site as a consulting service, which discourages the public input that is actually the whole point of the site. So I often don't continue dialogs to their end, but stop with open questions remaining to encourage readers to chime in :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 24, 2021

Q. I'd like to share my experiences, and my progress so far. It's a bit of a 'full' report, but I did promise that I'd let you know how I got on, after your kind help.
I do also have a question at the end of this, regarding the preparation of a suitable copper electrolyte.

Unfortunately, I could not source a ready-mixed Wood's strike at all, and the only way to source the other electrolytes in a professionally ready-mixed form, in economic quantities, was to buy a small hobby kit, designed primarily for brush plating.

Also of great concern, I was not able to find at the time, any suitable HCl, (again, not in small quantities; only in bulk, and usually only available to businesses.) There were some cleaning products available which appeared to contain HCl, but only at very low concentrations.

I did manage to source a small proprietary hobby kit, which (according to the vendor) would overcome these problems. I therefore decided to buy this kit for my initial experiments, and to consider tank plating at a later date, if I felt that my little project warranted it.

The kit included proprietary 'bright nickel' and 'bright copper' plating electrolytes, and an 'acid activator' . The vendor was unable to supply a nickel strike, but they advised me that the acid activator would adequately de-oxidise and activate the substrate and existing nickel, for copper and nickel plating. This later proved unsuccessful, and the vendor subsequently supplied me with a 'copper flash' solution, which did seem to do the job of activating the old nickel adequately.

The plating pen (anode) in the kit has a spike on the tip, upon which a pad is placed, to hold the electrolyte. (Obviously a new clean pad for each different solution). The pen also has a small bulb fitted, which will glow to indicate current flow. Power is 5v dc.

I decided to use the more badly eroded of my two bridge plates to experiment on, leaving the other plate (with just a tiny area of eroded nickel), for the final job. If I could repair both items, then that would be a bonus!

To clean the workpiece prior to every plating exercise, I used the following sequence: mechanical removal of contamination and/or polishing (if necessary); scrubbing with hot water and detergent; wiping with isopropanol; application of acid activator (with dc power) to any areas which were still bare nickel.


Initial attempts (without the copper flash) to plate both copper and nickel onto the test piece, led to poor results with both copper and/or nickel giving : blackened and burnt deposits; no deposits; and heavy copper powdery deposits which easily rubbed off. I altered my technique, to avoid the burning and loose deposits etc, but still had issues with some areas of the old nickel not accepting the copper or nickel deposits.

I also had issues, in that the current seemed to stop flowing sometimes (despite replenishing the electrolyte on the pad frequently, and re-cleaning).

After these initial setbacks, I obtained the copper flash plating solution, which led to much greater success, although I still had patches on some areas of the old nickel plating, where the copper flash would not adhere, and I still experienced episodes when there appeared to be no current flowing. I could sometimes see a little bubbling at the surface of the work, and a glow in the bulb; sometimes not at all.

I also found that in some areas, when I tried to deposit the flash, it would actually remove some of the earlier deposit!

I wondered if the metal body of the ' en' was contaminating the electrolyte, and affecting the process, so I modified the tools, by attaching the swabs to the pen by copper wire; nickel strips; or titanium wire, for the copper flash & copper plate; the bright nickel; and the activator respectively.

Although I was frequently replenishing the electrolyte on the anodic pad, I hoped that the copper and nickel anodes might also benefit the process, by replenishing ions in the electrolyte during plating.

This led to much greater success, although I still had a few areas of old nickel which would not accept the copper flash. However, these areas DO accept a nickel deposit, after cleaning and using the acid activator.
I would be interested to understand why I had problems with the flash on some areas of nickel. They were easily accessible to clean, although quite a rough 'sand-casting' type of texture. I do wonder if the acid activator is not as effective as pickling in HCl. However, in practical terms, this is not an issue, as all of the areas which require new nickel deposits for a fully serviceable repair, were ok.

After experimenting on the first workpiece, I then successfully deposited copper flash on the damaged area of the second workpiece. I followed this with some bright copper deposits, which, although well- deposited and sound, were extremely thin.

My intention is to build up a good thick deposit of copper, then buff it back, to provide a suitable substrate for the final nickel deposit. I am going to need to tank-plate this copper, as I don't believe I will achieve a thick enough deposit with the pen.

Likewise, I am happy with my experiments with the nickel plating, but again, I will need to use the tank plating method. I'm not worried about the finish too much, as it is easy enough to buff to a good finish.

So, I have now managed to buy a small quantity of the bright nickel solution, enough for a small tank set-up, in readiness for the final job. I'll need to experiment a little first, but with the proprietary solution, I'm optimistic of a satisfactory result.

I have also found a cleaning product (at last, after much searching and a large number of emails) that is simply 36% Hydrochloric acid. I'll add this to some de-ionised water to reduce its concentration, and use it to pickle the existing nickel plating, as advised.

The Copper flash seems to be an adequate substitute for the Woods bath. It seems to adhere to the nickel, following the activator, but I'll be happier now, knowing that I can use HCl as advised. The final job will reveal if the copper flash is a good enough substitute for the Wood's!

My remaining issue is with the Bright copper solution. I was unable to source a proprietary solution in an economical quantity, and I didn't want to make my own electrolyte as per the you-tube 'kitchen-experiment-using-vinegar-and-bits-of-plumbing' videos. I did find and buy some ready-made Copper Sulphate Pentahydrate crystals, which I intended to magically turn into a good quality electrolyte by using (amongst other things) sulphuric acid, as per some rather more professional-sounding instructions which I researched.

ALAS !!! I discovered that it is impossible to buy sulphuric acid in the UK, unless you have a special licencse. Apparently, it is tightly controlled, as it is used in manufacturing explosives.

I've searched numerous sources for information on alternative methods of mixing a good copper plating electrolyte, starting with the copper sulphate crystals, with absolutely no joy!

So, here's my question can anyone please advise me, what is the best way to make a copper plating electrolyte from the copper sulphate crystals ?? I assume some acid is involved, but I cannot use sulphuric. I'm not interested in a bright finish, just a good solid deposit.

Many thanks and kind regards, Keith

Keith Johnson [returning]
- Yeovil England


March 2021

A. Hi. Is battery acid unavailable in the UK? If it's not, you'll have to use acetic acid (vinegar) or HCl. You're unlikely to find recipes using those acids in plating books since professionals do not choose to use recipes that proven less satisfactory.

I still feel that this layer of copper is not necessary or beneficial, and nickel plating should be used instead.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 25, 2021

A. Try so called Weils copper plating solution -- that is old 19th century formula and can be used instead of cyanide-based solution.
Weils copper plating solution:copper sulphate 30 gms, sodium potassium tartrate 150 gms, NaOH 80 gms, water 1 lit)...
Second option is pyrophosphate copper.

You can download (free, 0$) probably the best 19th century plating handbook
- Langbein Brants (https://archive.org/details/electrodepositio00languoft).
Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh, Croatia


March 25, 2021

thumbs up sign Dear Goran,
Thank you for the reference, I'll download it and have a read! Good luck and thank you for your reply. Stay safe, kind regards, Keith

Q. Dear Ted,
Yes, unfortunately sulphuric (battery) acid is not available here, and is tightly controlled. It is a major nuisance as it seems to be an essential (or preferential) ingredient of so many processes!

Naturally, if I could have sourced HCl and a Wood's solution at the outset, I would have followed the recommended (and best) path straight away. Unfortunately, my problem has been in sourcing the right materials, in suitable quantities.

I chose to experiment with copper plating for 2 reasons: (1) because I was unable to source or make a Wood's strike, and the vendor of the kit suggested that the copper flash would be a good alternative. (2) Because several references advise the suitability of copper deposits as a filler for repair of the areas of erosion, prior to final plating.

Now that I have a supply of 36% HCl, which I believe to be of reliable quality, I can make my own Wood's strike (if I can now also source some Nickel Chloride!)

So, I've been researching recipes for a Wood's bath... there are many, and two examples from this forum are:

Quote:"ASM Metals Handbook: 240g/l NiCl2.6H2O - 250ml/l HCl"; "ASTM B 656 STD: 240g/l NiCl2.6H2O - 320ml/l HCl, anodic 30-60sec and then cathodic 2-6min."

I understand that there are many variations in the quantities of the ingredients, but none of the recipes seem to identify the actual strength(%) of the HCl ingredient part !

What % HCl is being referred to? I imagine that there is an industry understanding on this.

To be absolutely safe,I also need to understand clearly how these percentage figures are used. If I have a bottle labelled "36% HCl" then how does this relate to the actual strength of the acid solution, and to further dilution? Can I assume (for example) that by simply adding a volume of 36% HCl to an equal volume of water, that I will have a 18% HCl solution? Or is there any other conversion factor required?

Lastly, regarding filling the defects to repair the surface. Do you mean that I should try to fill the defects with nickel deposits and not copper? I've read that this would be very difficult, and also slow, but if you think it would be better then I could try this by tank plating. I have been thinking of how to mask off the areas which do not require filling. Perhaps petroleum jelly, or grease? Or would that contaminate the electrolyte?

Anyway, thank you for the tip on vinegar or HCL, for a copper electrolyte. It's precisely because of a lack of recipes in books etc (ie avoiding sulphuric) that I asked for your advice! I'll have a look at the reference that Goran kindly sent, but I'd expect that your own knowledge may be a lot more advanced than 19th century chemists :-) Can you recommend any actual recipes using either of these acids please? Thanks and kind regards.
Keith

Keith Johnson
- Yeovil, England


March 2021

A. Hi Keith. The need for 'filling' is more common in old diecastings than in steel items, and it can be quite an art. But yes, steel items are sometimes soldered, sometimes brazed, sometimes plated with copper and then 'mush buffed' as an attempt to fill pits. My issue with copper plating is just that, in general, acid copper will not adequately adhere to steel. If you are getting adequate adhesion to the steel & nickel for your purposes, carry on! I would not mask to try to fill pits, but just plate the whole thing.

As for formulas, unless otherwise noted, percentages usually refer to percentage by weight, obviating the need to define the starting concentration. But when people use liquid measure like 1 quart per gallon they are usually referring to starting with the most commonly available concentration. I don't think Donald Wood ever patented or marketed his nickel strike so there's probably no 'official' concentration. But Jack Dini says 240 g/l (2 lbs./gal) NiCl2 and 120 ml/l HCl (presumably of 35-38% commercial strength), and I'd go with his numbers because he actually quantifies the measured adhesion strength.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Previous closely related Q&A's starting in:

2000

Q. Dear finishing.com,

I am currently restoring a 1960 Mini which has been off the road since 1966. I am trying to do as much of the restoration work myself, as a hobby.

To protect some of the steel components on the carburetor levers, etc. I would like to plate them for corrosion resistance. I was given some pure nickel anodes several years ago which I would like to use because the color is similar to bright steel and has good anti corrosion properties. I'm really not too concerned with the finish quality since the parts are functional rather than cosmetic (throttle stop lever, etc) but I don't want them to go rusty again.

I have a ready source of power in a car 12v battery charger [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]. I have a suitable container to use in an old ice cream tub, and have some copper wires to hang the parts with. Current can be controlled with 5w or 21w bulbs as necessary.

My question is, what kind of electrolyte can I use? I would prefer something easily available if possible from ordinary household chemicals, is this feasible?

I've tried several solutions already with no success at plating, although I have succeeded in producing considerable quantities of oxygen, hydrogen and even Chlorine (that was fun!). Before I blow myself up I thought I had better ask the experts...

I know it's possible to buy special "DIY plating kits" but they seem to be a lot of money for what they are, given that I have everything I need already except the electrolyte, and only have a few parts to plate. Of course, everyone seems coy about the exact content of this magic potion, making me even more sure it's probably something ordinary that I could easily lay my hands on at home!

Any advice greatly appreciated, I would like to make some progress with the restoration over Easter if I can.

Martin Savage
- Ashby de la Zouch, England
^- Reply to this post -^


2000

A. Hey Martin, You might be half right about the ordinary part, But, you still wouldn't plate a useful deposit. Only about 5 - 10% of the platers even try to make some of the chemistry used in plating/finishing.

The Coy part, for me any way, is mostly for your safety, and my environment. I have concerns. What do YOU (not you but some of the do-it-yourself-ers) do after the plating? Down the drain?

Earth week is just passed and for my part I'd like to let the professionals do the plating along with the waste treatment. Save our planet. I'll step down now. Plating really is more tech. than you think. Regards, Fred

Fred Mueller, CEF
- Royersford, Pennsylvania


affil. link
ASM Metal Handbook
9th Edition, Vol. 5

"Surface Cleaning, Finishing & Coating"

from Abe Books
or
info on Amazon
or
see our Review

affil. link
gsb book
Basic Practical Electroplating

GS Branch of AESF

affil. link
"Electroplating Engineering Handbook"
by Larry Durney
from Abe Books
or

affil. link
"Water and Waste Control for the Plating Shop"
by Kushner & Kushner
from Abe Books
or
info on Amazon
or
see our Review

2000

A. Hi, Martin. No coyness, a Watts Nickel plating bath is:

- 225 to 300 g/l NiSO4.6H2O (nickel sulfate hexahydrate)
- 37 to 53 g/l NiCl2.6H2O (nickel chloride hexahydrate)
- 30 to 45 g/l H3BO3 (boric acid)
- Operated at 140 °F.

The ASM Metals Handbook, Vol. 5 has a chapter that explains how to formulate a plating solution for yourself using generic addition agents like coumarin, formaldehyde, saccharin and sodium lauryl sulphate. The balance of the info you seek is there or in nearly any plating book you can find -- please see our "must have" book list. But people aren't necessarily being coy when they are unable to distill the contents of a book into a two-paragraph internet answer to tell you everything about how to formulate nickel plating solutions and do nickel plating. Woody Allen acknowledged that point by saying he took a speed reading course, then read "War and Peace" in 10 minutes, and ... "it's about Russia" :-)

The "magic potions" you refer to are modern proprietary "brighteners" and "addition agents" which work better than the generic addition agents I just mentioned. They are the result of decades of research, and companies keep the infom out of the hands of other corporations. But hobbyists can't make them anyway because they're not mixtures; rather they require "synthesis from precursors" -- like making gasoline or plastic from crude oil. So it's best to buy the proprietary plating solutions, but you can certainly electroplate nickel without them, either using the older addition agents I mentioned if you wish, or by plating it with the Watts nickel bath and no addition agents, and just polishing/buffing it to a shine.

The principles of electroplating are very easy -- we have a FAQ "How Plating Works" that thousands of students have used to learn how to zinc or copper plate small items as a science project in just a few minutes. But practical plating is harder to do, and nickel plating your parts crudely may accelerate corrosion rather than retarding it, as seen on the fender of this 3 month old bicycle . . .

corroding chrome plate bike fender

That's because nickel is a barrier layer plating of a more noble metal. Just as zinc anodes on boats corrode away to protect the steel hull, your steel parts will corrode away to try to protect the nickel plating if there are any tiny pinholes or any porosity. That causes the steel to rust bloom and pit in an effort to cathodically protect the nickel as you see in the pic. So, even though you are not concerned about looks, you do need full coverage and complete freedom from porosity.

Skill, knowledge, and experience are all very helpful in getting the best results, and are obtainable by practicing on scrap and learning! But ruining important parts, thinking plating asn't hard, not so much. Good luck!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


2000

! As usual, you'll hear tons of 'don't do it' stuff on this site. Yet nickel plating is one of the simplest and most predictable of all the small time operations.

In fact there are several companies in England who sell very successful nickel plating kits. They even have 'electroless nickel' with its own SAFE disposal system, using 0000 steel wool [affil. link to info/product at Rockler] and a proprietary additive to accelerate the plate out. (This technique has often been promoted on this site, yet never mentioned when 'home DIY-ers are answered! Weird!)

If you have a search engine simply type in 'nickel plating' and spend half an hour surfing. You'll be amazed at what's out there. I'm sure you'll find several people who are prepared to sell you small quantities of nickel solutions.

Personally, I'd be more concerned if you were smoking cigarettes or drinking whisky than I ever would about you nickel plating! Perhaps this is just scaremongering to protect the plating shop subscribers here?

Here is a very simple formula that works extremely well: Formula to be added to 2 US Gallon Distilled Water Nickel Sulfate 1700 gms, Nickel chloride 300 gms, Boric Acid 200 gms; operate at 1 amp per 10-15 sq in. of surface area, voltage @ approx. 1.5 - 4. You might find getting the raw chemicals more difficult than purchasing the proprietary chemicals available.

I. Wallace
- LA, California


2000

This is in response to a couple of Mr Wallace's comments.

1. Nickel is quite safe, unless you happen to be one of those that is allergic to it.

2. pH control was not mentioned. It only works well in a given range and is uglier than sin outside of that.

3. A brightener is necessary to get the bright "steel" look. without it, you get a matte tan.

4. It will take a huge bank of lights to get his 12 volts down to the 1.5 volts that he needs for a small amount of parts.

5. You are wrong, most of us that are or were platers, do not want the business. The history is massive bitching about the price because all we do is "dip it" in a couple of tanks. Also, while he will accept nearly anything for his own output, he very probably will not be that forgiving if a plater does it and it has a contact spot where he did not want one.

6. My experience is bad. Some home plater dumped his tank and it spiked the sewer system to nearly out of limits. I got to spend a day (unpaid) defending my operation and basically doing a mass balance accounting for all of my nickel. What do you think that my feelings are about "home" platers.

7. Platers are limited to an effluent of less than 1 microgram on nickel per liter of waste water. Your formula is about 1000 grams of nickel as metal, so is about 1 million milligrams of nickel. He probably will dump it because it is very expensive to get rid of it. If a plater had this much go to effluent, it would be over a quarter of a million gallons of effluent or a massive fine if caught.

8. Do you really think that most people will spend the $250.00 to have the treated waste tested for compliance? Or the $300 or so dollars to have the gal or so of residue sent off to the mandatory certified land fill?

With all due respect, I do not know the gentleman from England, so "He" refers to noncomplying home platers in general and not specifically him.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


2004

A. I am a chemist. I can see the concern of having to dump waste. However did anyone think if he is using small amounts to allow the water to evaporate when he was finished? He would be left with Nickel crystals and other goodies. Then he could simply scrape this into a container seal it up and find a chemical clean-up crew (yellow pages) who he can pay to dispose of it. Last I checked a few Kilos of many different metals (not mercury) were not expensive to dispose of if not combined with strange constituents. The key is getting rid of the water. Hell he could even heat it to get rid of the water faster. Most of the weight involved with chemical removal is in water, remove the water and lower the cost. Plus he does not have to dump it down the drain. Why do most people in the professional industry think home DIY are irresponsible. If he were he would have not asked for anyone's advice and continued creating gases! (by the way don't smoke dear any hydrogen gas one of the many byproducts of electrolysis) Many of these metals can be cleaned up with cheaters and I am sure the plating industry uses such organics to "lock-up" the bad chemicals to "so to speak render them useless".

Thank you,

Michael Moore
- Dover, Delaware


Hi, Michael. Evaporation for recovery of plating chemicals is fine, and widely practiced, but you need to "run the numbers" for the particular case. It is necessary to dilute the plating solution that is dragged out by about 1000:1 for successful rinsing, and that might be a lot of water.

You can evaporate rinsewater in lieu of more complicated treatment, just as you can dig a hole for a concrete foundation with a garden tool instead of earthmoving equipment; but it might be practical for a dog house and not for a skyscraper. Thanks and good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


2006

thumbsdown Wow! Isn't this great, all fluff and no useful information in a website supposed to be filled with experts. Par for the course I'm afraid, If I ever find the answer, I'll be sure to come back and post it.

GRRR!

frustration.

Robert Tinsley
- Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada


2006

thumbs up sign Hi, Robert. You're welcome to hold a low opinion of this site. You want to follow a nickel plating recipe like you'd follow a cake recipe, but the reason it doesn't work is you have a lifetime of general familiarity with food preparation but none with plating. Example: if a cake recipe says "add two eggs", you wouldn't float unbroken eggs in the batter -- you know that the recipe implies a protocol of buying fresh eggs, keeping them refrigerated, cracking them and not getting any shell into the batter, etc.; the recipe I gave you says the nickel bath needs 30-45 g/l of boric acid, but you don't know the methodology, so will you simply throw that much into the tank and cause plating problems? I can tell you that methodology, but as I tell you to put the boric acid into a spare anode bag, you're confronted yet again with what constitutes the kind of anode bag we are implying, etc. Everything can be explained in complete detail but it takes dozens of pages when starting from nothing, not a couple of paragraphs.

We told you which book to borrow from the library at zero cost to answer every question that was raised, including what generic brighteners, levelers, and wetting agents you can use if unwilling to buy a brand-name plating solution! You can attend monthly meetings of the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society (www.nasf.org) in any area of the USA or Canada at zero cost and without being a member. You can view the 60,000+ pages of this site at zero cost, and we and our readers are happy to answer any question cheerfully.

We have an FAQ that explains to elementary school children how to safely do zinc or copper electroplating for a science project. But we are simply unable to tell an untrained person how to graduate to industrial quality nickel plating in a couple of paragraphs. Meanwhile some of them steadfastly refuse to pick up the books we suggest from the library, and refuse to try to learn any background basics like the nomenclature of chemistry :-)

And all the while, no matter how much time and effort we spend at it, the same people insult us left & right that we're trying to keep this stuff secret so we can rip them off. Geez.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 10, 2009

thumbsdown I understand why people feel they get no positive response from this website, they don't.

All I see is read this book. Why have a website when all you are is a referral service.

Nickel plating is more simple than baking a cake and you need less items to plate than to cook.

Just do a web search for plating forums and in no time you will find sites that actually try and offer real help to a new person.

Anyone can say read this, when they cannot explain it themselves.

Sad.

John Frank
- Elkhart, Indiana


October 10, 2009

thumbs up sign Hi, John. Thousands of school children around the world have learned how to do electroplating from our FAQ: How Electroplating Works. It includes how to do zinc plating and copper plating for a science project in tutorial fashion.

Our FAQ: Introduction to Chrome Plating is read by thousands of people every week and has been reprinted in auto enthusiast magazines and on countless websites.

Virtually every conceivable question about plating has been answered in exhaustive detail within the 60,000+ threads of this website.

But when you want to graduate from grammar school science-project plating to useful, bright, corrosion resistant, exterior, industry-ready finishes, and you want it all in one continuous cogent tutorial, it won't be short of a hundred pages and will require investing months to write & organize it. But I'd be crazy to do that when dozens of others have already spent their lives doing it and the product of their efforts is already available free for the asking at any library and even on line.

Maybe you should look inside yourself as to why "book" and "library" provoke such hostility and rage?

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 28, 2009

thumbs up sign GO Ted! & Right on man, Tourists who think "just go!" Are Wak, Everything you posted is Clear..> DO YOUR RESEARCH ! the responsibility of craft is in the background info & so, until then , Go... First and foremost,Ted~ best & Clear.:>

P.s *Grasshopper ask'd the Master, What is the sound of "One Hand Clapping"? ~ Master delivers a Open Handed "Slap" to the inquiring cheek. Right ! However Ted you are a genteel human,Good work & thanX, {Neva late when you wish to plate} Marcos.

marcos davidson
Marcos Davidson
Au-Gusto inc - Melbourne Victoria Australia


affil. link
Nickel Plating Solution


affil. link
Copper Plating Solution

January 28, 2010

A. As a bench jeweler I can say that all the back and forth is silly. Small part plating is very simple, contact any jeweler supply catalog and buy a bottle of plating solution, it's not that expensive. Polish and clean your part, place it in the solution and plate, rinse and dry. If you won't use it again let the solution evaporate and recycle the residue. If you want a fine finish, copper plate and polish again before the nickel plate.

Or you could just go to a jewelry repair shop and ask them to plate the part for you (most can plate pieces up to 4" x 4").

Gene Raiti
- Columbia, Missouri


April 2010

thumbs up sign Hello, Gene. Thanks.

Our FAQ gets schoolkids electroplating in 10 minutes or less; and yes, plating jewelry is easy as well.



But when antique auto enthusiasts like Martin bring you their corroded diecastings to replate, you'll find that a bench jeweler will achieve nothing with them except to destroy them. Such parts teach a lesson in humility to world-class electroplaters :-)

Please prove us wrong! Simply take one corroded old diecast car emblem and share with us how you did. My bet is after you've been completely unsuccessful after weeks of trying, you'll start to realize that plating diecastings and 'raw' metal is a very different thing than what you are familiar with.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


April 27, 2010

A. I have also been looking for an answer to plating and stumbled across this page in the interweb. It is an interesting rant from both sides - I'm just wondering if the mini got finished. It does make me laugh at the people who want instant answers...here's how to build a house, for those that want to know......get some bricks, stick them together, make a roof....live in it. There, that is surely enough detail..after all, building a house is so easy for a DIY project. I can't see why Ted is so upset, all he does is offer his knowledge, gained over years of trial and error, for free, only to be slatted on line by people wanting instant answers... why get upset (sarcasm for the idiots that can't spot it).

You know what, I will answer the question (as I too have no experience in plating). Here's how to do it....

1) Make a box from chocolate.
2) Fill the box with a mixture of jam and rubber.
3) Attach the part you want to plate to spaghetti.
4) Fashion an electrical cable, into the chocolate, made from bamboo.
5) Switch it on.
6) You should have nickel plated thing.

Let me know if it didn't work...better still, why not have another go at Ted for trying to help (more sarcasm).

Thanks.

John Humbletack
- Clacton, Essex, UK


July 9, 2010

thumbsdown I appreciate the fact that the procedures can't be explained in the same manner as in a book, but this is what the people expect from this site. Everyone does not have access to the library mentioned / not mentioned. This is why we click and surf the web. For all the posts backwards and forward the info in the books could have been explained already.

Jc chris2
- Vryheid KZN RSA


July 9, 2010

thumbs up sign So wherein is your difficulty then, Jc? The chemical formulation for nickel plating baths is already printed twice just on this one page, and we've already told you to try coumarin, formaldehyde, saccharin and sodium lauryl sulphate as your addition agents if you are unwilling to buy the packaged nickel plating solutions with modern proprietary addition agents which are impractical for an amateur to formulate.

But if you want to try your hand at synthesizing brighteners from precursors anyway, see thread 305 which tells you where to buy propane sulftone, 1-(2-Hydroxy-3-sulfopropyl)-pyridinium betaine, and N-benzylniacin.

We've already written FAQs for you explaining How Electroplating Works and an Introduction to Chrome Plating. We've answered thousands of questions about nickel plating in exhaustive detail on these pages, and provided a search engine so you can find those answers. Ask any detailed question and we'll answer it.

But the idea that books are unavailable in KZN is beyond ridiculous! From here in New Jersey, USA, I found a dozen plating books listed in one of your libraries in less than two minutes! I'm beginning to think that the reason some of the younger generation prefer public forums to books is that social media has trained them to not have the patience to quietly apply themselves even for 5 minutes without demanding that their bitching be heard, and the books won't listen :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



September 25, 2010

Q. Hello.

I am trying to build small aromatic oil distillation units, cheap enough for a small farmer to afford. The herb-boiler unit is the problem.

It is to be made of stainless steel, but normal argon welding is very very expensive here & also not readily available. So, alternate is to do brass brazing (cheaper & readily available in small job shops).

Now, for corrosion, I have to coat the brass joint (brazing joint) with something. First I thought chromium plating but is seems it is very expensive & poisonous.

So, is it possible to do nickel plating -
1. I have to do without electricity
2. I have to do at home. When I approached professional platers, they refuse to do such 'small' jobs and also charge very high (saying that even for small jobs, their entire setup will be involved)
3. I am not at all worried about the 'looks'. Only corrosion.

I am looking for help in this respect.

Thanks.

George

George Raut
- Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
^- Reply to this post -^


September 27, 2010

Hi, George. I don't think nickel plating is the answer for many reasons including the fact that it requires electricity, which you say you won't have. Please look into "tinning". This has been a rural trade for a hundred years, and thus sounds well suited to your needs. You can search this site for "retinning of pots" to get started. Best of luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


September 29, 2010

thumbs up sign Thanks Ted. I am now looking at tinning option.

Also, somebody suggested to me to look at teflon coating if temperature is below 200 °C.

Regards
George

George Raut [returning]
- Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India


November 3, 2010

A. One of the Turkish kids in my village asked what a Watts bath is and could I make one. Having given up with his chemistry teacher he thought he would try a retired miserable lawyer for the answer! First of all BUY A GOOD PAIR OF GOGGLES AND A PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES AND WEAR THEM AT ALL TIMES DURING THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE.

I used the formula of 1 kg Nickel Sulphate, 220 g Nickel Chloride and 160 g of Boric Acid added to 4.5 liters of deionized water to make a Watts Bath. After mixing the chemicals together I added some nickel brighteners available from ebay plus a couple of saccharine tablets from Hot Lips Hasan, our local chemist come plumber. I tipped this lot into a large glass tank, added an cheap fish tank heater set at 34 °C and an cheap fish tank pump/filter. Using pure Nickel ingots (from ebay UK) and a 5 volt power supply capable of 100 ma per inch we were ready to go.

I had been meaning to plate some old steel Train model rail track for years so decided this was the time. I immersed the track in a weak hydrochloric acid solution to clean it as much as possible and then washed the track with a strong solution of wash-up liquid finally running the track under the clean water tap. After cleaning and drying the article you want to plate don't touch it with bare hands or let any mucky Turkish schoolboy anywhere near it, use your Marigolds (rubber gloves) or better still suspend the item from the copper wire you will be using in the plating bath. To save space here go to google and type in Nickel Plating to find out how to connect everything up to the 5 v supply. I suspended the Nickel ingots from titanium wire although I am sure something much less exotic would suffice. The track was suspended in the bath in a copper wire basket which was easy to construct from household solid power supply cable, Plating time varied so it's best to practice on waste items first until you are happy with the result.

The Eurostar and SNCF TGV not to mention the Flying Scotsman has been running fine around my garden on nicely plated rust free track for months now!
Hope this helps and please be patient with your plating and also with those running this site as they are only trying to help.

Paul Robinson
- Mersin, TURKEY


 

thumbs up signVery happy to hear of your success, Paul. Thank you greatly for taking the time to share the info!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



April 7, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative threads

Q. First, I am no chemist so I get lost in quick in this subject.
I want to restore and dress up some old tools, new projects and things.
To do this I want a simple nickel plating system.

The biggest problem I think I face is a good cheap plating solution.
I have watched youtube videos and looked on eBay for the chemicals they use.
Nickel sulfate, Nickel oxide powder

Nickel sulfate seems cheap but I haven't found a formula to make a plating solution with it.
Nickel oxide powder looks expensive how far does 50 grams go when plating?

Will I be able to plate aluminium, steel, cast iron?
would I need to copper plate any of these first?

Is a nickel anode required for all solutions or do some provide all the nickel from the solution itself?

It looks like most solutions have temperature requirements.

What voltage & current is best for the plating? Electronics I do understand well.

Any help would be appreciated.

Bruce Campbell
- Cedar Lake
^- Reply to this post -^


April 10, 2012

A. Most people will not like the product they get from a garage shop home plating, unless they have a complete kit and good guidance.
Proper cleaning and activation are just as important as the plating step. Hard material needs to have a bake cycle after plating.

Legal disposal of the solutions is extremely expensive. An EPA violation typically starts at $500 per violation.
Why not find a shop that will take it as a filler job. It will be cheaper in the long run.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


April 26, 2012

! My elderly aunt started volunteering at the local library, and I warned her that they had BOOKS there and if she wasn't careful, she might LEARN somethin'! WATCH OUT!!!

Adolph Kurdyla
- Geneva, Florida, USA



March 4, 2013

Q. Greetings, I restore antique toy sewing machines and most of the moving parts are nickel plated. I am building a plating operation of my own in my hobby room and am ready to try it out. I've just completed the power supply portion. I'm using a battery charger which is controlled by a home fan rheostat. I have a volt/amp meter installed in the line.

antique sewing machines hobby repair of sewing machines hobby sanding and buffing setup hobby plating installation antique sewing machine

In my reference book I'm given a formula using nickel sulfate, ammonium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, boric acid. I have all these chemicals except nickel sulfate which I'm about to purchase. Now I see in your forum that nickel chloride is used. My formula mentions nothing about this item. I'm going to be plating raw steel. I will pickle the parts after sandblasting the old nickel off. Can you help me with the bath solution? Bob

Bob Benedict
- Humboldt, Tennessee USA
^- Reply to this post -^


March 5, 2013

A. Hi Bob. Beautiful crafts room.

Sorry, I've never heard of your nickel plating solution. The most typical process is Watt's Nickel, which I described in my first response on this topic. You may be able to do without any brighteners since you may be content to buff the nickel to brightness yourself. Just remember that nickel plating will accelerate the rusting of steel if there is porosity or pinholes, so watch for pinholes and plate thick enough that there is no porosity.

If you are sandblasting the parts, and you do the nickel plating immediately after the blasting, there should be no further need for cleaning or pickling. Try going immediately from sandblasting to nickel plating. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 6, 2013

affil. link
"Hobbyist Electroplating DVD"
from Abe Books

or

thumbs up signThanks Ted for your response. The reference book I am using is called "Hobbyist electroplating made easy". It lists 3 different Watt's baths plus 3 others in the same text. A couple of pages further on it says that if you are plating directly on steel this formula will work great.
Nickel sulfate, ammonium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, boric acid, 100-130 °F, .1 amp per sq inch cathode and 2.5-4 volt. I've already purchased all these ingredients, so I'm going to give this bath a try. I'll let you know how it goes. This is my first shot at plating myself. I have always paid for the service. After this I may be back paying.

Bob Benedict
- Humboldt, Tennessee, USA


March 6, 2013

Q. One more question. Does the nickel being plated come from the Nickel Sulfate or is a nickel anode necessary also? If an anode is not used, what is used in it's place? Thanks again, Bob

Bob Benedict [returning]
- Humboldt, Tennessee, USA
^- Reply to this post -^


March 6, 2013

A. Hi again. Nickel anodes are necessary. Larger platers use nickel "S-rounds" in titanium baskets, but you could probably get away with wiring S-rounds with titanium wire if you can't find small titanium baskets.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 8, 2013

Q. Ted, Here's where I'm at. I understand now what your talking about with titanium baskets and S-rounds. Since I've had little success in locating these items at a reasonable price, I'm going to try plating with nickel sulfate and ammonium sulfate instead of nickel chloride using a strip nickel anode as my hobbyist book says. I'll let you know what happens. Any help you can give me as to where I can buy small quantities of S-rounds and a small basket and bag if my plan fails? Thanks so much for your help so far. You've taught me a lot. Bob

Bob Benedict [returning]
- Humboldt, Tennessee USA
^- Reply to this post -^


March 9, 2013

A. Hi. The nickel strip might be just fine for hobby plating; it's just not as ideal as S-rounds in a titanium basket or strung together with titanium wire. S-rounds are sulphurized nickel; the sulphur helps the anode dissolve faster. Without it, what happens is replacement nickel from the anodes doesn't dissolve into the plating solution as fast as the nickel plates out, so the plating solution gradually gets weaker. In a high production plating shop where thousands of pounds of parts are plated every day, and where the nickel plating bath must go years without dumping, it is very important that the nickel content remain constant by the anodes dissolving just right. You might never have a problem worth worrying about just using your nickel strip.

But for the S-rounds , google for "hobby plating".

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 17, 2013

Q. Ted. Here's the outcome of my first attempt at nickel plating. I tried a part that measured 3"x3". I had sand blasted it about 2 weeks ago. I was able to control the amps and voltage without any problems with my home built system. I run 4.1 volts and 1.8 amps for 15 minutes. The finish was very light. I couldn't buff much gloss to the part. I believe I did several things wrong. First, I sand blasted and let the part sit for almost 2 weeks. Secondly, I didn't wash the part before I plated it. It had to have dust on it from time sitting and blasting. Thirdly, I don't think I let it in the tank long enough. I'm going to scrub the part with soap and water and try again. Can I use tooth picks to protect threaded holes from plating? I assume any part touching the hanger wires will not plate, correct? I could see the particle movement from my 1"x6" flat nickel anode during the process. Still having problems finding round nickel anodes. Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Bob

Bob Benedict [returning]
- Humboldt, Tennessee USA
^- Reply to this post -^


March 21, 2013

A. Hi. If your part is 3"x3" and two-sided, the surface area is about 18 square inches, so 1.8 Amps is about 14.5 ASF; that sounds like a good current density. It's about 1/3 of what's used in industry, but it's a good number when you lack filtration and air agitation. But it means you have to plate 3x as long as industrial platers do, and they would probably plate for a 1/2 hour. So you could plate for 6 times as long (6x as thick) before anyone might think it excessive.

Yes, you should plate immediately after sand blasting, but then it shouldn't be necessary to wash it, but doesn't hurt.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 20, 2013

Q. Why do we need to use "titanium" baskets or wire to hold anodes?

And, how does this forum work? It seems to take days for my posts to appear but is responded to within one day, sometimes the same day. I love the site, just curious.

Thanks again, Bob

Bob Benedict [returning]
- Humboldt, Tennessee USA
^- Reply to this post -^


March 20, 2013

A. Hi Bob. Most materials other than titanium will be attacked by the plating solution or will dissolve into it.

In judging the forum, please judge it by its stated goals of providing a technical resource about metal finishing, and a place for people to enjoy the camaraderie of their peers.

It's not our intention to compete against metal finishing consultants (whose support helps make the site possible); so offering timeliness & personal attention has never been a goal :-)

All submittals are manually edited & posted because our experience has been that there is no other way to keep the place from becoming a spamfest and avoid the hostility you see in the comments to youtube clips and Facebook postings.

We always post any answers that have been sent to us before we look at new questions. So it can take a while to post new questions (remember that this thread is one of 60,000, so you are not seeing all the work that's involved). Answers sometimes come very quickly because I simultaneously post my answer with your question or another reader responds immediately.

Glad you like the forum. Thanks for the kind words!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 20, 2013

Q. Thanks for the explanation of how the site works. Here all along I thought I was the only hobbyist out there trying to nickel plate at home and I had your undivided attention. LOL I am plating and receiving excellent results from my home built plating line. Something strange happened to my bath after sitting in a closed jug for a couple of days. I went to plate again today and when I emptied the bath into my plating tank, it had a large amount of crystalized substance in the bottom of the jug. I emptied that into the tank also thinking I could dissolve it again once I heated the bath. Even with this hard substance in the bottom of the tank, the plating process went very well. They didn't dissolve at all. This time I left the crystals out when I emptied the bath into my storage bottle. Do you think they can be powdered again and dissolved during another session of plating? I hope this is not my nickel sulfate. They are blue just like the sulfate when I purchased it. Any ideas? Bob

Bob Benedict [returning]
- Humboldt, Tennessee, USA
^- Reply to this post -^


March 21, 2013

A. Hi. The blue crystals/solids are indeed nickel salts. They are more soluble at 140 °F than at room temperature, so this settling out is not a shock. But you probably have more nickel in solution than you need if the solution is this saturated. Glad to hear you are enjoying success.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


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