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topic 5179

Electroplating/Galvanizing in a Small Shop


Small-scale electroplating/galvanizing: I have a small art business that specializes in metal designs (i.e., western art, scroll-work, decorative fencing, custom automotive work, etc.). Question: Is it possible to use the DC current from a Miller "Bobcat" (gasoline-powered) welding machine to operate a electroplating/galvanizing system (i.e., 20-50 gal. dip tank system)? If so, what other general equipment will it take to make this work? Thanks.

Ron Foster
- Groves, Texas


Galvanizing is not an electrolytic process, it involves immersing the part into a pot of molten zinc.

Electroplating is done with DC current, but there is just so very much more to it that you are just not at a good starting point with your welding machine. It's sort of like if you had found an old steering wheel and asked what else you need to build a race car.

You need to figure out what kind of parts you want to plate and what you want to plate them with. Then you need to investigate the EPA and OSHA rules; electroplating was the first EPA regulated industry and you shouldn't even think about electroplating until you have a good grounding in the disposal issues. You may want to consult our FAQ on Getting Started in Plating. Good luck.

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


Dear sir:

You can not use a welding DC current for galvanizing because for galvanizing (electroplating) you need a high current about 500-1500 A and low voltage about 10 V and the MILLER DC current won't give you such current and voltage.

Mohammad Reza Mahmodieh
- Shahre abrysham, Isfahan, Iran

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