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Room temperature nickel plating on non conductive mediums

September 22, 2010


I just bought a rectifier and am trying to get into nickel plating my casted urethane pieces. So far I have received mixed feedback from various distributors about the process, product, and adhesion. I would appreciate any feedback or advice.

Speaking with a gentleman at one supplier he recommended I use a conductive paint and their 1.5 lb bag of powered Nickel Crystals w/brightener. This solution needs to be heated up. The folks at another place suggested I use their Nickel plating solution because it doesn't need heat...is this true? Other people have suggested I use a copper base then nickel?

With regards to adhesion the pieces to be plated will be clear coated with urethane clear, airbrushed, and then epoxied for protection from exterior elements so I don't need a high build of nickel...just shiny base coat to paint over. The kicker is I need good adhesion and am unsure where the breakdown will happen. Would you all recommend brushing my molds with a conductive copper powder and touching up the casted pieces with a copper infused lacquer coat or should I cast the parts, spray them with an epoxy primer, and then spray with the copper infused lacquer?

Appreciate any insight you all can offer!

John Herald
student - Reno, Nevada

February 2, 2011

Hi, John. Almost anything at all can be plated, but the usual issue in plating unusual substrates is getting good adhesion. If you are only looking for a reflective metallic look, and not the engineering properties of nickel (you say you need "just shiny base coat to paint over"), I think it would be easier, cheaper, and sounder to use a "chrome-look paint" system. Good luck.

If you think you must do nickel plating, please tell us why. Thanks!


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

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