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   I am getting ready to start using the Copy-Cad system from Caswell. I have been on the Caswell plating forum for help getting the process lined out but their forum seems to be rarely used and many threads have no responses. I have also read through all the threads I found on the forum, I thought this thread could sort of be used to combine the working knowledge of the experienced platers (ajmcforester, motorman7, nix240z and any others) on here and I would add in where I could and my experiences as I go along. I spent a day with Steve (nix240z) with him showing me his process a couple of years ago and I am finally getting around to doing this. I have acquired the power supply and the chemicals came in this week.

 

   Some of my bigger questions are:

How do you clean dirty hardware? Soak in solvents? Parts cleaner? Carb cleaner?

 

How to you strip rust? Bead blaster? Acid? Vibrating polisher?

 

Do you pickle or acid was to neutralize remainder of rust?

 

Are you baking hardware for hydrogen embrittlement?

 

Thanks,

I look forward to some expert direction

Charles

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I worked on building a plating station today. Scrap I had around the house. The ply is 1/2" treated, they say not to use OSB or chipboard as it will not hold up. Cut the holes for the buckets 11 1/4" in diameter. Left a space on the left for a crock pot to put SP degreaser in.

C

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I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say about this plating kit, I've thinking about getting one for many years but the price of the kit and the power supply together has always made me hesitate.

I've gotten pretty good at spray painting bolt heads but I would love to strip them all and replate properly.

Chris

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Steve (nix240) did tons of hardware and metal on his 240z, basically everything that wasn't painted. It takes some experimenting evidently to get your process down and you have to be careful not to contaminate the different baths. I had some hardware done by Norm (Zeddsavers) and it came out real nice but there is shipping and always the chance something gets lost. This way I can plate things as I come to them. It should pay for itself before I am finished. The biggest limitation is the power source. To do large things like the headlight baskets and window regulators you need a lot more power. (.14 A per Squ. inch). Larger power sources can get expensive but they are easily resold when your done. I may just stick to little stuff and have Norm do the few larger things I want done but don't have enough power to handle. I have 5 amps which should be good to 35 inches (counting both sides)

  I am still trying to figure out prep and whether to acid dip before the Zinc tank. I have a blasting cabinet, vibrating polisher and of course a wire wheel. Just don't know which way to go yet. If I remember right Steve blasted them first then wire wheeled them before plating.

Charles

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Awesome thread idea Patcon. I will be buying the Caswell kit this year too. I already have a 240v 60amp power supply so I should be good there.

Looking forward to seeing and hearing about your progress!

Mark

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I blast the parts first, then wire wheel polish before the plating. I know there is a lot of trial and error until you figure out what works best for you with your bath set up and technique for the plating.

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Do you wire wheel polish the flat metal parts too or just the nuts and bolts?

Sent from my iPizzle ringy dingy device....

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all parts....

 

 

Do you wire wheel polish the flat metal parts too or just the nuts and bolts?


Sent from my iPizzle ringy dingy device....

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Blue did a nice write up once on the entire process.  I am having some dificulty finding that thread.

 

Also, I never use the SP degreaser...I have a couple bags you can have.  I live by the wire wheel and the orange fiber wheel that Caswell provides in the kit.  Also, after the zince plate operation, don't forget to rinse clean and do a quick (30 sec) 'blue' zinc dip before the yellow zinc.  The blue zinc helps the yellow to stick and gives the rainbow effect.

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Thanks, Wheee!

I have done a lot of reading all over and here. I was hoping to kind of consolidate and condense the info I found here in this thread, and to also come up with a process that works that others could crib off of.

 

motorman7

I think I found his thread and there was also some info at Atlantic Z from Blue. I printed all of that kind of stuff I could find. I was hoping to compare the snippets I found to come up with a consensus for what the process should be.

I was wondering about the blue chromate. I don't remember Steve using that when I watched him plate some bolts, but it's been a while and I am lucky if I can remember what day I'm in. I believe I printed a reply from you in another thread that mentioned the blue chromate. I haven't ordered any blue yet; I probably should...

I don't know how many use the blue prior to the yellow chromate dip. What did you do for degreasing? Did you use an acid bath just prior to zinc plating?

 

 

 

There was one thread I found, I believe on the Caswell site, and a guy named Brian was working for Peter Brock building a BRE tribute car. Does anyone know who Brian is or if he is on this site? It sounded like he had done a lot of plating too.

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The degreaser is for greasy or oily bolts.  I usually clean the oily bolts in thinner, let them dry, then do the wire wheel.  You don't want to get your wire wheel oily or dirty.

 

After the wire wheel and orange wheel finish, I acid bath for 15 mins, then plate for 10-15 mins.  I spray rinse with RO water after the zinc plating then blue dip for 30 sec, yellow dip for ~2mins or so.  After the yellow dip, I rinse in bucket of warm water for 15 secs then usually blow dry with high heat (yes, my wife's old hair dryer) till dry.   This process works very well for me.

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I have a batch of very weak nitric acid to be used for a final dip to brighten the part. I have not started plating yet but I did a lot of reading and it seemed to be a useful final step.

I did crude plating a few years back and it worked fine but the finish was dull.

Edited by Blue

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I've built a DIY zinc plating setup similar to the ones discussed in the Factory Five link.  Used zinc-strip roofing peak strip called 'Moss Boss' (available on special order from Home Hardware and costs ~ Cdn $30...  comes in a 50' roll, ~ 4" wide and has the same consistency as ultra-thick aluminum foil). 

 

I used a big Home Depot white plastic pail for the tub. 

 

I built a stack of 4 rings of the zinc foil to create a full-depth liner for the pail (rings were stapled to two wood strips at the 12:00 and 6:00 positions to provide some support, with a bare copper wire then stapled on top to electrically link the rings). 

 

I used a thin wood strip (half-round dowel) sitting across the top of the pail as the parts support.  The wood strip has a length of copper wire stapled across the length its top surface.  The parts are hung in the electrolyte bath using lengths of copper wire with hooks bent at each end.  The top hook makes contact with the copper wire on the wood strip.

 

Vinegar and epsom salts for the electrolyte.  The sugar is optional, and is supposed to act as a brightener (most people seems to find that it doesn't really do much).

 

My power supply came from my selection of left-over appliance wall packs. You really need to put both a voltmeter sand an ammeter into the circuit to be able to get a sense of what's going on.  I bought two cheapo multimeters for this purpose @ $10 each.

 

I've just started experimenting with this set-up.  Plating process is fast ( ~ 5 minutes).  The results look promising, but I need to fine-tune a bit.  Too much power creates a really granular coating.  Too little power = no visible coating at all.  It's preferable to put a rheostat controller into the power circuit, but I haven't found one yet with an adequate power rating. As you will see from other write-ups, the plating process is directional (line-of-sight), so getting proper coating coverage for shielded areas of the part can be challenging (I've been working with the Z's tailgate latch as my test piece).  Still, the end effect is pleasing (shiny silver), even if it lacks the rainbow appearance of the factory, cad plating.

 

Bead blast the part(s) for a start.  Wire wheel, if you want.  Acid dip (muriatic should be adequate) to etch the surface a bit.  Then clean in two steps:  degreaser (I use acetone), followed by demineralized water.

 

Warning:  If you try this approach, do not leave your zinc foil in the electrolyte bath between plating sessions.  It dissolves!

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Namerow,

If you bought just the chromates from Caswell you could get the yellow rainbow effect on your parts. The chromate also makes the zinc surface harder and more durable. I like the zinc source as the anodes can be expensive, and the more anode you have the more even your plating becomes.

Charles

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Well I did pick up the Caswell power supply, some brightner (that doesn't work) and some yellow chromate,

the rest of the kit I hobbled together from reading all the links in this thread.

When they say absolutely clean metal is essential they are not kidding, I started this morning and couldn't even get the zinc to stick, those are the pics of the black bolts.  By 6pm I got the hang of it and produced a few usable pieces, on a couple of the pics you can see how the tinyist amount of grease was left in the pivot and it prevented zinc from adhering

all around it.

De-greaser and muriatic acid are a big help, hard to over do them.

If anyone is interested I can list all the particulars.

A big thanks to Namerow and Patcon.

Chris

 

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Absolutely, particulars would be great! How long did you yellow chromate? Did you use any blue chromate? What was your prep routine?

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No blue chromate, just yellow

 

8 litres white vinegar

800 grams Epsom salts

1 tsp caswell zinc brightner

pure zinc strip anode (positive)

no added heat- 23*C room temp.

no agitation pump

approx .25A per sq. in., after a while I only paid attention to the amp reading and didn't worry about the voltage

clean pieces with industrial cleaner, then soak in paint thinner, acetone then spray with brake cleaner

then wire wheel down to bare metal, the industrial clnr, acetone,brake clnr

then 10 min in 50/50 muriatic acid/distilled water

rinse with distilled water then into the plating tank for 15 min.

remove with gloved hands and burnish with 3m scouring pad, then back in plating tank for another 15 min

remove, rinse with distilled water then 10 -30 sec in yellow chromate solution

rinse with distilled water and dry off the piece with air gun and heat blow dryer

set aside and don't touch for 4 hrs

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Where were you using the white vinegar? As muriatic or as a prep solution? When 240Nix showed me this he was yellow chromating for about 12-15 secs if I remember right...

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Vinegar and Epsom salts are the electrolyte, the plating solution.

Muriatic acid as a prep solution. Amount of time in the yellow chromate is something you have to watch carefully, it is sort of dunking for a few seconds then pull out to see if the colour is right yet.

It's easy to go too far,(see pic) and when you do you have to start again at the muriatic acid stage and move to plating again.

 

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Nice work, Chris.  Pretty labour-intensive, but a great end result.  Looks like the acid prep and chromate finishing dips have paid off, so I guess I'm off to the hardware store to buy a few more buckets to add to my growing collection.

 

Your findings about the lack of first-level sensitivity to voltage seem to mirror those of others who've tried this.  Anything from 1.5V to 12V seems to be fair game.  I need to put together a hi-load potentiometer for my setup so that I can get a bit of current control happening.

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