I need to remove 90 year old nickel and copper from some old steel parts. The Caswell guide that came with my kit doesn't give many details about how to do it. Can anybody give me all the info, such as: what solution to use, what temperature & time, what amperage per square inch, etc.
I'd prefer not to use sandblasting or mechanical abrasion, or to minimize the amount of those efforts needed.
have fun with that! i just bashed my head against the wall trying to remove nickel and copper from pot metal harley parts. you're in a much better position with a steel substrate. the metal-x stripper worked great for the nickel. the copper was the bear, but pot metal gets eaten up by anything that can strip anything. for the copper, i read you can use ammonium persulfate or sodium persulfate. in the end i used a flap wheel to remove the copper. i came off easier than i initially thought it would. blasting is not a good solution in my opinion.
Hi Carwiz. I bought a kit for nickel plating, and another for flash copper. Ihave lots of old motorcycle parts that need plating, mostly on steel, some iron, some copper, some pot metal, etc.
On this forum, I've read a few references to pickle #1, #2, etc, and read that reverse electroplating will remove nickel and copper, but I'm still hoping to get some details about how to set it up. My Caswell guide doesn't mention the pickels, except to say that Caswell doesn't recommend them anymore. I really thought that the Caswell guide would have more info, but it doesn't have much other than a description of how to etch nickel before putting on a new coat....
If anybody can help, I'd appreciate it. I have a few hundred small, expensive parts that I don't want to blast, grind, or sand.
The only way to strip steel is to use a high concentration of sulfuric acid with glycerin to prevent pitting. You can go with what the manual says but your steel will pit severely, as in beyond recognition. Invest in MetalX strippers. The copper works exceptionally well, along with the nickel which is just as good. Especially if you're talking expensive parts. I've tried other methods, and feel free to try them to, you'll regret it as much as I have.
The metalx nickel stripper works by immersion, the copper works through reverse current. Best part about the copper is that you can plate it out of the solution, so it'll last a very long time.
Thanks James. I'm glad to hear that you have tried the various methods. It seems that there is a lot of stuff written on the internet, but without much details. I thought that commercial platers used reverse electroplating, but maybe they use something like metalX.
I was hoping to try the methods that I've heard were in the Caswell manual, but there just isn't much info in there. Maybe in the older editions, when they used Pickle#2 or whatever. Now it just has a few lines of text, saying to buy metalX, not much info to go on.
I'll try the metalX products. I was hoping to avoid buying one product for copper strip, and another for nickel strip on steel, and a third product to strip nickel from brass.... And I haven't even gotten into stripping cadmium and zinc yet! I'm going to end up with 16 tanks and heaters when I'm done.
16 tanks? I remember those days. Just wait.
You can use reverse plating, which would be with concentrated sulfuric and an inhibitor. There'd be some trial and error to, where the Metalx solutions are pretty much foolproof. That and it's easy at first to make a few booboos when you plate, and it's nice to have a way to.....erase them.
If I remember right Pickel #2 is about 10%HCL, best used to activate copper. Problem is it's a bear to strip nickel, but steel just loves to dissolve in there. Even if you stand there and watch it, the plate will get undercut a bit, and there goes your steel!!!
On second thought, I think 10% HCL is pickel 1, and 10% sulfuric is pickel 2. I'll double check and write back if this is wrong.
There might be some places using r.p., but oftentimes on the professional forums I see many references to MetalX products.
Zinc's easy - immerse in 10% sulfuric and wait till it stops fizzing. You can use the same concentration for activating steel, copper, and nickel, so it'd be a 4 in 1 bucket.
Last edited by woodjames; 10-12-2009 at 12:50 AM.
use the metal x , its the way to go, i mix mine in steel stock pots and use hots plates with built in thermostats, i dont use the copper formula only 9 and 929
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