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Brass Plating Tank

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  • Brass Plating Tank

    Since I purchased the Brass Plating setup a few months ago I have not been able to get a successful plating of Brass. I either get something that looks more like zinc or more like copper. Out of the nine items done one came out like brass and it looked great? Does anyone on the board have success with the brass plating kit. I have spoken with other platers and they have mentioned that brass plating is very difficult because of the zinc and magnesium in the tank that fluctuate the color of the plating? Please any help would be appreiciated.

  • #2
    i have a 1 gallon brass tank and i have had great success with it. the color that it comes out of the tank is a yellow/green brass and if you read the plating manual it says to get the brass color your thinking it should look like you have to first wash the item because of the very high ph of the plating solution and then buff the item you have plated. after i buff the item i plated the rich yellow brass color comes to life.

    also are you brass plating onto nickel?? this is going to get you the best results as well.

    check the home page under brass tank plating kit and you will find some pictures of some furniture hardware pulls i did , with before and after pictures. i did these with a couple bottles of the brass brush plating solution in a small container before i bought the 1 gallon size.



    • #3
      Brass plate

      I have also had mixed results. Here's what I have learned.

      My BEST results have been with brush plating the brass. The results have been 100% perfect as long as I plate over nickel.

      Are you aerating the tank? Is it running at the specified temperature? Are you maintaining the pH? These things are all important to getting a good plate with this formula. It does go flat if you don't take care of the pH.

      Considering the alternative (to use cyanide based solutions) Caswell's formulation is awesome.



      • #4
        So I appreiciate all the answers and I have had mixed results with the solution however how can I check the PH and how can I know when checking the PH whether or not I will get a good brass plate. Granted I have NEVER had a problem brush plating which works out great for me with Brass.

        My temperature is where it should be (what is stated in the book) what are the amperages everyone is using? Also how long should i be plating the part for?

        I sure wish I could perfect the brass which I get a lot requests for. However I have never had any other problems with their other solutions.

        Has anyone ever tried the Silver solution?


        • #5
          Brass plating

          Actually the manual describes the pH control process better than I can. Also, this is the kind of question that Mike Caswell can answer and explain with great competence. I'd strongly recommend a call to him.

          The "amperage" and plate time as I recall is very similar to that needed for nickel plating.

          I have not yet tried the silver.

          Did you ever get an answer to your nickel stripping problem? The work I do is similar to yours. It's small items--clocks--and the substrate is often brass. I've worked through the problems if you are interested in taking it off line.



          • #6

            It seems that the manual recommends a pH of 13-13.5, adjusted up using Potassium Hydroxide. The current density is 0.01-0.3A/sq in, which is a pretty broad range. I'd suggest running the current a little lower (around 0.06A/sq in) and run the plating time closer to 30 minutes.

            Also, if possible, you should go from the nickel plating tank to a dual distilled water rinse, then right into the brass tank. Don't dry the part in between; you'll just have to reclean and pickle again before brass plating.

            There seems at times to be a smut after plating which is removed with a Flitz polish and soft cloth eg cloth diaper. I'd stay away from a buffing wheel, because the plate will be thin and soft.



            • #7
              So what you are trying to say Ken is that I have to have hte PH balance in the range of 13 and 13.5, correct? Also this can be achieved by Potassium Hydroxide and where can I can get this solution? Also how do I test the PH is their a kit I can buy? Also I will try to run the current at a 0.06 per amp. Also have you been successful with this procedure? Yeah I will Nickel first then go directly to the Brass (with rinshing of course).

              Also my brass tank is going down a bit should I just use some distilled water to replenish?

              Yes I was able to resovle the Nickel Stripping problem. I have a very nice setup for stripping.


              • #8

                To be honest I don't recall where I found the KOH I have. But I know you can get it at Daigger carries all sorts of laboratory materials and supplies and their catalog is a "must have" for a hobbyist plater. They also carry pH meters; but to be honest, Caswell has a really nice one for a great price. I'd buy Caswell's first.

                The KOH comes in a white crystal pellet form. You would want to mix it with distilled water 50% by weight. You should not need much of this stuff. I checked the catalog and you can get 500g for about $14.

                While you're at it, you might want to get some small quantity buffer and storage solutions for the pH meter. The glass sensor on those things has to be cared for. If it goes out of cal, you would do well with a 10.0 pH buffer solution to use as a reference. The stuff is not expensive. I keep bottles of 4.0, 10.0, and the storage solution handy in the lab. Before I change any pH, I check the pH meter with the reference solution that is as close as possible to the pH I hope to measure or adjust. This is important.

                Changing pH is an art form. You want to do it very slowly, adding NO MORE than a teaspoon per gallon at a time. Wait an hour or so before checking the pH. If you go to far, you'll have to use acid to reverse it. Also, DO NOT mix the KOH with acid, you may get a very unpleasant reaction. Keep KOH separate from all of your other supplies. You're playing with chemistry now.

                Caswell could do with some instruction on pH adjustment in his manual. Maybe we can coax him into it for the next edition.

                Just my 2 cents.