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  • Dealing with partially nickel plated steel

    Gents,

    Here is the sitrep.

    I have a piece with moderate amount of rust on it. It is a motorbike steering wheel which has been nickel and later chrome plated form the factory (no copper underlayer).

    I removed the chrome plating along with all the rust. The surface now has a "camouflage" look on it with places where bare clean steel appears and other places where the surface is covered with the factory nickel. There was no way of preserving the old nickel in many places.

    I activated the old nickel. I rinsed. Then dipped the piece in pickle #2. I rinsed again and then washed in degreaser. Then I started the flash copper process.

    Initially, while the copper was still thin, I would still get a "camo" look with slightly different thicknesses. After a while, I achieved a nice thick uniform coat of flash copper. The copper appears to have a nice strong bond on both the clean metal and on the older, reactivated nickel. It does not buff off and it has a nice shine.

    I am posting this more to get some opinions on the process and also if someone has had a similar situation to advise me about it. I might have overlooked something or done something wrong which might lead to (spontaneous ?) delamination later on.

    The piece is about to get a coat of copy chrome.

  • #2
    Well, I don't use flash copper (I use acid copper) so I have to nickel strike the part (steel part with left over nickel plate on it) prior to a nice thick layer of acid copper.

    The nickel strike (after reactivating of course) insures a nice base for the copper.

    BTW: If you re-avtiated the existing nickel, by following that with the degreaser you just deactivated it (a nickel strike would have never adhered). After reactivating, I rinse in distilled water and go "hot" (power leads connected to part) into the nickel, increasing the current for the first (3) minutes to insure the part starts to plate and not form a micro rust layer on the steel areas (I use the same procedure for a bare steel part).

    After polishing the copper (and degreasing of course), I put on a heavy nickel plate, reactivate it, rinse and then into the CopyChrome to give it that chrome-like color.

    I only use the CopyChrome for a final "color coat" because the CopyChrome just does not lay down very fast (or as heavy) compared to the nickel I use.

    Don't know if any of this helps, however, may help someone else.

    See some of the stuff I plated at:
    http://users.adelphia.net/%7Epatpawz/geo/plating.htm

    GW

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    • #3
      gsw, thank you for your reply.

      I do however have a question about the activation/reactivation process. You say that by degreasing after I activated the surface, I just re-deactivated it. The manual suggests that you dip, then rinse, then wash in caswell degreaser.

      Regards,

      Ares.

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      • #4
        Well, like I said, I do not use flash copper so the procedure(s) may be indeed different.

        You can not apply acid copper to bare steel, you must nickel strike it first, then plate with the acid copper.

        If I tried to nickel strike coat a steel part that had some nickel plating still on it and pickled it then used the degreaser, the nickel would never adhere to the existing nickel on the steel part and the steel would have more of a chance to surface rust.

        Being that you are applying the flash copper onto the steel/nickel part...
        don't know. Someone else will have to chime in.

        Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
        The hurricane took out our power for (4) days.

        GW

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