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Plug and Plate questions

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  • Plug and Plate questions

    I just ordered a Copy Chrome PNP kit, as well as some Black Chrome and Copper PNP refills with some extra wands...

    It says Copy Chrome PNP will plate directly to steel. Will my results be better if I plate first with copper?

    Also, should I still get the degreaser kit to do wand plating? Or will any degreaser/solvent work ok?

    How thick can I build the layers with the wand? I mean if I keep brushing on new layers, will it keep getting thicker? (without having to "pickle" the surface between coats)



  • #2

    I am doing exclusively brush plating and in my experience I have the following answers for you :

    Your results will be FAR better if you strike first with Flash Copper. Copy Chrome on bare steel using brush plating has not worked out too good for me. Brush plating Copy Chrome on Flash Copper though has worked very very nice.

    Brush plating times for Flash Copper / Copy Chrome combos :

    For interior items or for items that are not handles by bare hands, plate time for F.Cu. should be about 1 min and 2 mins for C.Chr.

    For exterior items, keep time for F.Cu to about 2-3 mins and for C.Chr. 4-5 mins per sq. inch.

    Your plating speed will be greatly speeded up if the PnP solution gets heated up. Put in a clean Pyrex and put in microwave oven for 15 seconds or so.

    Drop the cotton bandages. They are way too prone to leaving burn marks on the surface for my liking. Get a couple of scotchbrite sponges. Cut them a little oversize/larger than the sufrace of the wand. Get an X-Acto (or something similer) knife and cut a slit/pocket and slide the PnP anode in it. The anode cover made out of the sponge material should be rectangular in shape and have a slit on only one side (the one where you slide the anode in. Secure the end of the sponge on the handle of the anode with a small rubber band.

    The sponge cover allows for a better and more uniform current coverage of the anode and it also gently wipes and removes any burn marks that might occur. Use the soft wide of the sponge, not the harsh blue (or green) side (or simply get a scotchbrite sponge with both sides soft).

    Degreasing is not a selectable option. You MUST have a way to degrease the parts. If you do not like powder degreasers, use pure acetone (like the stuff the ladies use to remove paint from their nails. Do not use acetone with colouring or perfumes in it; keep it pure).

    Get yourself some latex exam gloves and wear them at all times and during all steps after the degreasing step.

    Caswell degreaser works extremely nicely for small items since you can simply get a cooking pot, make the solution, apply heat and allow small parts to be brushplated to be boiled in the solution. Works wonders.

    You can get as thick as you want; depends on how much time you keep the wand going back and forth. As long as you keep covering the surface with wand movement, you can keep building them up without having to repickle them in acid. It take quite a lot of time to build up surfaces with brush plating and you probably will have to take a break at some point. If you leave the surface unattended for some time, get yourself a newly purchased, ergo clean, small paintbrush and brush acid on the part and then rinse, dip in Caswell degreaser to remove any acids and then re-rinse thoroughly. All rinsing should be done with distilled water.

    Unless you purchased Flash Copper PnP, your copper solution is acid copper. You should not use acid copper to apply strike coats; this is what Flash Copper is used for.

    The DC transformer included in the PnP kits, because it has a fixed amperage/voltage, does not allow you too much room for flexibility in the ways of brush plating. If you can/want, get the little 3 amp digital rectifier from Caswell. With brush plating and using the little rectifier, I have been able to cover entire exsaust covers (and other Harley parts) without problems (granted though that the anodes were manufactured by me using the tank plating anodes and a couple of other brush plating tricks).

    Hope this helps.