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  • Copy Cad kit - blackener and yellow cad durability problems

    I am having troubles getting the blackener or yellow chromate to be strong enough to use on bolts. They take the color just fine, but then the socket wears the color off on the first install.
    Caswell told me that there would be no need for a nylon socket to be used, and that the blackener should be strong enough to be used on a bolt and not have it wear off the head when the bolt it installed.

    I was also told by them to change a few things. Previously, I would wait until the distilled water was dry, then I would seal the blackener with WD-40, it would take about an hour and a half to dry, then I would seal it. The black would rub off.
    They wanted me to dip it in the blackener JUST long enough to get a uniform color, and rinse it completely right away, and let sit and dry for 24 hours, then seal it, and let the WD-40 dry a few days.

    They also suggested to NOT use the SP Degreaser immediately after glass bead blasting the part, to use it only when there is grease or oil to remove.

    This bolt was bead blasted, then immediately placed in the plating solution, 15 minutes later I pulled it out, and rinsed completely with distilled water, then into the blackener for about 45 seconds or so, rinsed again, and then left alone for 24 hours, sealed, and left alone for 48 more hours. I then attempted to install it into a trans case at 20 ft-lbs.
    The black bolt with the wear spots on the head is the problem bolt, the other 2 are trans bolts that are zinc plated only, and were also installed into the trans at 20 ft-lbs, with no problems.



    Here are pics of some other items I plated tonight, the old parts had been rusty, and the pits after being bead blasted show through very clearly, so those are a good example of why the surface needs to be as you want it prior to plating
    The gold is the yellow chromate dip, and it might be OK enough for me to keep, because nothing really rubs on it, but if I can rub it off with my thumb, I can't use it on parts I am to sell later on. I will allow it to sit for 24 hours, and then test to see how strong it is.
    Currently, even the finest #0000 steel wool immediately removes the gold or black with just a single wipe, even when allowed several days to cure.





    Here is a pic of a rod that was plated in zinc, then one end was blackened, the other dipped in yellow chromate. The wrench has the open end dipped up about 1/3 the way up the wrench with plain zinc, and the dull gray was removed with a fine wire brush on a drill, and it matched the Craftsman finish fairly closely



    Any idea if the zinc blackener or yellow chromate is EVER going to be strong enough to withstand #0000 steel wool wipes or the use of a socket on the head of the bolt?

    Oh, all parts plated fine, used the Caswell power supply, or my own 3V 800mA adapter for bigger parts, solution temp 110F, the yellow dip is heated to 80F, the blackener is between 73F-78F, only distilled water used, all mixes as per the Caswell manual for water:chem ratio. The yellow chromate is about 1oz/gallon I estimate, I would add a bit of water or yellow getting the color I want.
    The yellow chromate was given .001" of plate to etch into (60 minute plate time), as was the black, except on this last test bolt of black.

    I'm trying to decide if I should give up now on treating the bolts or the other parts, and simply do everything in silver zinc only. The VW trans came with a cad plated clutch release arm (in the box) and the bolts were black, and I want to try and copy that look. Would a black oxide kit be stronger?
    Thanks in advance for any help, and sorry for being so long winded

    Broke

  • #2
    Broke:

    Are you using the "brightener" in the zinc electrolyte solution? If so, try without it.

    For me, the brightener is NOT compatible w/blackener. It gives a poor finish, and it will rub off on my fingers. On the un-brightened part, the black is fairly durable, although not 100%. See the pictures:

    http://www.hogheaven.com/hobby/plati...c/cctest3.html

    Have you measured actual voltage & current during plating? I'd like to know those figures if you have them.

    Sean
    Seans Zinc Plating page

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by seanc
      Broke:

      Are you using the "brightener" in the zinc electrolyte solution? If so, try without it.

      For me, the brightener is NOT compatible w/blackener. It gives a poor finish, and it will rub off on my fingers. On the un-brightened part, the black is fairly durable, although not 100%. See the pictures:

      http://www.hogheaven.com/hobby/plati...c/cctest3.html

      Have you measured actual voltage & current during plating? I'd like to know those figures if you have them.

      Sean
      No, the brightener has not been used, I forgot to mention that. I have never tried the brightener at all actually.

      I have not actually measured the voltage or mA during plating, as I only have a very cheap multimeter, and I thought I had read that they won't be accurate, but I will check it next time I try plating.

      I measured the bolts surface area (not using the Caswell manual, which has a few errors in it on measuring the bolts), and they come out to about 3 sq-in each, so I do 4 at a time, to match the 25mA per sq-in that the Caswell power supply should deliver (1.7V 300mA).

      On early test pieces, the black would rub off easily with my fingers, then after allowing them to sit for 24 then 48 hours, they did get better, but still nowhere near the durability needed for a bolt finish

      I will try to get 4 more bolts blasted tonight, and get them plated and blackened, making note of volts and amps during plating.
      I have had no problems with the quality of the zinc plating thus far, only the treatments afterwards.

      I was interested to read on your page that the blackener was used for 15 minutes, as Caswell told me to dip ONLY long enough to get it black, then rinse it right away, not to let it sit "for another 30 seconds" after it has turned black. On early pieces, I had also tried letting the blackener work on the bolt for 3 or 4 minutes, and while it was a deeper more rich black color, it still wasn't durable enough.

      Thanks for the reply!

      Broke

      Comment


      • #4
        I too had a big problem w/blackener rub-off in my first plating attempts. Since I was not convinced that the actual zinc plate was very good, I wasn’t sure if the problem was w/blackener in general, or due to poor plating.

        As you can see, most of my problem was due to use of brightener. But even w/out brightener, I still get some black coming off, particularly at sharp corners, such as on a bolt head. It’s not as bad as your bolt, but still noticeable.

        I leave it in the blackener for a long time for a couple of reasons:

        1) Caswell instructions are inconsistent. The plating manual says “immerse until uniformly black”, yet the bottle of solution says “immerse for 2-5 minutes”. And I have a recollection of reading somewhere (although I can’t find it again!), to immerse for 1-2 minutes per 0.1mil of plate thickness. Since I am plating to 1 mil, that works out to 10-20 minutes, so I split the difference

        2) In my tests, after 2 minutes there was still quite a bit of silver showing. Like you, I kept trying for longer periods, and have found it to be more durable w/ longer immersion times. So I’m working on the assumption that longer immersion = thicker black layer.

        I’m interested in your voltage/current curves for one primary reason: Your bolts look FAR better than mine did using Caswells power brick. w/12” of parts, my power brick was only providing 0.4-0.5v @ 750-800mA. This was completely out-of-sync w/instructions, and comes out to 62-67 mA/sq-in. I considered the resulting plate to be poor, and likely contributing to poor blackener adhesion.

        I refer you to my earlier post concerning my problems:

        http://www.caswellplating.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=2630

        After receiving much advice here and elsewhere, I have settled on a few rules of thumb which work best for me:

        1) get the voltage above 0.5v. Anything less will not result in good plate

        2) plate at 75-100 mA/sq-in current density. Any less is sub-optimal. Any more will burn.

        3) to get your voltage up, a) keep the electrolyte cool (I run mine at 65º now), and b) get more separation between your parts and the anodes. In a 2 gal bucket, w/anodes on either side, you’ll only get 4.5” of separation. I now put both anodes on one side of the bucket, and parts on the opposite side, giving 6-7” of separation. This seems to work better, but I rotate the part 180º every few minutes.

        I have my suspicions that the blackener will never be very durable.

        FFI, see my other test results:

        http://www.hogheaven.com/hobby/plati...c/cctest1.html
        http://www.hogheaven.com/hobby/plati...c/cctest5.html
        Seans Zinc Plating page

        Comment


        • #5
          Broke, I had forgotten about another possible cause of your blackener problem. See this other post:

          http://www.caswellplating.com/bbs/vi...ight=blackener

          I too have the "CopyCad & Zinc Blackener, New Formula". The bottle labels says mix at 9:1, but apparently this is not correct, it should be mixed at 4:1. If you're mixing at 9:1, then the solution is too weak.

          It would seem that the earlier printed manuals, and bottle labels, are incorrect.
          Seans Zinc Plating page

          Comment


          • #6
            Not true - the correct ratio is 9 water:1 blackener as printed on the label.

            Below are the instructions from the manufacturer of this product. You can substitute household products for all of the other products listed in the instructions.

            Insta-Blak Z-360 is used at a concentration of 10% by volume in water (one part Insta-Blak Z-360 concentrate to nine parts water) at room temperature.

            Surfaces to be blackened must be thoroughly cleaned and deoxidized before blackening to ensure a uniform and adherent black finish. Plated surfaces must be free of chromate conversion finishes which can be removed with one of EPI’s E-Kleen brand of alkaline soak cleaners or the acidic E-Kleen 154.

            The blackening process will consist of either five (5) or seven (7) steps depending upon the condition of the metal surfaces and the necessity for deoxidizing and activating steps.

            1. CLEAN: Aged surfaces may be cleaned without etching in a solution of E-Kleen 146 or cleaned and etched in one step using E-Kleen 111. Both cleaners are used at 6 to 8 wt. oz. per gallon of water at 160F to 180F and with a minimum immersion time of 5 minutes. Freshly electro or mechanically plated surfaces usually require only a short one minute immersion in an E-Kleen 154 solution to activate the surface which will reduce the required immersion time in the Z-360 solution.
            2. RINSE: Using a bottom-fed, overflowing cold water rinse.
            3. ACTIVATION: Optional deoxidization/activation at room temperature in a 10% by volume solution of E-Kleen 154, 10% by volume Acetic Acid or 10% by volume Sulfuric Acid solution. Prior to charging a production tank, some experimentation should be performed with sample parts to determine if activation is required and if so, which method produces the most uniform and adherent black finish.
            4. RINSE: Using a bottom-fed, overflowing cold water rinse.
            5. BLACKEN: Immerse parts in Insta-Blak Z-360 solution until a uniform black finish is developed, usually within 2 to 5 minutes.
            6. RINSE: Using a bottom-fed, overflowing cold water rinse.
            7. SEAL: To displace the rinse water, enhance the depth of black, impart corrosion resistance and seal the finish, immerse parts in EPI’s water emulsifiable E-Tec 510 diluted at 5% in water for a relatively dry finish or 10 to 20% for a light oily finish or the solvent based water displacing E-Tec 501 for an oily finish, E-Tec 504 for a soft “dry to the touch” finish, water based E-Tec 522 for a waxy finish, or E-Tec 520 for a hard, clear acrylic finish. The ultimate depth of black will not develop until a sealant is completely absorbed into the Insta-Blak Z-360 surface and may not develop for several hours.
            --
            Mike Caswell
            Caswell Inc
            http://www.caswellplating.com
            Need Support? Visit our online support section at http://support.caswellplating.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by seanc
              Broke, I had forgotten about another possible cause of your blackener problem. See this other post:

              http://www.caswellplating.com/bbs/vi...ight=blackener

              I too have the "CopyCad & Zinc Blackener, New Formula". The bottle labels says mix at 9:1, but apparently this is not correct, it should be mixed at 4:1. If you're mixing at 9:1, then the solution is too weak.

              It would seem that the earlier printed manuals, and bottle labels, are incorrect.
              Ahhhhh. I too have New Formula Blackener, and the label and Version 7 of the Manual both state a 9:1 ratio.

              I called Caswell, and they are sending another bottle of Blackener to me, and to make things right for the mix-up and time lost with the weak solution, they are also sending me another zinc plate and more zinc solution...stand up business ethics

              I hope to have the black problem beat with the new concentration, and then it only leaves getting the yellow chromate to be as durable as I can get it for the cad look parts.

              SeanC, thank you very much for the help! I had read your thread about the possible bad electrolyte completely, while waiting on my kit to arrive, and it made me edgy about the power supply ability.
              Next time I plate something (hopefully tonight, I'm trying to get an 86 GTI back on the road) I will make note of the amps and volts. Thanks again!

              Broke

              Comment


              • #8
                Caswell:

                So why was user carx7 told 4:1 (or 1:4)?

                It should be 1:4.

                Sorry if we sent the wrong instructions.
                Based on this, I've been using a 1:4 ratio for the last 4 weeks! It has been working, but now I'm unsure if it's optimal.

                Broke:

                Good luck! Let us know how it works out.
                Seans Zinc Plating page

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seanc
                  Caswell:

                  So why was user carx7 told 4:1 (or 1:4)?

                  It should be 1:4.

                  Sorry if we sent the wrong instructions.
                  Based on this, I've been using a 1:4 ratio for the last 4 weeks! It has been working, but now I'm unsure if it's optimal.

                  Broke:

                  Good luck! Let us know how it works out.
                  Will do, but now I want to follow this thread

                  I read your reply, read the linked thread where Caswell told the other poster to use 4 water to 1 blackener 13 months ago, checked my bottle to verify it is "New Formula", then called in. They said the sheets they get from MFG of chems states 10% by volume, which is 9:1, but I told them about the thread where 4:1 was described as correct by Caswell, and they were replacing the Blackener, and sending me a plate and more zinc solution to make up for the time lost.

                  Now I don't know what to do. The person on the phone said that 65F to 90F is OK temps, and when asked if hotter was better, they said they would think so.

                  I'll wait for the blackener, plate, and solution to arrive, try some more things, and keep an eye on this thread to find out what the correct ratio is, 9:1 or 4:1. I'm inclined to try 4:1 if you said it was working for you.

                  Broke

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Broke:

                    The person on the phone said that 65F to 90F is OK temps, and when asked if hotter was better, they said they would think so
                    This is for the blackener? I have never heard of trying to use it at higher temperatures. I've always just used it at ambient, most recently that has been @65º.

                    'm inclined to try 4:1 if you said it was working for you
                    Well it would seem now that 9:1 is correct, but consider this: perhaps the reason my blackener seems to stick better is because of the double-strength solution? I have no idea if this could be a contributing factor, but it can’t hurt to try at 4:1, since you can always add more water later to bring it up to 9:1

                    And another possibility: The suppliers directions recommending “water displacing” sealants has given me another thought. Since the “WD” in WD-40 means water-displacing, it occurs to me that letting the parts dry (as per instructions) before hitting them w/WD-40 is backwards (once dry, there’s no more W to D!). I’m going to try dropping my parts immediately into WD-40 and see if that helps.

                    Here's some pictures of my real parts:

                    http://www.hogheaven.com/hobby/plati.../ccparts1.html
                    Seans Zinc Plating page

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seanc
                      This is for the blackener? I have never heard of trying to use it at higher temperatures. I've always just used it at ambient, most recently that has been @65º.
                      Yeah, I gathered that from the thread from August 2003 you gave a link to. The original poster said:

                      I read this morning on the web that the solution is supposed to be 1 part to 4 parts and that a small amount of acid is suposed to be used... and that it should be heated to a minimum of 90 degree and left for ~5-7minutes.

                      Later he asked about the acid, and Caswell replied Yes, the instructions on the web are accurate., and I took that to mean the 5-7 minute immersion time, the 4:1 concentration, and the heating to 90F to be correct, but I wasn't sure about the acid.

                      It could be the original poster got mixed up with the acid part while reading about preparing old pot metal, it is dipped in a weak acid/water mix to get it ready, but it also sounds like the original poster stated he read online about the 5-7minutes, the 90F, the 4:1, and the acid, and Caswell replied that the instructions are correct.

                      The poster then tried the acid in the blackener, which was a failure, and he posted that it didn't work at all.

                      The current online instructions match my bottle and manual, 9:1, room temp, and 2-5 minutes.

                      I'll try a batch at 4:1, 90F, with longer dip times, and then seal them right after rinsing them (from these most recent instructions, I agree with what you said about drying them, then displacing dried water ), and see what happens then. The plate, zinc solution, and blackener will probably ship tomorrow, so in a few days I should know something.

                      I'm really hoping to get this to work. I really need the bolts to look fresh dipped after I install and torque them, they are going on rebuilt VW trans, and they'll be paying $800-$1000 each for them, so details matter

                      Broke

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm really new to all this. I have zinc plated a few parts and yellow chromated some with reasonable results, although I feel that I have a lot to learn. However, I have a potential customer for blackened hardware (nuts, bolts and washers) that informs me that parts from his present source are rusting quite quickly. This sounds like poor results somewhat like those described here. I want to be able to supply him with quality parts, but now after reading several posts on this subject I am confused as to what the correct procedure is. I bought my kit around November, 2004, so I think I have the Blackener that is supposed to be diluted 9:1. However, my first few attempts have failed miserably. They rub off very easily.
                        Moderator, is there a more current instruction than what has been posted by you on Sept, 04?
                        I entered this plating hobby hoping to provide quality services to the local automotive restorers, but after reading several topics on the forum, I am losing some of my confidence. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information and I am not sure which direction to follow.
                        Mopar Guy

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