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Trying to identify plating on lathe handwheel

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  • Trying to identify plating on lathe handwheel

    I have a garden-variety Chinese lathe (14" x 40"). The handwheels appear to be cast (probably iron) with the centerhub and spokes painted, but the outer rim has been machined and appears to be plated. It has a dull, matt silver appearance. Does anyone have an idea what the plating may be, and if I could duplicate it easily in my home workshop?

  • #2

    The handwheels are most likely a glass bead blasted surface and then nickel plated (and perhaps chrome plated over the nickel ).

    It would be easy to duplicate if you have (or have acsess to) a glass bead blaster.

    If not and you have at least a 7hp, 60 gallon air compressor, you can buy a small glass bead blasting cabinet pretty cheap (about $100-$150).

    I have saved a bunch of money since I got my blasting set up a couple of years ago (the local shop wants $40.00 per hour to bead blast).

    As far as the plating:
    Nickel (or CopyChrome) is real easy to plate, no real fumes and holds up well.
    Remember, the prep work is everything in plating.
    The solutions will last about forever as long as you don't contaminate them (never get zinc in a nickel/CopyChrome tank).

    I have plated quite a few of parts on my small lathe (using CopyChrome) and they hold up well, I no longer have to WD-40 everything (my bare hands rust bare steel in a heartbeat) and the parts look great.

    If you don't have a DC power supply to do the plating, look at the CV/CC 20amp unit that Caswell sells. Heck of a good price.

    The 20 Amp supply will be of limited use if you are going to plate "real" chrome (chrome needs 1 Amp per square inch verses nickel or CopyChrome only needing about .080 Amp (80 Milliamp) per square inch.

    If plating "real" chrome with a 20 Amp supply the largest piece of sheet stock you could plate would be about 3 1/8" square (both sides) verses a piece 15" square (both sides) with nickel or CopyChrome.

    If you are totally new to all of this, purchase the in the Caswell plating manual. It's got everything you need to know.

    George W.
    Orlando, FL