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Gold plating over brass

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  • Gold plating over brass

    Hello group,

    I'm new here and this is my first post. I am a penturner and I make many of my pen parts by turning 360 brass. Most of these parts are 1"x.5" or less. I recently purchased a Plug-and-Plate kit to experiment plating over highly polished brass with nickel then gold with a clear lacquer finish.

    I currently need to plate over 500 small parts about the size I mentioned. Plating by Plug-and-Plate would seem to take to long and I have concerns about how even and consistent the final finish would be.

    I am thinking about using 18ct FastGold for my plating but I need a better method for plating these small parts. By the way, did I mention that I am very new to Electro Plating? Any and all suggestions and comments would be appreciated.

    Thanks All,


  • #2
    Re: Gold plating over brass


    You're in good shape. It seems you could buy a small quantity of Fastgold and set up a subminiature tank plating operation for the gold. But please don't plate the gold directly over the brass since the brass will migrate through the gold and spot it.

    You will need a nickel barrier. The good news is nickel over brass is easy. I'd recommend a small 1 gallon setup for the nickel. The hard part in plating is getting cleaning right. Buy yourself a small ultrasonic cleaner with a heater and do your cleaning with Caswell's SP degreaser. If you buff the parts or they are oily or greasy, do a pre-rinse in undiluted Simple Green first, in the ultrasonic. Please don't underestimate the importance of cleaning.

    Between cleaning, pickling and plating steps do two separate rinses. On any rinse just prior to plating use distilled water.

    The trick will be hanging your little parts in the plating tanks. To do 500 parts will take some time. But more sophisticated barrel plating approaches will be rather capital intensive so you will probably want to avoid them, unless you plan on doing this as a full time business. I have had some luck with little copper baskets fashioned out of copper screening inexpensively purchased at a hobby and craft store for the nickel step. But barrel plating with gold will cost you more since the gold will also plate out onto the barrel and you don't want to deplete the gold that way. That may require you to hang parts using wire; perhaps 5 at a time in the tank.

    The rest of the plating process is described well in Caswell's manual. Plan on spending a few days reading and absorbing as much as you can about the processes. Then when the kits come you'll be better prepared to put it all together.

    Again, the process will be clean >> rinse 2x >> pickle >> rinse 2x >> nickel >> rinse 2x >> gold >> rinse

    Last edited by dadkar2; 11-08-2005, 10:31 PM.


    • #3
      Re: Gold plating over brass

      Thanks Ken for your suggestions. I find them very helpful.