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  • Copy Cad Plating Questions?

    Hello, I have been plating fasteners to start out with. I was wondering the cause of dark circles on my zinc plate. I am plating with a 300mamp supply with a surface area of about 12. My plate is smooth, it just has a few spots. Is this do to poor agitation?

    Also, I am having issues with the yellow chromate it is not sticking. When I rinse it in distilled water after the chromate dip alot of the chromate washes off. What am I doing wrong? The chromated parts have a fresh plate.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

    This could very well be poor agitation what size kit are you working with ?
    And what are you using for agitation it can also be poor prep of the part itself
    Jim Eaton

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    • #3
      Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

      Thanks for the reply. I am working with the 1.5 gallon kit. I have an aquariam airline ran in the tank. However I am considering adding another as I have another pump available. Is too much agitation ever an issue?

      Also, does anyone know or can explain what the dark coating that forms on parts that have been dipped in acid is? Is this just the color of clean steel? If I polish then go to the acid I get the dark coating as well.

      Also does anyone know what the problem with the chromate is?

      Thanks alot, Ross

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

        I think the more agitation the better the solution should appear as if it is boiling .
        The darkening from the acid im not to sure about .
        But the yellow chromate not adhering is a preparation issue the piece needs to be clean polished
        and free from all grease and oil.
        Preparation of the parts you are plating is the most important step .
        The best finish you start with is the best finish you will end up with !
        Jim Eaton

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

          Here is my preparation process:

          First dip in acid until all the oil zinc is gone
          Rinse in DI water
          Dry
          Polish with a wire wheel
          Dip in acid for a couple of minutes
          Rinse
          SP degreaser
          Rinse
          To plating bath

          If my parts where preped poorly wouldn't the zinc fail to adhere? The zinc seems durable. Is there a film on the freshly plated parts that causes the chromate not to adhere?

          I have been going from the plating bath to a rinse then directly to the yellow chromate.

          Thanks for any advice, Ross

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

            Ross:

            Got any photos of your parts? That would help a lot.

            What I'm about to tell you contradicts the instructions, but it works for me:

            1) You need more than 25ma/sq-in. (300/12). You'll need at least 50, 80-100 works best. See my Current Density Test Results

            2) if you're using the 1.5v/300ma wall wart that comes in the kit, it's impossible to know how much current it's actually delivering unless you measure it with a meter, and it's difficult to get repeatable results from. See my Wall-Wart Characteristics

            3) you should dip the part in a mild acid solution after plating/before chromating. The electrolyte leaves a brown film on the part after plating, which might interfere with chromating, (but my guess is that you don't have a good plate due to insufficient current.) See some Sample Parts

            4) you don't need a lot of agitation. How much depends on how many sq-in of parts you're plating. The more parts you plate, the more gassing occurs, and the more agitation you'll need. A simple aquarium pump is all I use to circulate the electrolyte. It works well for up to @ 50-sq-in. If I have bigger parts, I put a second pump in. Some Photos & Videos of Agitation

            5) How strong is the acid you're using before plating? If the acid is too strong, you may well be dissolving the steel, which will turn the parts black. You only need a mild solution, 2-5%.

            6) Do NOT use SP degreaser between the acid dip & plating bath.

            I would recommend this procedure (rinse between each step):

            a) thoroughly pre-clean and de-rust the parts.
            b) if the parts have a pre-existing zinc/cad plate, acid dip until all fizzing stops
            c) hot SP degreaser for a few minutes
            d) acid dip for 30-60 seconds
            e) plating bath
            f) acid dip for a few seconds, just long enough to remove the discoloration. You will be able to SEE the brightening action.
            g) chromate

            This has been working well for me. You can see my results in the link below.
            Seans Zinc Plating page

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

              Thanks seanc,
              I will try that method. However I think I will invest in a better power supply. I will look into the 3 amp supply that caswell offers. I would like to be able to plate more at once anyways since I have probably 100 or more bolts to plate.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

                I forgot to add that my acid is too strong as well as I am getting a black coating. I think I will look into the Pickle #4 for this though as the acid fumes require that I do the acid part outdoors and the rest is done indoors. The Pickle #4 will allow me to do everything in one area.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

                  All the links in the original seanc post are rotten. The quoted (still seanc's) post sports the corrected URLs. So, whoever searches the FORUM and stumbles upon this thread, he/she can click on the links and learn more about Copy Cad plating.


                  Originally posted by seanc View Post
                  Ross:

                  Got any photos of your parts? That would help a lot.

                  What I'm about to tell you contradicts the instructions, but it works for me:

                  1) You need more than 25ma/sq-in. (300/12). You'll need at least 50, 80-100 works best. See my Current Density Test Results

                  2) if you're using the 1.5v/300ma wall wart that comes in the kit, it's impossible to know how much current it's actually delivering unless you measure it with a meter, and it's difficult to get repeatable results from. See my Wall-Wart Characteristics

                  3) you should dip the part in a mild acid solution after plating/before chromating. The electrolyte leaves a brown film on the part after plating, which might interfere with chromating, (but my guess is that you don't have a good plate due to insufficient current.) See some Sample Parts

                  4) you don't need a lot of agitation. How much depends on how many sq-in of parts you're plating. The more parts you plate, the more gassing occurs, and the more agitation you'll need. A simple aquarium pump is all I use to circulate the electrolyte. It works well for up to @ 50-sq-in. If I have bigger parts, I put a second pump in. Some Photos & Videos of Agitation

                  5) How strong is the acid you're using before plating? If the acid is too strong, you may well be dissolving the steel, which will turn the parts black. You only need a mild solution, 2-5%.

                  6) Do NOT use SP degreaser between the acid dip & plating bath.

                  I would recommend this procedure (rinse between each step):

                  a) thoroughly pre-clean and de-rust the parts.
                  b) if the parts have a pre-existing zinc/cad plate, acid dip until all fizzing stops
                  c) hot SP degreaser for a few minutes
                  d) acid dip for 30-60 seconds
                  e) plating bath
                  f) acid dip for a few seconds, just long enough to remove the discoloration. You will be able to SEE the brightening action.
                  g) chromate

                  This has been working well for me. You can see my results in the link below.
                  Last edited by pehta; 09-08-2010, 02:27 AM. Reason: Changing the sequence: reply first, quoted text second

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Copy Cad Plating Questions?

                    Just want to provide you with my experience with Copy Cad. In almost all cases, the problem with poor chromating is simply not enough zinc on the part. Sounds like you are not plating with enough current and you need to plate at least one hour if you intend to chromate. I generally plate for at least an hour and a half if I chromate and sometimes up to two hours for a part that I particularly want to have a good coating on.

                    Your part has to be perfectly clean. I sandblast all parts and then I dip them in Pickle #1 (Hydrochloric acid; 20 parts water,1 part acid) for about 15 to 30 seconds before I put the part in the bath. Of course I rinse at all stages and I rinse with distilled water after the Pickel #1.

                    Since I do not use brightener, I polish all of my parts prior to chromating. I do not dip the part in anything after polishing before I put it in the chromate bath. In my opinion it is not necessary. I rinse my parts after chromating in tap water.

                    The dark areas you are seeing after you dip the part in acid is the native steel. Its because you have not plated the part completely with zinc and with a thick enough plate. The acid is eating the zinc off.

                    Again, I can't emphasize too much that you have to get a good coating of zinc to get good chromating.

                    Jerry Hudgens

                    Comment

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