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  • Zincate Problem?

    I have been plating steel with bright nickel and getting outstanding results. I recently expanded this process to plating some items I made from 6061 aluminum.

    Dipping in the zincate as per instructions gives a "charcoal grey" coating to the aluminum. When I move to prepare the part for nickel plating, the SP degreaser results in a reaction with a moderate amount of small bubbles liberated from the part. Subsequent bright nickel plating results in a plate which peels right off. This result is indicative of inadequate cleaning, but I cannot find the problem since the zincated part's preparation is the same that I use for steel preparation which works fine.

    I suspect the problem lies in the prep. of the part prior to zincating or perhaps the zincated part requires some prep. prior to nickel plating that I am not aware of. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thx. J Gray

  • #2
    Re: Zincate Problem?

    You should rinse the part afte zincate then go straight to the flash copper or nickel.
    www.chrome-plater.blogspot.com

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    • #3
      Re: Zincate Problem?

      Thanks Fly, I'll try that. A previous post from a year ago pretty much iterated the same. It also recommended flash copper prior to the nickel because the zinc would eventually contaminate the nickel bath. Would dummy plating the nickel bath remove the zinc contamination?

      Thx. J Gray

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      • #4
        Re: Zincate Problem?

        I just plated some aluminum parts that were giving me fits. I found that you need 25 to 50% nitric as a prep.30 seconds in nitric, 30 seconds in the zincate, another 30 seconds in nitric, then 30 seconds in zincate then straight to flash copper live. Keep the power up a little for the first minute, then back it down to the correct level. The double zincating ensures a good grip with the flash.

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        • #5
          Re: Zincate Problem?

          That is correct on what fxst98 said, but if you don't have the nitric acid then you might be able to get the parts to plate if you just zincate, rinse, and then go LIVE (connecting the neg. wire before part going into bath) in your flash copper, make sure you plate at low amps if you don't have the nitric acid, that is after you properly prep the parts.
          Before I got the nitric I had the same problem with blisters but not as bad as you described.
          But if you follow the steps that fxst98 posted then you will get a good finish every time without any questions, but I don't go into the nitric first, I go Zinc,rinse,nitric,rinse,Zinc,rinse, live in the flash... I do alot of sport Bikes and all the parts that are alum. come out perfect the first time...
          If you get a cover off of a bike make sure that it is alum. cause some bikes have a magnesium part on them and the nitric will eat them up. So do a test before you put the part in the nitric, just drip a little nitric on the cover to see if it will react.. SO BE CAREFULL FXST98!!!!!!
          www.chrome-plater.blogspot.com

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          • #6
            Re: Zincate Problem?

            One thing I forgot to mention is the nitric acid can also be used to strip the nickle and copper off of just alum. parts, by just leaving them in the bath for about 15 to 20 min. But make sure its alum. first.....
            You have to strip the chrome first if its chrome plated..
            www.chrome-plater.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              Re: Zincate Problem?

              My thanks to both of you. I can obtain some nitric acid and will hopefully try plating the aluminum again tomorrow. It is really great to have access to knowledgeable people who are willing to help.

              J Gray

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              • #8
                Re: Zincate Problem?

                any time, let me know how it turns out.....
                www.chrome-plater.blogspot.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Zincate Problem?

                  Just out of curiousity, what is a good/economical source of nitric acid for this purpose?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Zincate Problem?

                    The first place to look would be a local chemical supplier that sells small quantities. If you're not that lucky, do a google search for nitrc acid and be prepared to pay out the nose for small quantities and a hazmat shipping charge. I bought a 70% solution and diluted it because it was a cheaper route for me. Buy the cheapest one, you don't need the high quality lab grades.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Zincate Problem?

                      nitric acid is a very easy acid to make. All you need is sodium nitrate and battery acid. Sodium nitrate sells for around $5/lb, is very safe and can be purchased just about anywhere. Battery acid can be purchased at your local auto parts store. To make a mild solution mix 1/2 cup of nitrate with 1 quart of battery acid. Let the mixture sit over-nite. The nitrate will settle to the bottom, slowly poor off the liquid which is your nitric acid solution. Save the nitrate that settles to the bottom and use it on the next batch of acid. Remember that you are making an extremely corrosive poisonous acid. It CAN be very safe to use and handle but you must READ and follow all safety rules to the T. Dont even try to make it or use it until you understand what nitric acid is and how to handle it.

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                      • #12
                        Making nitric acid

                        YouTube - MAKING NITRIC ACID

                        looks easy but im going to still try and find a place to buy it
                        D.I.L.U.S.I.

                        Drive It Like You Stole It

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