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  • 48Buick
    started a topic PLATING POT METAL...............

    PLATING POT METAL...............

    Thought I would pass on what ive learned over the last year or two about plating pot metal.
    It is probably the most difficult (but not impossible) metal to plate.
    If you have any hair....take it out now!
    To start with you have a zinc based metal that was of no specific alloy or make up. Then add to that about 40 or 50 years of corrosion and it gets frustrating.
    But...as I said, it can be done.
    The way I deal with it......and there can be other ways. is to first
    Sandblast the part really, really good.
    This does three things...
    1 Removes the chrome. (you will see it spark as it comes off)
    2 Etches the nickel and gives the strike plate a good foot to plate onto.
    3 Exposes and removes some of the corrosion from the pits.
    Take your part out and blow it off with air.
    You most likely have a part that looks like it belongs up in space floating around now.
    Dont dispair!
    Next I clean off about 2 square inches of the surface with a wire wheel in a 1/4 die grinder. Make it all shiny.
    Then take a drill bit or dremal tool and drill out each pit down past that little black dot of corrosion thats in the middle of them.
    Now for the fun part.
    All those little pits have to be filled and smoothed out.
    I use a zinc based solder and flux that melts at 340 F. Its tricky to use but works well.
    Fill each pit, wash and sand smooth. Repeat this until the part is totally smooth.
    I sandblast the part again after this. Just lightly.
    Dont touch the part with your bare hands after this. Use nitril gloves..not latex or rubber.. They will leave a residue on the part
    I now put on my robbers to protect the High current areas. Put the wire or heavy piece of copper on the part that will hold it to the cathode bar.
    Make a little jumper wire that goes from the cathode bar to the part. This will allow you to enter the STRIKE bath live.
    You want to go into the strike bath live and at the highest amperage setting you can without burning the part. This does two things.
    1 Gets the plating on as fast as it can so the bath doesnt react to the zinc based metal
    2 Makes the bath throw down into the Low current areas better.
    After about a minute like this take the amperage back down to what you figured out for the part.
    This will take some practice on some SCRAP pieces.
    After you are satisfied with about 15 miniutes of the strike bath rinse your part off and go directly to the acid copper for at least a hour.
    I usually go 90 minutes on the first acid copper plate.
    After the acid copper, rinse the part off and start sanding it smooth.
    DONT sand down to the original potmetal. If you do, continue to sand the rest of the part, rinse off with plain water and into the strike bath to restrike it.
    Use gloves when your sanding so you dont get the copper all over your hands and you dont get your finger oil on the part.
    Continue to sand and copper until it is smooth. I sometimes have to copper plate 5 times to get all the pits removed.
    Once it is smooth I then work up from 180 grit to 400 grit sand paper and then buff, clean, nickel plate, rinse and then chrome plate.
    Like I said.....PRACTICE on scrap pieces...dont take your good parts and ruin them.
    I hope this helps shorten the learning curve for some of you.
    Pot metal is a mutha......but it can be plated successfully by the hobbiest plater. It just takes time and patience...........lots of patience!
    Now you know why the plater groans when you bring potmetal to them!
    48 Buick

  • Harmonysafe
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Hello,
    Pot metal is a very unstable,unpredictable,and difficult metal to deal with and restore.During the casting process,air bubbles are formed throughout the entire piece.That is in part why pot metal is almost always pitted.The normal turn around time is about six weeks,but this time frame can easily double or triple for the following reasons...

    Leave a comment:


  • mshipley
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Hi, i have a question about a piece of pot metal i have been working on for a long time . I have done everything to text, got a beautful job flash copperjng. When i put it in the acid copper, it eats the flash copper and starts to eat the pot metal. Can someone please help !!!!!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • XK120DHC
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Originally posted by brendar7639 View Post
    Hello !
    I am also a new member. Would a newcomer be warmly welcome here? Good day you guy !
    New Members, newbie plater, folks just seeking information, etc. are always welcome..
    If you are asking questions, and/or a newbie plater seeking specific information, be sure to start your own thread (make a new post).. otherwise your question, and any replies will be buried in an (often) unrelated thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • brendar7639
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Hello !
    I am also a new member. Would a newcomer be warmly welcome here? Good day you guy !

    Leave a comment:


  • brendar7639
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Hello !
    I am also a new member. Would a newcomer be warmly welcome here? Good day you guy !

    Leave a comment:


  • maahi
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Thanks for the wonderful replies of you all.Nice information.

    Leave a comment:


  • XK120DHC
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    [quote=gordb52;51398]I just bought a copy chrome kit. I was wondering if you could tell me what I need to know to get started? I read the manual but dont understand quit everything. I bought a power source and a 1.5 gallon kit. Could you tell me how the current is hooked up to everything? Like the negatives and positives and anything else you can help me with to get started. Im starting small and hoping to get bigger and ad it to my buisness. I sandblast and paint now always looking for an expantion.
    Thanks
    Gordon[/quote}

    Gordon;
    I can tell you, from my personal experience, that you WILL need to understand everything before you even mix your chemicals, much less connect any wires.
    Electroplating, regardless of the type of process (Copy Chrome, Zinc, Copper, etc.) is not something that you can stop in the middle of to ask a question.. You need a firm grasp of how to do each and every step before you start.. Then, when you screw up, you can ask a "to the point" question.. Believe me, you will screw-up.. It's part of the process!
    We "newbies" (myself included) can be overwhelmed with the in-depth level of learning required to just "begin" to start plating.. After I bought my first Caswell Kit, I spent the better part of two years learning the "how to's", obtaning the remaining "bits & pieces" (as detailed in the Plating Manual) and setting up my plating area.. I have since plated a few things.. most were crappy then I started getting better. The "Learning Curve" is steep and plating on "practice pieces" is a MUST!
    Best of luck.

    Leave a comment:


  • gordb52
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    I just bought a copy chrome kit. I was wondering if you could tell me what I need to know to get started? I read the manual but dont understand quit everything. I bought a power source and a 1.5 gallon kit. Could you tell me how the current is hooked up to everything? Like the negatives and positives and anything else you can help me with to get started. Im starting small and hoping to get bigger and ad it to my buisness. I sandblast and paint now always looking for an expantion.
    Thanks
    Gordon[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]

    Leave a comment:


  • bobgurkin
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Well, this is a question rather than a reply. I have about 250 old capguns from 1950 thru 1958. (Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, ect, ect.) I have just recently figured out how to disassemble these riveted guns and put them back together. It is very cost prohibitive to get these guns nickel plated so I am going to try to learn how to do it myself. Is there any such thing as a plating book for idiots? Any help is appreciated. Bob Gurkin bobgurkin@nc.rr.com

    Leave a comment:


  • SLOSteve
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Originally posted by 48Buick View Post
    Bryan:
    The biggest thing with potmetal is to just stick with it until you learn how to deal with it. Its the hardest metal to plate.
    Practice a lot on scrap.
    Good luck and let me know if you need any advise.
    48 Buick
    Sticking with it is the key! I'm living (still) proof of it. When you mentioned pulling your hair out before plating pot metal you were right. UGH. What a pain but it is fun learning as long as I take a day or two break when I get frustrated.

    I've been working on a pot metal radio bezel for quite sometime. Being the really smart guy that I am I didn't start out with the copper pipe practice pieces and went straight to the pot metal (if I'm going to plate pot metal I might as well USE pot metal to practice on, right?). Anyway, to make a long story short I screwed it up so now it IS my practice piece!

    I have a couple of quick questions: First, does the part need to be polished to a mirror shine before each plating process, and second: activated in 33% sulphuric acid solution just before the next plate? I think I goofed when I mixed pool acid at a ratio of 1pt to 1gal of distilled water. It should be stronger than that, yes?

    Btw.......add me to the list of people you have helped a LOT with your pot metal plating experience and procedures!

    Leave a comment:


  • goldmankc
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!
    now that I got that out of the way, can somone tell me, after my repairs, I have these tiny holes, over and over, cannot get them out, I'm talking pinholes. will flash copper and then acid copper buildup cover these?
    I'm at my wits end, have used solder-it, muggyweld, silver solder, still have the pin holes. blasting, sanding, buffing, cannot get rid of them. have started this piece over about 50 times{no s..t} arrgggg, rotten pot metal.
    Thanks
    Clint

    Leave a comment:


  • upncoming
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Originally posted by Coley
    I will check with him on Monday and get back to you....
    did anybody ever find out what he was talking about here?

    Leave a comment:


  • gcyeaw
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    I am working with a pot metal part. I have a few pits I have cleaned out with a dremmel tool. What do you use to heat the part when soldering?

    This is a test piece and I was unable to get a soldering iron to work. I tried a torch but that tended to overheat the area and soften the pot metal. Perhaps a mini torch of some nature?

    Thanks,
    Gardner (newbie)

    Leave a comment:


  • drayegon
    replied
    Re: PLATING POT METAL...............

    Shawn there is very little Pot Metal on a Honda. It is all aluminum and cast at that. So you will have to re chrome it. after the copper plate hit it with nickel plate then Chrome it. That is the original triple chrome plating we hear so much about. You may find that just polishing the Aluminum and then covering it with a clear coat will look almost as good.take care dray

    Leave a comment:

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