«Previous    Next»
Do-It-Yourself Metal Plating
When Brian Laine decided to metal plate motorcycle parts at home, buying a metal plating kit was just the first step. A 3-gal. Copy Cad kit from Caswell Plating cost $290 (www.caswellplating.com). He spent a day driving around to gather an aerator pump from a pet shop, brass wire, rubber gloves, distilled water, beads from a fishing store, copper tubing, and several other things. Plating also needs a variable power supply, which he had.
“I found out an extra heater would be nice, as the degreasing tank should be 140 degrees at a minimum and ideally 190 degrees,” says Laine. “The included heater only gets the solution up to 160 degrees in ambient conditions.”
To prepare parts, Laine used sandblasting or tumbling, although he suggests bead blasting would have been preferable. A plastic brush for cleaning parts was included in the kit, but he also used a wire brush on a grinder.
Once prepped, kit directions required computing the surface area in square inches. This is needed to compute the current required at 25mA per sq. in.
Parts are first immersed in the degreaser tank before misting to ensure no beading occurs. Then they’re placed in the plating tank for about 30 min.
“When plating is done, you dunk rinse them, blow off the big drops and let them sit, as they can show a fingerprint for the first couple of hours,” says Laine. “I wanted a matte finish, so I didn’t use the brightener included in the kit. Without it, they came out duller than I wanted. To get the effect I wanted, I used steel wool on each part, although bead blasting might have had the same effect and been much less tedious.”
Laine was satisfied with the job done. He notes that Caswell sells other solutions that will apply a color. Additionally, the kit can also be used to deplate metal by reversing the electrical current.
“I ended up spending about three times as much money and a huge amount of time compared to having a local company treat the parts,” admits Laine. “Still, it’s interesting to do stuff yourself, and I’m set up for the future now.”
As with many other projects, Laine has detailed the entire conversion process with lots of pictures on his website.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brian Laine, 7921 Wade Rd., Arlington, Wash. 98223 (brianlaine@aol.com; www.lainefamily.com).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3