Introduction: High Quality (and Safe) Nickel Plating

Picture of High Quality (and Safe) Nickel Plating

Just like my popular copper plating instructable, the aim of this is to do high quality, low cost, and safe electroplating. We will also be making our own electrolyte from scratch instead of buying chemicals online.

If you've looked at my copper plating tutorial, note that the process here is different. The nickel will not dissolve very well if at all in the vinegar without special help and adding hydrogen peroxide will destroy your electrolyte.

Nickel plating can be used for a variety of different things.
- It creates a corrosion resistant coating that will protect the base metal from oxidizing and rusting. It is frequently used in food processing to prevent contamination with iron.
- It can increase the hardness and thus the durability of mechanical parts and tools.
- It can allow you to solder to difficult metals.
- It can create a variety of beautiful decorative finishes that range from a chrome-like gleam, to brushed stainless steel color, to a metallic black. It just so happens that black nickel plating is used frequently in aerospace applications
- In thicker platings, it can make the object magnetic.


To get different finishes and properties, you may need to add other chemicals and metals to your plating solution (see the Post Prep stage). These chemicals will change the way the atoms arrange themselves and/or add other metals to your plating. If you are looking for corrosion-resistance, do not add any other chemicals to your electrolyte as they may cause the end plating to stain or tarnish. I unfortunately haven't had the time to work out cool combinations, so feel free to experiment and report back!

For a copper plated finish, be sure to check out my copper plating instructable :)
https://www.instructables.com/id/High-Quality-Copper-Plating/

On another note, I LOVE your questions! I have noticed that a few folks are asking the same questions, so I've added a "Common Questions" step/slide/section/whatchamacallit at the end of this instructable. Take a look there to get quick answers to most of the questions you might have. If you have a new one, comment below and I'll be happy to answer it and add it to my step/slide/section/whatchamacallit :D

A quick disclaimer - nickel acetate, the chemical we will be making, is poisonous. The title "High Quality (and Safe) Nickel Plating" is referring more to the fact that you don't need to play with insanely powerful acids that will burn your skin or ask you to open batteries. In the concentrations we will be working with, the process is fairly safe. However, do NOT drink the solution and be sure to wash your hands after plating and properly wipe down any surfaces that come near or into contact with your plating solution. Always supervise kids. That said, enjoy!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Nearly all of the supplies can be found at your local supermarket. Finding a pure source of nickel is a little trickier, but should not cost more than a couple dollars. To keep from draining your battery in later steps, I very highly suggest finding an AC/DC power supply around the house.

Materials you can find at your local supermarket:
>Distilled Vinegar - 5% acidity or higher (grocery)
>Salt (grocery)
>Mason jar (canning)
>6V Lantern Battery (camping)
>Alligator Leads (electrical)
>Nitrile gloves (pharmacy or DIY)
>Paper towels (paper products)
>Cameo Stainless Steel and Aluminum Cleaner (cleaning supplies)

Materials you will likely need to buy online, at a good hardware/welding supply store, or a music shop:
Pure Nickel - You can get this a few different ways. I bought my nickel in the form of two 4oz plates on eBay for ~$5, a good hardware store should carry nickel welding rods, and most music shops will carry Ernie Ball "Pure Nickel" guitar strings.

You can also try to remove the nickel windings from old guitar strings if you are strapped for cash. It takes a bit of time, wire cutters, and pliers, but it can be done. Note that most nickel-wound strings contain a steel core that will pollute your electrolyte (Ernie Ball "Pure Nickel" strings should be pure nickel).

You can also try to use solid nickel door knobs and the like. I would warn you to be careful when trying this because a good chunk of "nickel" decorative items are plated themselves.

Optional, but highly recommended materials (also at the supermarket or a local electronics store):
A higher voltage, DC power supply - I am using an old 13.5V laptop charger. You can use "wall warts" (the ugly black AC/DC power supplies that come with some consumer electronics) or an old ATX (computer) power supply. Just make sure that it does, in fact, output DC.
A fuse holder
A fuse that is rated slightly less than the max current rating on your power supply.

Step 2: Preparing Your DC Power Supply (Optional)

Picture of Preparing Your DC Power Supply (Optional)

In the next step, we will make our electrolyte. In order to do this, we will need a significant amount of electricity. Instead of wasting a moderately expensive batteries, it is much cheaper to use an old wall wart, laptop charger, or computer supply (assuming they aren't already being used).

My version is crude, but effective.You could (and probably should) make a little project box with a DC barrel jack, internal fuse, and two terminals poking out to clip the alligator leads to.

Wall Warts (the ugly black things that come with some electronics)
Cut the barrel jack off of the end of your DC power supply. Pull the two wires apart and cut one of the wires two or three inches shorter than the other - this will help prevent you from accidentally shorting wires together later. Strip about a quarter inch from each wire. Solder in your fuse holder and pop in the fuse! You are done! (see polarity notes below).

Laptop Charger
Cut the barrel jack off of the end of the DC power supply. Use a razor blade with light pressure to remove the outer jacket - you do not want to cut through to the inner core. Most chargers will have one insulated wire that is wrapped in many other bare copper wires. Twist the bare copper wires together to form a single wire. This should be your negative. Solder your fuse holder here. Strip about a quarter inch from the insulated wire and tie it back with a zip tie or electrical tape so it cannot short with your bare wire. Pop in a fuse. You are done! (see polarity notes below)

ATX/Computer Power Supply
These are a tad bit more complicated to turn into a useable benchtop power supply. Google (or search instructables for) "DIY benchtop power supply" or "ATX benchtop power supply". You should find a few different tutorials that will explain everything well :)

Lab Benchtop Power Supply
If you are super fancy and have the money, a standard adjustable power supply (which is what you would find in a lab) will work just as well. Just make sure you set aside your banana plugs for electroplating only.

Notes on Polarity
You will need to know which wire is positive, and which side is negative. If you are a pro with a multimeter, this should be pretty easy. If you don't know how to use a multimeter or don't have one, you can do this: Mix a pinch of salt into a little bit of water in your jar. Connect one alligator lead to the fuse and drop it into the water. Connect the other alligator lead to the non-fused wire and drop that in the water. The alligator lead that starts to bubble is your negative.

Step 3: Make Your Electrolyte

Picture of Make Your Electrolyte

It is definitely possible to buy different nickel salts online, but where is the fun in that? Here, I'll show you to make your own nickel acetate solution for a lot cheaper than buying chemicals online.

Fill your mason jar with distilled vinegar leaving about an inch from the top. Dissolve a pinch or so of salt into the vinegar. The amount of salt is not all that important as long as you don't go crazy with it. The purpose of the salt is to increase the electrical conductivity of the vinegar. The more current that flows through it, the faster we can dissolve the nickel. Be careful though, too much current will lead to an over saturated solution which will lead to poor plating results. Use sparingly.

Unlike in the copper plating instructable I've done, the nickel will not dissolve into the solution just by letting it sit for a while. We need to electro-dissolve the nickel.

Place two pieces of pure nickel into the vinegar and salt solution such that part of both stick out and into the air and that they don't touch. Connect an alligator lead from the positive terminal of your battery (or a DC power supply) to on of the nickel electrodes. Do the same from the negative terminal to the other electrode. Make sure that the alligator clips don't touch the vinegar so they don't contaminate the final product.

The nickel source connected to the negative lead should start to create hydrogen bubbles and the positive lead should make oxygen bubbles. Truth be told, a very minute amount of chlorine gas (from the salt) will also form on the positive lead, but unless you put in huge amount of salt or are using a lot of voltage, the chlorine will just dissolve into the water like what you find in a swimming pool. The minute amounts of sodium, in case you are wondering, will react with the water to create sodium hydroxide.

For this step, I very highly suggest using a DC power supply that plugs into the wall (see the previous step). Dissolving the nickel will take a while and you don't want to drain your battery more than you need to - DC power supplies are reusable, most batteries are not.

After a little while (mine took about two hours), you'll notice the solution has turned a light green. This is your nickel acetate solution! Woot! If you get blues, reds, yellows, or any other color, it means that your nickel source wasn't pure. The end product should be a clear green - if cloudy, your have an impure nickel source.

The solution and nickel sources may become warm during this process - this is normal. If they get hot to the touch, you should disconnect your circuit, let it cool for an hour, and repeat as necessary. It is possible that you added too much salt, which increases the current, which increases the power dissipated as heat.

Step 4: Preparing Your Object to Be Plated

Picture of Preparing Your Object to Be Plated

NOTE: Some materials, such as stainless steel, will not accept direct nickel plating. You will need to copper plate them first. See my copper plating instructable to learn how to copper plate: https://www.instructables.com/id/High-Quality-Copper-Plating/

The cleaner your conductive object, the better it will plate. You don't want any grease, oxidation (rust, tarnish, patina, ect), or general grime on your surface. Even if your surface looks clean, I can almost guarantee there is a fair amount of oxidation that needs to be removed.

Remove general grime and dirt with a little bit of dish soap and elbow grease.

Remove the oxidation and tougher grime with an acid-based abrasive such as Cameo. Don nitritle gloves and just mix the powder with a few drops of water on your glove and go to town!

You can further clean your object by reverse electroplating (ie "electrocleaning") it for a few seconds. Hook your object up to a positive voltage, a wire to the negative voltage, and drop them both in a vinegar salt solution for 10-30 seconds. This will remove any remaining oxidation.

For larger surfaces, try scrubbing them with fine steel wool and vinegar.

Step 5: Time to Electroplate!

Picture of Time to Electroplate!

For this step, you want to use your 6V battery. Even lower voltages (down to around 1V) will give you a better, shinier, smoother finish. You can use a higher voltage DC power supply for electroplating, but you won't get good results.

Place a nickel source into your green nickel acetate solution and connect it to the positive lead of your battery with an alligator clip. Clip the other alligator clip to the object to be plated and connect it to the negative lead of your battery.

Drop the object to be plated into the solution and wait for around 30 seconds. Take it out, rotate 180 degrees, and drop it back into the solution for another 30 seconds. Repeat as needed. You should move the alligator clip a new location after a couple dips so that the entire surface gets plated. Unlike in copper plating, the alligator clip shouldn't leave "burn" marks, just prevent the spot underneath from plating well.

The plating process should create enough bubbles that you won't need to agitate or swirl your object in the electroplating solution. For larger objects and containers, you may want to include a small aquarium pump (~$15) to circulate the solution.

Step 6: Post Prep

Picture of Post Prep

Now for post prep....Generally speaking, NONE! Nickel doesn't oxidize at room temperature and shouldn't tarnish. You can polish your end product with a light polish to get a bright gleam.

If your nickel plating is not as shiny as you'd like, polish it up with a light polish that doesn't leave waxes or oils behind, and then electroplate it again.

Adding small amounts of other metals such as tin during the initial electroplating will change the color of the plating (tin will give you a white colored metal like silver). Many metals can be electrically dissolved into vinegar just like nickel. The two main metals that cannot be electrically dissolved into vinegar are gold and silver (trust me, I've tried). Since I had some copper plating solution left, I mixed in a little bit of it with my nickel plating solution. The result is a matte, dark grey, very hard finish that feels like a chalk board (it squeaks like one too if you scratch it ). See the picture.

Unless you are an experienced chemist or have a friend who is, I would be very careful when adding random chemicals to your electroplating bath - you may just end up creating some toxic gas that isn't good for you, kids, or fido.

Step 7: Common Questions

Picture of Common Questions

Can I plate [insert your metal here] with nickel?
It depends. Certain metals play nice together, others do not. The ones that do not are called "dissimilar metals". In the picture, you'll find a table I borrowed from RFI. The table is designed to let you know when a galvanic reaction might occur causing corrosion. For our purposes, it also tells us which metals are compatible and which are not. The lower the magnitude of the number (aka the absolute value), the more compatible (ie similar) the metals will be. If you are trying to plate a metal that is not compatible, you may need to plate with copper or another metal first. You can find my copper plating instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/id/High-Quality-Copper-Plating/

How do I plate non-conductive objects?
First, you need to make them conductive. You can do this with conductive paints, conductive glues, and even metal leaf (think gold leaf) as long as whatever you are coating your surface with is not water soluble. I haven't experimented much with this myself which means you will have to. Send me a message with your results and I'll post them here for others to reference.

How much voltage/current do I need?
As little as possible. The lower the voltage and current, the better results you will get. You need a minimum of 0.5V DC to plate with copper. A C or D cell battery will give you pretty decent results. If you don't have access to lower voltages, you can put the electrolyte into a big container and move your electrodes as far away from another as you can - the increase in distance will also increase the resistance of the circuit and decrease the current.

Can I use other acids other than acetic acid (vinegar)?
Yes.....but be careful... This instructable was written for average Joes and Jolenes, not chemists. Other acids can be significantly dangerous as well as release some very nasty, very toxic chemicals into the air. Unless you are an experience chemist (ie you have an actual degree, not just AP Chem in high school or Chem 111 in college), I would not recommend playing with other chemicals.

Is plating coins illegal?
The first thing I want to point out is that I'm only using coins because they are everywhere and cheap by definition. The copper and nickel content make them ideal for small experiments. This isn't a "how to plate coins" instructable, they are just handy and recognizable. For those of you who took high school chem lab, you probably used quarters, dimes, and pennies for a couple different classroom experiments.

As far as the legality of plating coins, to my understanding, it is legal as long as you 1) Aren't removing metal from the coins with intent to sell that metal, 2) Are not trying to pass them as something they are not (ie a copper plated dime is worth 10 cents, nothing more), and 3) Aren't defacing the coins for malicious intent. As a personal disclaimer, this is MY understanding - take it with a grain of salt. If this is incorrect, I would welcome a friendly email or message from the US Treasury or other qualified persons.

Can I plate Aluminum?
I would avoid it. Aluminum is just one of those metals that don't plate well. If you are looking for a corrosion-resistant finish, you can anodize the aluminum to create a clear oxide layer that is extremely corrosion resistant. If you are looking for a colored finish, you can get dyes that absorb into the oxide layer and stain it whatever color you want (this is actually what Apple and other companies do to make different colored iPods).

Comments

longwinters (author)2013-11-03

Thanks for posting,,, for those persons looking for low cost power supply's the "wall wart" ( love that term) transformers are readily available at virtually all second hand stores, usually in a balled up mess, the phone chargers have a pretty clean current and it's well regulated.

A_Steingrube (author)longwinters2013-11-03

One note to this - the larger the voltage (to a degree), the faster you can dissolve your nickel. I would recommend somewhere between 10 and 15 volts. The output voltage should be listed on the power supply (ie wall wart).

If you want to use your DC power supply for plating, look for lower voltages (the phone chargers would work great for this).

Lstdrgn (author)A_Steingrube2016-01-14

From an experienced plater, the higher the voltage the faster it will plate yes but the adhesion will be weaker. If you are looking for a fast plating job the high voltage works but it may flake off in time. If you want something that is durable or needs wear resistance the half a volt should be used over a longer period of time.

A good way to test the adhesion is to use a strong masking tape after it is dry. Press the tape on to the plating the pull it off quickly and the look at the tape, if you see plating on the tape it didn't adhere properly.

Now you know:-D

macrumpton (author)Lstdrgn2016-02-20

Is the low voltage needed for optimum adhesion during the whole plating process, or could you increase the voltage to speed things up once an initial layer has been applied?

GeoR1 (author)macrumpton2017-10-15

Keep it low all the way for good plated adhesion. Read the other notes I posted in these comments. Good luck

NapoleonA (author)Lstdrgn2016-06-10

Great ! @lstdrgn

SynCallio (author)Lstdrgn2016-02-01

Is there an amperage we should shoot for? Or is that not an issue?

I'm not entirely sure how this comment made its way here....I usually respond to comments using the comments tab on my "You" page....

astral_mage (author)2013-11-03

ok ppeople 4 those who want thier metals try this company out. http://www.mcmaster.com/# . they should have every thing u may want / need . or dont want / need

andrea biffi (author)2013-11-03

I like the "For Science!" label on the vinegar :-D

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-10-18

If you want to coat over Nickel quickly plate when still wet (Nickel) into Mineral Spirits that is waterproof. It flammable the Spirit so keep it away from flames but once it dries it makes a nice coating over the nickel to protect your skin!!

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-10-18

I have made Nickel plated copper for jewelry that is COATED in Mineral Spirits to coat and make it waterproof. Here are some pictures. I am also wondering why the nickel 99.96% pure sheets cause the Nickel chloride to blacken? Is it due to exposure to light or air?

GeoR1 (author)2017-10-15

Ok, Here are some tips after 1 week of tuning this process where I plated Nickel onto Brass Door Handles and Backing Plate.

CLEAN the METAL

Make sure your piece to be nickel plated is clean. I used a variety of methods including 1000 wet and Dry sandpaper and Gumption abrasive cleaning paste

Electrically Connecting to the Part

When a brass small piece was difficult to clip to (door handle circular washer-rose) , I sandpapered the back of it and soldered on a copper wire. Use 50 to 100W soldering iron, 60/40 solder and some soldering flux to make the job easier. Make sure the job is super clean to make it easy to solder.

Make sure no copper is exposed to your plating fluid

Use plain nail polish to paint over any exposed copper wire. Copper messes with the plating and seems to leave a rough black sooty deposit. Copper is a contaminant.

Use a Lab Power supply

You want to set the voltage and current as low is as practical for the best possible Nickel finish. Using a low voltage and current will take longer to plate but will result in a superior finish.

The electronegativity difference between brass and Nickel is about 0.6V

So set the voltage alittle above this 0.9 to 1V is fine.

Now increase the current until you get an extremely fine smoky mist of bubbles of your Negative terminal ( the part to be plated).

Depending on the size of the part to be plated, around (0.2 to 0.3A) is good. These two figures of Current and Voltage are not critical.

Plating time will be about 30 minutes.

You will find out what the natural cell voltage for the plating tank is by raising the voltage from zero up to about 1V. At a certain voltage, the current goes from zero to whatever the power supply current limiting on the lab supply is set to. Stop increasing current when you get your fine mist of bubbles.

AGITATE THE SOLUTION while plating

I used a silicon basting brush. Do not use brushes with a metal ferrule. You run the risk of contaminating the plating fluid.

Decant any metal particulates and fines that accumulate at the bottom of the plating tank. I used a Glass Pyrex baking dish for the plating tank - no risk of metal contamination to the plating fluid (yes, tank contamination is an issue to avoid - it messes with the plating finish).

Getting Rid of Black , Rough Finish on your plated part

If you accidently contaminated the plating fluid with :

Too much salt

Detergent

Oils ( Eucalyptus oil for cleaning)

Other metals (copper connecting or hanging wires) , solder

Then you may end up with a black rough sooty deposit. Use some Gumption abrasive cleaning paste , or some Ajax powder and gently rub it off the plating. Use lots of water for cleaning.

Use Clean Nickel electrodes

After lots of plating your nickel electrodes tend to get eaten up and go dirty.

Hold the electrode with some pliers and use a solid wire brush to remove oxides and contaminants until you get a clean surface.

Fixing badly plated parts

If you plated with too much current, you'll set up stress in the plating. This results in crackled , lifting peeling plating. You can easily fix this sanding the offending area smooth with 1000 wet n dry sandpaper with a bit of water.

Then clean the job with abrasive cleaning paste and replate.

Keep the Nickel plating electrode surface close to ( in my case about 1/4" away and keep the Nickel surface and the Job surface parallel to each other.

The reason I have such close spacing is that I used a shallow pyrex baking dish ( about 2" deep). I hanged the Nickel electrodes from a wooden dowel from copper wires and left the piece to be plated sitting on the bottom of the dish.

Summary

I figure since it took me about a week of evenings after work to perfect the plating, then I could save some other soul the effort.

Use a little Silvo or Brasso metal polishing fluid to get a glossy Nickel finish.

Nickel electrodes cost me about $20 posted ( ebay) and

I saved about $400 , the quote from a professional plating service.

Good Luck

George

GeoR1 (author)GeoR12017-10-15

Temperature

Place the Baking dish on an electric stove and keep the temperature to around 40 degrees C and keep it below 50 degrees C to prevent hardening of the plating.

GeoR1 (author)GeoR12017-10-15

Plating for too long a time (will vary on job size and current used but generally speaking about 1 hour) results in your plating crinkling delaminating.

conradrmc (author)2017-05-16

I wanna electroplate some brass spheres but I'm not sure how I would attach them… any ideas?

GeoR1 (author)conradrmc2017-10-15

Place them ideally on a plate of titanium for electrical contact, or stainless steel.

Titanium is ideal as it builds up an oxide layer in the process.

Keep rolling them while you plate

conradrmc (author)conradrmc2017-05-16

I might get some copper spheres to make my life eaiser but the shape is still a problem

curtis.newton.104203 (author)2017-07-28

I get a green/blue liquid indeed, but it does not plate at all in the end

the nickel dont diminish (yes I checked the polarities)

and the part does not get plated at all, just some black crap agglomerates on the part

although I just used vineager (acetic acid) and kitchen salt

Cutris,

Have a read over my other posts. Check with a Voltage meter ( DVM) what voltage and current is coming out of your power source.

Make sure your heating you tank and measure the temperature

( I used a meat skewer temperature probe)

aschischka (author)2017-10-09

Hi. Thanks for the tutorial. I'd like to give this a go and I have a couple of questions:

1. I'd like to use a 12v car battery charger that plugs in at the wall to make the electrolyte. Would that still need a fuse added to it or do these typically have a fuse built in?

2. If I understand correctly, 12v is appropriate for the electrolyte making process whereas a low voltage like 1.5v is ideal for the plating process?

Thanks

SHOE0007 (author)2017-09-26

Hello, I am wondering if using Nickel chloride salt 4-5 g per 1 L of water with some salt water (Sea salt) would work with thin nickel plates 0.05 mm thick? Or would the nickel rust under this condition. Should I start with a lower dose of Nickel chloride?

Thanks Daniel.

Needsbeermoney (author)2017-09-05

I made the acetate and used it a few times then it started to get cloudy and get kinda dark. Do i just filter it or do i need to make a new solution? How long is this stuff suppose to last?

BobbyH24 (author)2017-08-12

I am working on this and I have run into a problem (maybe). When pulling apart old laptop batteries to get the cells (18650's), they are held together with nickel strips. At first, I thought they were pretty much pure strips. But, it turns out, they are nickel plated iron. So, after having done the electrolysis of some strips, I find out that there is now Fe in the acid solution. So I'm guessing I now have Nickel Acetate and Iron Oxide (?) (not sure of the chemical changes here). So, how would I get the Fe out of the solution, or could I just go ahead and do the nickel plating and only the Nickel will come out of solution and bond to the plated material?

Thanks, Kori

F8lyer8s (author)2017-08-08

I am currently waiting for my solution to finish... what I'm trying to do is actually remove the nickel plating from a golf club I have.. (carbon steel under it) then replate it with nickel... I can only remove the plating and will have to wait a few days to add the plating back... can I put a lid on my solution and reuse it?

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-05-12

After a while the Nickel electrode coats with copper. I use fine steel wool carefully with a mask because of the risk of nickel dust. This is what the finished product looks like. :)

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-05-11

I have platted Nickel Zinc alloy from a clamp and Nickel with Nickel Chloride (Nickel carbonate and Hydrochloric acid 3.144%) right now. Here some photos :).

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-05-04

Reaction with air and Nickel chloride on air which was then heated up slightly with a Propane stove.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-05-03

Purple red color.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-05-03

I have tried Nickel chloride in copper electrodes in HCl and instead of turning silver color it turned purple. So I put the metal on a Propane stove to heat it up for a few minutes while moving it around.

edgas10 (author)2017-04-19

i there !

i´m trying to copper plate some zamac parts witch is zinc and copper ,alu etc mix

with this chemicals im this project i just get the part black like some sort of soot in it but no copper...

can anybody help

thanks

Remiak made it! (author)2017-04-09

In the end, i was fairly unable to get a decent copper plating but the nickel plating came out extremely well. My handmade soldering iron tips thank you. I'll be making an instructable of how to make them and refer this article for the final step, nickel plating :)

I think its worth adding to your article that almost every single South American country has seen their currency changed at least once in the last 50 years, so there are TONS of left over, demonetized coins that are 100% perfectly legal to use as raw metal. Its only a case of looking for a Numismatics page, if you are on a country in Latin America or even if you are in the US or Europe, those coins are stupidly cheap and readily available.

I found a lot of nickel coins as soon-to-be stainless screw washer in my neighbor's screw's & nails bucket! All of them from a currency that is no longer used here.

In the specific case of Venezuela, silver started to be pulled out of the streets in exchange for pure nickel coins starting in 1965, and nickel was pulled out in exchange for nickel plated steel a bit after 1985-88, so almost every single coin printed for Venezuela between those years is most likely made out of 100% nickel!

Remiak (author)2017-04-07

Been trying for a couple days with (recently) some limited success, quite a bit of failure, which is great, i'm learning a lot from my mistakes. Pretty sure ill have some good results tomorrow.

I wonder, the copper is being plated onto the cathode from the direction of the anode, hence why you have to move the metal to get an even plating. What if the cathode was surrounded by the anode? would that make moving the cathode around not a necessity anymore? if i made a copper wire spring that fits my jar and connected that to the positive... i guess ill experiment a bit.

Remiak (author)2017-04-06

Hello, i made an account because i just had to write a comment. I'm
an electronics hobbyist from Venezuela and I've found both this and your
nickel plating tutorial extremely useful, i don't usually go beyond
just reading this kind of things for my entertainment but recently
plating copper with nickel became a bit of a necessity for me.

A
couple years back i made the big effort of getting a nock-off chinese
soldering station (Hakko 936 nock-off) even though its far cheaper than a
proper Hakko its still priced like a 19inch LCD monitor here, very
expensive. Even so, i'm glad i bought it when i did since they are just
completely impossible for me to buy right now with the ever
deteriorating economical situation of my country (my savings loose value
literally by the second) and its a proper temperature controlled
soldering station that heats up fast and maintains a determined
temperature, its made my life so much easier.

The
conical tip is a pain in the behind though, for 2 years i've had to dip
the thing in tin in order to get any heat transfer at all, so wasteful.

The
YaXun® 936 i own according to some videos on the web that talk about
extremely similar (literally just the color or "brand" are different)
stations, can apparently take original Hakko tips, but each those are
worth just as much as the station itself if not more! YaXun tips are
also available at the price of a cheap lunch each, actually sending them
here probably costs just as much as the tip (im talking about local
sellers that use an e-bay equivalent website that functions locally) but i can only really find more of those very fine conical tips that are so awkward to work with.

So i decided to make my own chisel tip, i used to make them for my old plug-in-the-wall soldering irons.

It was much harder than fitting an old nail to the iron like i used to with the plug-in irons, but I
succeeded in creating a really really good, relatively easy to make,
really cheap, and really good fitting (fits even better than the original!)
copper tip for my iron using nothing but some copper scrap. The tip could, in theory, fit an original hakko soldering iron, since my knock off can
take hakko tips, and could certainly fit all of them knock-off hakko
clones.

Unfortunately as someone that has been
soldering for a few years i know that as soon as a tip starts showing
copper that's a goner, won't last long if it isn't already unusable.

That's
where your instructables on plating with nickel came in to my aid, if i
plate my hand-made copper tip with nickel, it would certainly extend
its lifetime significantly and the fact that you kept your material list
and procedures as simple and affordable as possible make them a real
enough possibility that i already have some copper wire scrap melting in
a jar of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide sitting in the corner.

Decided
to start plating with copper since its readily available everywhere allowing my to learn how to plate a metal with another before i try with nickel, which is far trickier for me to find. No chance i'll find
those pure nickel strips like you did, so i'll have to resort to coins
but unfortunately i don't have any pure nickel coins (can buy some that
were printed in the late 70s and are out of circulation, not that
expensive but they cost almost as much as the Yaxun tips, defeating the
purpose of my hand-made tips) so there is a chance i may have to use
some nickel coated coins and make sure that somehow the steel doesn't
contaminates the solution. Anyway,
one problem at the time.

Once more and from the bottom of my heart,
thank you very much for these instructables, I'm sure they will prove
invaluable for what is my hobby and (a very much necessary) second
source of income.

Oh, and i plan to make an instructable about that hand-made tips, but not before i coat the buggers in nickel :)

gialamphat (author)2017-03-27

công ty chúng tôi chuyên cung cấp một số dịch vụ về xi mạ niken và một số công nghệ mạ khác trên thị trường hiện nay.với lớp mạ niken bóng sáng phản xạ gương ánh sáng trong thấy giúp cho các sản phẩm tăng tính thẩm mỹ rất cao cấp,

ngoài ra công ty chúng tôi còn có một số lớp mạ công nghiệp hiện đại khác như là mạ crom cứng,giúp cho sản phẩm chống mài mòn cực cao.

brand_in329 (author)2017-03-20

so I can't plate my aluminum cylinder then.it's a nikasil, electrofusion, which I assume means electroplating

LesL15 (author)2016-11-14

I've been plating some caphead bolts with great results but is ther a way of getting the plating into the socket of the bolt ?

ImtiazH6 (author)LesL152017-03-07

Yes you can.

Method 1:

This method is called Drum Plating or Barrel Plating. Its a fully perforated barrel or drum (non metal or wooden) with a rotating mechanism. It has a perforated door to put nuts & bolts in side. Door is closed. The whole drum is then lowered into the plating solution. You can use any method to connect negative of DC source to the objects inside the barrel. This electrical connection is not a fixed connection. Its a simply naked wire or rod or metal strip just keeps touching the nuts & bolts during the rotation. During the plating the drum will rotate and this wire will get a lot of metal plated on it along with your objects. You can search on google by writing "barrel plating". And off course anode remains outside the barrel.

Method 2: Put plating solution in a small non conducting tub. arrange anode near the wall of the tub. Make some arrangement to have your nuts & bolts not to touch the anode; it might be anything like a perforated plastic sheet, plastic mesh OR you can put nuts and bolts in a perforated plastic basket & lower the basket into the solution tub. Now connect +ve of DC source to the anode. Take a clean PVC pipe, insert some metal at 1 end, connect this metal with -ve of DC source to complete the circuit. Now turn on the DC supply and shake nuts & bolts with PVC pipe and let metal part of PVC pipe touching the nuts and bolts. Shake slowly as you shake sugar in a cup of tea or coffee. Good Luck

Imtiaz Hussain.

SkipF1 (author)2017-03-01

The thing that most likely bothers the US MINT is calling their 'one cent

coin' a PENNY.

janluthe (author)2016-12-19

I know a bit about limiting current with resistors. How many amps/milliamps is recommended for electroplating? If one limits the current does the voltage matter?

argon ion (author)2016-12-12

how do you dispose of such a dangerous chemical?

Bokem44 (author)2016-11-21

I'm curious if your dark quarter made with the copper solution added could be polished to a shine or not and how durable the coating would be.

nicamarvin (author)2016-10-25

I have found a way to nickel plate pennies without electricity and very easy, I will be posting this how to very soon.

yagoa (author)2016-10-19

Hi, could anyone tell me the ingredients of CAMEO or tell me about an alternative available in south america? Thanks

guillaume.sala.5 (author)2016-09-11

A Steingrube, thanks a lot for this wonderful tutorial!

I tested it and it worked great!

However, some people and myself pointed out a little mistake regarding electrocleaning polarity: the part to be cleaned has to be on the positive, as it is the side were "the electroboys" remove material.

It could be very nice to correct it, as if people wrongly wire it, it can destroy their preparation work by plating unwanted metal depending the anode they choose.

I also have a question regarding adding tin to the bath.

The only source I have is 97% Sn solder, the other 3% being copper.

As your try with mixed copper nickel bath shown a black result instead of shiny, I am worried that the few copper contained in the solder ruin my bath.

Do you have an idea about it?

Thanks for the catch on my mistake, I fixed the mistake.

As per the tin, tin is a bit harder to do with our vinegar method. The reason being is that tin acetate (the chemical you will be trying to make) decomposes fairly quickly in water. What I've heard of folks doing is using hydrochloric acid to eat away the tin and make tin chloride. If you do this, it is VERY important to keep a low pH (ie "extra" HCl). If you consume your hydrochloric acid and are left with a tin chloride solution in water and your water gets too warm, the tin chloride will decompose into chlorine gas (yikes!) and tin precipitate.

Conversely, if you have extra HCl in your solution and the solution gets too hot, the tin precipitate will react with the surrounding HCl to make more tin chloride and the hydrogen atom released from that reaction can rebond to the chlorine to form another HCl molecule. Granted, this doesn't hold as true if you are plating with super high currents or in a very warm bath (gases don't dissolve easily into warm liquids), but it can alleviate things.

thanks a lot ! I will try this next time !

So, after a little bit of experimentation, here are my results: by trying to dissolve tin in an already working nickel solution, I saw that the giving part seems to oxidizer, as it turn black and flakes off. I then try to plate a copper sample, but forgot to change the giver, letting the tin one.

the result was a non adhesive layer of this "oxyde" (pic 1)

I then replaced the giver by a titanium electrode. this time it plated the sample, but the result is rather grayish and not so shiny as pure nickel (pic2)

So I prefer to let my 38l of nickel sulfate solution alone ;-)

Of course this is a very crude experience, without any control regarding the quantity of tin injected in the solution, neither the ratio between it and the nickel, the salt, and the acid.

But definitely enough to dissuade me to try it on a +200 h of work copper piece!

mmmmmhhh.. Regarding cleaning polarity, after looking everywhere, all derusting tutorial ask to wire the piece to clean to the negative, which sounds not logical... witch means that I probably did not understood what's going on in this reaction... I will investigate on the theory, and if I was wrong, all my apologies to the author

mahlerosa (author)2016-09-07

What if you need to plate a handful or really tine parts that cannot be clipped to a alligator clip?

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Bio: I'm an Electrical Engineer who dabbles in just about everything. By trade, I'm a controls engineer and design machines for the largest manufacturing ... More »
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