Zinc plating- easier than you might think.

With so many old fasteners and mechanical components, buying new or having them refurbished was going to be expensive. A bit of research and I decided to give electroplating a go- it turns out to be really very easy. First I had a test run:

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Wire brush all the corrosion off and make the items shiny- the electroplating won’t hide anything, it’ll just protect it.

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Zinc blocks from the marine supply store are wired to the positive lead…

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…items to be plated to the negative.

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For the test run I used a 12 volt battery charger as a power supply. The voltage is too high, ideally you want as low a voltage as possible to reduce the amount of hydrogen produced.

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I was pleased with the results.

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The test run completed, I went and bought a vegetable steamer to convert into a more permanent plating bath.

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The electrolyte is white vinegar, epsom salts, and white sugar. The vinegar and epsom salts act as electrolyte, the sugar makes the plating more even. (Sugar is attracted to areas with higher conductivity, inhibiting the plating process in those areas.)

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Alligator clips to hold the nuts and bolts.

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I’m now using a computer power supply, providing 5 volts. There’s much less fizzing, the plating is quicker and more even.

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Plated items come out with a porous grey surface, but buffing them with a soft brass brush reveals the shiny zinc beneath.

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This is the clutch cover (AKA the wok) and linkages, all bright and shiny.

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