Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

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Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:58 pm

thingmaker
Registered: 02/08/06
Posts: 13

02/21/06 at 12:38 AM
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Hi Everyone,



I thought I would give an update with some more information on plating thingmaker molds. It's definately possible,. From my research and my own experience with different types of plating (I'm a mechanical designer), It is a two step process because the molds are zinc die cast. Zinc is a pourous metal, and it can be easily corroded as some of you have found out when you clean your molds with acetic acid (vinegar) solution for too long. Nickel plating is a very acidic process and it would destroy the mold. Usually you would lay down a strike coat such as copper plate before nickel plating. Copper adheres very well to nickel and copper plating will generally fill in any nicks or cuts that are in the mold to a certain degree. Your mileage may very due to the nature of what you are plating in this case CC molds. Some of the detail may be somewhat lost if you're trying to plate a poor quality mold.



Before you plate you must make sure that all surface contaminats have been removed. This appies to all goop remants, rust, grease, and dirt. Make sure you clean them as best you can before you turn them over to the plater. The correct surface preparation prior to plating is of the utmost importance. Slight traces of grease or oil, even finger prints, can completely ruin a good plating job. As long as the plater knows what type of metal he is dealing, the degreasing/plating of the part will go smoothly. If you buff the after you have plated with a copper strike coating and degreased again before nickel plating you can achieve a chrome like finish. Some of you might be concerned about mold details being lost during the plating process, but the coating that will be achieved will usually be about 1 mil or less depending on how long the part sits in the bath. You can achieve a thicker coat the longer you leave it in the bath. Just explain to the plater what you using them for ;o), and he'll adjust acordingly. Nickel plate makes for a very attactive hard finish. A nickel/copper plate of about 1 mil should be more then sufficient due how the part is being used.



I can explain more about the electroplating process along with some common terms that you might hear when talking to a plating house. If people would like to hear it. I just thought I would touch on what it takes to plate a zinc die cast part. If you want further explanation, I would be more then happy to try to clarify. I have attached a picture of a piece that was nickel plated. I think that part is brass, but this is just an example of what it would look like when finished.



Efrain
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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:01 pm

Edouglass


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Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 218
02/21/06 at 07:43 AM
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Ive copper plated at home,,using a 6V lantern battery, copper sulphate, ( I believe you can get this from a good home center or landscaper) and strip of copper ( isnt this called an anode?), some wire , aligator clips ( now known as roach clips, lol), ect,, This was for a science fair project,,, it didnt leave a very thick coat, but did cover completely,, You make up a solution of copper sulphate,, attach the negative wire to the item your plating and positive to the strip of copper, put them in the solution,, and you can almost see the copper racing across and attaching to the item,,
Im wondering if this would be sufficent to prep them for Nickel plating?
Ed

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:01 pm

mjthompson
Registered: 01/24/06
Posts: 47

02/21/06 at 02:43 PM
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So the molds are straight Zinc? I've heard they are zinc, pot metal (a zinc alloy) and aluminum.



I thought for a while about trying this but as far as I can tell it'd cost me about $150 to set it up just to try it with no guarantees on whether it would work.



Also, I think electroless plating is the way to go, from what I've read, it gives a much more uniform result.



Check out http://caswellplating.com/ for details and kits.

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:02 pm

thingmaker
Registered: 02/08/06
Posts: 13

02/21/06 at 09:03 PM
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As far as I can tell they are Zinc and probably not not pot metal. Zinc was pretty cheap back then. It may be alloyed with aluminum, but I'm willing to bet that it's zinc.



Yes Caswell plating has some nice DIY kits that take out a lot of the guess work for plating. They look like they are really nice kits.

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:02 pm

artboy
Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 12
02/22/06 at 07:38 AM
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Thank you for sharing this information.



Do you think the Caswell kits are something an average person can do? I have no experience with plating, but I'm very interested in trying.

Also, are the kits required for this type of metal the FLASH COPPER AND ELECTROLESS NICKEL KIT?



Thanks,

John

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:02 pm

Edouglass


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Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 218
02/22/06 at 10:15 AM
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I think if you put together the info above,,, the first thing you must remember is that the molds must be completey free of any dirt, oil, ect,, including oil from you hands,,
2nd, you are going to have to Copper plate first,, I havent got a reply if my simple at home copper plating system would work? but it really was cheap to set up,, infact I had a company give me the copper sulphate for free (But that was because it was for a science fair for my kid) ,, If you look at the list of items in the Nickleplating kit,, some of these things could be scrounged quite cheaply,,, but it probably would be better to get the kit complete and this would make sure everything is correct,, Im sure the kit comes with complete instructions,, the only other thing is make sure you have a warm, space IE garage or basement,, but actually some of these things can give off fumes,, so a warm garage would be better,, I thinking about getting the kit,,but first Im gonna ask around about just sending some molds out to a plater and compare the prices,,

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:03 pm

thingmaker
Registered: 02/08/06
Posts: 13

02/22/06 at 11:59 AM
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I think if you put together the info above, the first thing you must remember is that the molds must be completey free of any dirt, oil, ect,, including oil from you hands.



Yes Ed you are correct. The molds must be completely clean in order for the plating to adhere properly, but that is only part of the anwser.


2nd, you are going to have to Copper plate first,, I havent got a reply if my simple at home copper plating system would work? but it really was cheap to set up,, infact I had a company give me the copper sulphate for free (But that was because it was for a science fair for my kid).



Ed you could you could use what you have put together, but if you try to take those items that you have copper plated to a plater, they may decline or offer no guarantee that the secondary plating operation will be sucessful as they are not able to control that first part of the plating process that you have done. The Casewell kits are well put together with detailed instructions to ensure good process control (keywords are PROCESS CONTROL), and I would strongly suggest that you consider these kits to ensure the best chance of sucess.



If you look at the list of items in the Nickleplating kit,, some of these things could be scrounged quite cheaply,,, but it probably would be better to get the kit complete and this would make sure everything is correct.



You could run around and aquire the items to plate the molds, but the plating kits from Caswell are premesured and use good quality materials especially regarding the chemicals. The kits were primarily designed for the DIY'er. It's one stop shopping, and I don't think that you would necessarily get the stuff cheaper. Plus you still have to figure out how to control the process which the kits will help you do a much better job then you could probably do on your own if you have had no prior experience in plating parts.



If you look at the list of items in the Nickleplating kit,, some of these things could be scrounged quite cheaply,,, but it probably would be better to get the kit complete and this would make sure everything is correct,, Im sure the kit comes with complete instructions,, the only other thing is make sure you have a warm, space IE garage or basement,, but actually some of these things can give off fumes,, so a warm garage would be better,, I thinking about getting the kit,,but first Im gonna ask around about just sending some molds out to a plater and compare the prices,,



You have to look at the cost vs time factor vs DIY vs Plating house and decide once you know these factors. Some people just love to DIY others would prefer to have a plating house do it as long as you do some of the prep work before you turn them into the plating house to reduce cleaning time at the plater.



E

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:03 pm

Edouglass


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Registered: 01/19/06
Posts: 218
02/22/06 at 12:39 PM
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Heres a sugestion,,, there seems to be a couple people on here with some back ground in this field,, and Dr Goop is a chemist,, maybe we could all chip together, buy a plating kit, and figure out who is going to work it,,, also figure out how many molds it will plate,, and divide that by the people who chipped in, ect,, If the total is gonna be around $150,, if 5 of us split the cost,, its around $30,,, and if we could plate a min of 30 molds each,,, a dollar a mold isnt bad,,,

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:04 pm

artboy
Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 12
02/22/06 at 12:59 PM
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Since I've now totally gotten back into my Thingmaker creations, I'm definitely interested in getting the molds I've purchased back to a better condition. I'd prefer not doing it myself, unless the process is pretty foolproof - which it sounds like it may not be. My next step would be to find a plater in the New York area. If you guys go in on a kit to experiment with, let me know, I'm in.

If it turns out that it's a relatively straight forward process, I might try it myself.


John

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Re: Nickel Plating Thingmaker Molds

Postby Archives » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:04 pm

thingmaker
Registered: 02/08/06
Posts: 13

02/22/06 at 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edouglass
Heres a sugestion,,, there seems to be a couple people on here with some back ground in this field,, and Dr Goop is a chemist,, maybe we could all chip together, buy a plating kit, and figure out who is going to work it,,, also figure out how many molds it will plate,, and divide that by the people who chipped in, ect,, If the total is gonna be around $150,, if 5 of us split the cost,, its around $30,,, and if we could plate a min of 30 molds each,,, a dollar a mold isnt bad,,,




I'm actually going to buy a combo nickel/flash copper kit from Caswell in the next couple of weeks (give or take). Probably a 3 gallon kit. The kit runs 336.90 plus shipping, and it includes everything you need to produce the desired results. There is some other stuff on the Caswell site for buffing that I'll buy because it's right there. I have plated metal parts before for other projects, but that was a long time ago. It appears that the kits are much better then what I dealt with in the past. So I'm thinking about it seriously...stay tuned! )



Efrain


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