Q… What sort of Kit should I buy?
A... Generally, the best way to answer this question is to ask yourself, “what I am trying to achieve”?
- Are you trying to replicate an original finish?
- Do you want to create a certain colour?
- Are you trying to match another item?
- Do you just want to replate the part to give it some sort of corrosion protection?
Jane Kits sells all sorts of Electroplating Kits and treatment procedures. To work out which one is more suitable for you is not always a question we can answer. Essentially, there is nothing wrong with any of the products we sell. All of them are different in some way, yet they are all perfect for their intended purposes. Therefore, if you don’t know the difference between say Nickel and Zinc, then you may need to research a little more find out what the differences are and work out which one is for you. Either one of them will do the job and we sell both of them on a regular basis. Just like we sell all of our products on a regular basis.
Q…Why should I purchase a complete Plating Kit and not just the items I think I need?
A…The reason we create complete plating kits is to ensure you have the correct products to get first class results. Many customers, in an attempt to save some money, have decided to replace some of our generic Kit contents. They all experience issues. For example; even our copper wire is a special order non-shielded copper wire. Any reclaimed copper wire you source will have a clear shielding attached to it and this will render it useless when attempting electroplating. Our Kits are fantastic value, don’t be a scrooge, purchase a complete Kit and ensure you have all the correct products.
Q… Do I need to purchase the power supply, or can I just use the one I already have at home?
A... The power delivery is extremely important when it comes to Electroplating. The type of power supply, the amount of current required and the way in which you control and deliver the power to the plating bath are all critical to ensuring quality results. Understanding power (i.e. Volts, Ampere, Watts etc) can be very confusing. To simplify it, for the purpose of understanding what is important when electroplating, what we need to control and adjust is ampere (commonly referred to as Amps or Current). The actual number of amps required during electroplating is relative to the surface area of the object or objects in the plating bath. Therefore, you need to be able to visually see the number of amps dialled up (LED readout on the power supply) and also be able to adjust the amps to suit the relative surface area. Some power supplies available are either pre-set on a certain output for amps (these are useless for electroplating) or are only Volt adjustable (problematic for electroplating). The power supplies we include in our Plating Kits are quality Dual controllable and digital LED readout units, perfect for electroplating. If you don’t think you have the correct power unit, purchase the one included in our Kits to ensure you have the correct tools.
Q…Is Electroplating too difficult, should I just take it to a plating shop?
A…No, all of our procedures are simplified. Anyone with little to no knowledge can use our products and carry out our procedures successfully. Our Electroplating Kits include a comprehensive Plating Manual, that will explain, in layman’s terms, all you need to know how to do each procedure. The key to success is to ensure you have your items prepared properly and to follow the directions in our Plating Manual. If you do this, you will get as good and in most cases better results than you would from a professional plating shop.
Q…What size Kit should I purchase?
A…To answer this question, you will need to work a little in reverse…. i.e. establish what the biggest sized object you wish to plate is and that will determine how large the bath size / Kit you will require. For example, if you are restoring a bike and you wish to plate all of the nuts, bolts and smaller brackets etc, then you would most likely get away with a 10 litre Kit size.
If you also want to plate, say an axle, you would most likely need to step up to a 20 litre Kit size.
Q…How many items will I be able to plate out of a plating kit?
A…The simple answer to this question is “A lot”. All of our Plating Kits and treatment procedures will enable you to coat numerous items. The actual amount of surface area that you will be able to cover out of one of our kits is almost impossible to predict. There are numerous variables at play when carrying out the procedure that will influence this. These include; bath temperature, plating efficiency, current density, shape of the object, bath layout, bath movement etc. Although the most influence is the length of time something is actually plated for. Whereas, every minute an item is left in the plating bath, the more will plate onto it.
Even with these variations at play, the amount of actual coating you will achieve out of any of our Kits is exceptional.
Q…Do you use the Kit once and then have to throw it away?
A…No. All of our Plating Kits and treatment procedures are used more than once. In fact, some Kits may last for years. The amount of time the plating chemical will last is relative. The more plating you do, the quicker you will deplete the actual metal chemical component. To ensure longevity, after you finish plating for the day, store your plating chemical in an airtight container and then set it up again when you wish to continue. This could be the next day or in some cases, the next year.
Q…Can I purchase consumables for my plating kit?
A…Yes. Everything that is included in any of our plating kits can be purchased individually throughout our web site, usually in multiple sizes. Although, if you purchase a complete plating kit, you will need to have plated a large number of items before you will require any consumables. The initial kit contents are very generous and will allow you to plate a lot of items before requiring any more investment.
Q…If I purchase a smaller Kit, say 10 litre size, can I add to this and make it a larger size down the track?
A…Yes. As long as you have not contaminated the original 10 litre chemical mix, you can purchase more plating chemicals and add it to the original mix to create a larger bath size. Be mindful, as your bath size increases so does the requirement of more anodes. So, if you add more chemical to your original Kit, you will also have to source the correct number of additional anodes to ensure you have the balance of anode to chemical ratio.
Q…I have a larger item I wish to plate, how do work out how big the plating bath should be?
A…You will need to purchase a plating bath that is a suitable size to be able to successfully plate the item. If you end up sourcing a bath that will accommodate the item in question that you wish to plate, then you will need to work out how many litres it will require to be the right depth etc to enable you to successfully plate it. Remember, if your bath is overcrowded or the item is too big for the bath, your results will be terrible.
Q…How do I work out how many litres my bath will hold?
A…To work out the number of litres any container will hold, will require a calculation of the cubic volume. We recommend always plating in rectangular shaped plating baths, however, sometimes you will find yourself plating in a round container (stainless steel etc).
- To calculate the volume of rectangular shape; measure the internal length, width and depth in centimetres.
E.g. if your container is 38cm long, 32cm wide and 27cm deep, it would be;
38 x 32 x 27 = 32832cm3. Then divide the answer by 1000 (millilitres in a litre) to calculate the number of litres the bath can hold.
32832 / 1000 = 32.83 litres. Therefore, the bath would hold a maximum of 32 litres, so the nearest Kit size would be a 30 litre Kit.
- To calculate a round shaped bath (cylinder), the equation would be V=πR2 x H. (Volume = π x Radius x Radius x Height). To do this will require you to measure the radius (which is half of the diameter). The diameter is the bottom width of the circular shape of the container and also measure the height or depth of the container.
E.g. If your container is 32cm in diameter and 36cm in height, the equation would be;
32 / 2 = 16cm radius.
π x (16 x 16) x 36 = Volume (Note, π =3.14159265359).
(3.14 x 256) x 36 = 28938 cm3. Then divide the answer by 1000 (millilitres in a litre) to calculate the number of litres the bath can hold.
28938 / 1000 = 28.93 litres. Therefore, the bath would hold a maximum of 28 litres, so the nearest Kit size would be a 30 litre Kit.
Q…What sort of material should the plating container be?
A…Most of the plating and or treatments can be done in a plastic container. Electroplating is best done in a rectangular shaped container. Most decent quality PVC, polyethene or polypropylene plastic containers will be suitable. If using stainless steel, ensure the grade of stainless is type 316 and has a thickened base. The plating procedure can be also carried out in a Ceramic crockpot. If a specific grade of container is required, it will be mentioned in the relative procedural directions of the product.
Q…The plating or treatment bath suggests it requires a certain temperature. How do I heat the chemicals?
A…Most of the plating and or treatments will require the chemicals to be heated to a certain temperature range. This can be achieved in several different ways and depends on two factors;
- What temperature does the procedure need to be at?
- What sort of container are you using?
The temperature will vary between procedures and the way you need to heat it will depend on the material of the container. We recommend plating or treating in suitable plastic containers where possible. To heat a plastic container there are two methods;
- Heating the plating solution inside the plastic container by standing the plating container inside another container (referred to as Bain-Marie) that is either;
a. Made from plastic and filled with hot water, (periodically maintaining the temperature of the water would be necessary)
b. Made out of metal, filled with water and is on a heat source.
- Installing a suitable submersible heater. Most ceramic submersible heaters can be installed inside the plating bath to assist with reaching the desired temperature. However, generally the maximum temperature these types of heaters are able to achieve is 40 degrees C.
If you are plating inside a suitable stainless steel container, then heating this type of material is easily achieved on any type of heat source. However, do not store any chemicals inside metal containers. If you plate inside a metal container, as soon as the solution is cooled down, pour it into an airtight plastic container for storage.
Q…Are the plating chemicals harmful?
A…Almost all of the plating chemicals are only mildly acidic and are generally less hazardous than most household cleaning agents that most people would find stored in their kitchen or bathroom cupboards. A common sense approach is recommended when using, storing and disposing of any chemicals. Label the plating electrolytes and put them out of the way of children. Store them in suitable plastic containers. Dispose of the chemicals in reference to local council regulations. Most councils will provide a hazardous goods collection depot for fuels, oils, paints etc.
Jane Gold has a mild (1%) potassium cyanide-based chemical used in its makeup. Once mixed with water, at 1%, this is a very mild mix, however, caution should be applied including; Do not breathe fumes, gas, mist, vapours, spray. Do not get in eyes, on skin, or on clothing. Do not eat, drink or smoke when using this product. Use only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Jane Clean is a 30-60 % phosphoric acid-based cleaning chemical. Natural ventilation should be adequate under normal use conditions. Avoid generating and inhaling mists and vapours. Keep containers closed when not in use.
Note; Care should be taken by the bath operator no matter what type of bath is being used. Avoid allowing chemicals to remain on your skin for long periods. Safety glasses and clothing that covers arms and legs should also be worn. A well-ventilated room is necessary and avoid inhaling fumes that are present during the plating or mixing processes. A suitable respirator and chemical resistant gloves are recommended. Wear gloves made from rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyethylene to prevent skin contact.
Q…Can I electroplate alloys?
A…Yes and No. You can plate most metal surfaces; however, some alloys will not electroplate until they have had a strike plate applied initially. Jane Kits provide a product called ‘ULTRA STRIKE’ which is used to create a layer of copper metal plate onto what was originally a non-palatable surface. However, plating alloys is rather problematic, and some will always be difficult, at times impossible to plate. More information regarding this can be found in the Electroplating Kits category, click on Ultra Strike link above.
Q…Can one plate plastics or organic objects?
A…Yes, Jane Kits have an Electroforming Copper Kit that will enable you to plate almost anything you desire. Electroforming opens a world of plating opportunities. With the correct preparation, almost anything can be Electroformed. Organic items such as leaves, cones, nuts, pods etc. can be transformed into decretive items for jewellery or trinkets. The list is endless; shells, rocks, gems, wax, plastic, rubber, fabric etc. etc. etc. can be transformed into a metal surface. More information regarding this can be found in the Electroplating Kits category, click on Electroforming Copper Kit link above.
Q...Are additional supplies of the various kit contents available when required?
A...Yes…The only top ups that you will ever need are a new electrolyte and new anodes, but not for a long time unless you do an exceptional amount of plating. Anything you received in any of our plating kits can be purchased individually (in many cases in multiple sizes) at any time. All of our products are listed on our website.
Q.…How long does it take to plate the items?
A…Some procedures will vary, however, when doing traditional electroplating (Zinc or Nickel etc), you are best to leave the items in for a minimum of 40 mins to a maximum of 60 mins. Some jobs require the build-up of acid copper plate, which is not uncommon to plate something for multiple hours. Except for Jane Gold, any form of Electroplating the longer the item is left in the plating bath, the more will plate onto it. The amount of time is up to yourself.
Q.…Do I have to remove the original coating?
A… Yes. Any original coating, treatment or plate will need to be removed prior to re plating or re treatment. Therefore, every item must be taken back to bare metal and be chemically cleaned prior to applying a new coating.
Q.…How do I remove the original coating?
A… Removing the original coating will depend on what sort of coating is currently present. To do this, will require you to become aware of what is on your parts. Unfortunately, we are not aware of what was plated or applied to every nut, bolt, bracket etc on every car and bike ever produced. Generally, if it is a silver like appearance it will most likely be one of 3 options;
There is no one solution or procedure that fits all. Removing some surfaces is difficult with chemicals. To remove Nickel and Chrome it is best to not attempt these using chemicals. The easiest and safest way is to media blast it off using a suitable material, ensuring you don’t damage the parent metal. Some coats are easier to remove than others. For example, Zinc, Cad, Passivated Zinc Galvanising coatings can be removed easily with one of our preparation solutions called Jane Clean. More information can be discovered in the FAQ Cleaners and FAQ Preparation.
Q.…Will re plating an object adversely affect the pitch on threads?
A…No, if an item you wish to re plate has original plating still applied. Firstly, you will need to remove it. Therefore, re plating an object is only putting a coating back on it that it originally had. A rough guide is that most electroplating procedures will plate a thou an hour (1 thousandth 0.001 of an inch an hour). Note; 0.001 inch = 0.00254 cms
Q…Can you plate Nickel, Electroless Nickel, Zinc or acid Copper directly onto bare metals?
A…Yes in the case of nickel, electroless nickel or zinc, but no in the case of acid copper. Acid copper does not plate directly onto steel. It will plate onto non ferrous metals (brass and copper). To plate onto steel with copper a flash thin coat of nickel or electroless nickel is required first to act as a strike coat to enable the acid copper to adhere.
Q…Which is the best and longer lasting plated surface?
A…This is not a clear answer for this question. Different coatings all have pros and cons. A common comparison is Zinc and Nickel. Over a long period of time zinc tends to sacrifice itself to the atmosphere. Its protection from corrosion can be further enhanced by applying a chromate. This will ensure great longevity. Nickel is more like a painted surface and if done properly and is not damaged will also last indefinitely.
There is nothing wrong with either of these options and we sell almost as many as one another.
Q…Do you have a Chrome plating Kit?
A…No. Whilst chrome plating is still very popular, carrying out this process is not an option for anyone outside the commercial industry. Ever since the chrome-plating process was invented, generations of people have loved the brilliant shine that chrome has to offer. Unfortunately, there are several problems with traditional chrome plating. There are several known dangers of traditional chrome plating involving heavy metals, including chromium and also cyanide. Chromium contains Hexavalent chromium, which is a known carcinogen. The use, handling and carrying out of this process is also heavily regulated. Therefore, being able to carry out true chrome plating is not an option for the general public.
Q…Do you have a Cadmium plating Kit?
A…No. Similar to chrome plating, Cadmium plating is under scrutiny because of the environmental toxicity of the cadmium metal. Cadmium plating was commonly used in previous years for its outstanding longevity. It offers an exceptional bonding surface for adhesives, such as those increasingly used in aircraft manufacturing, and is the preferred coating for salt-water environments. These characteristics are especially useful in applications where components will be repeatedly disassembled and reassembled, such as in scheduled maintenance of aircraft. Thus, cadmium plating continues to be critical to the aerospace industry and is widely used in some applications in the aerospace, military, and aviation fields. However, it is being phased out due to its toxicity. Therefore, being able to carry out cadmium plating is not an option for the general public.
If you purchase a complete Electroplating Kit you will receive a comprehensive Plating Manual. This will provide detailed information regarding all of our products and explains the best method to use for bench top plating and advice on how to avoid the pitfalls. These comprehensive instruction books can also be purchased separately on our web site.
Search For Products
The Jane Kits story began when John, a vintage motorbike restorer realised that it would be much more convenient and economical if he was able to plate his own parts in the home workshop. So John decided to source and create his own plating kit and hence Jane Kits was born. John went on to receive numerous awards for his meticulously restored bikes with parts plated using his ingenious new kit.