Electroless Nickel as the name suggests is a nickel plating procedure which, unlike electroplating, does not require electrical current to deposit the nickel. Nickel is deposited to the surface of the metal via an 'autocatalytic' process. This process deposits the coating evenly onto the surface being plated. The nickel metal itself is contained in the chemical, and the nickel is plated onto the surface of the parts when they are immersed into the heated plating bath.
Electroless Nickel will produce a very attractive satin nickel plated finish. If you require a more traditional lustrous nickel finish you can achieve this by using Jane Kits Nickel or Cobalt Nickel Electroplating process. To achieve a lustrous finish on Electroless Nickel plated parts, you can buff them using buffing compounds and a calico wheel after the plating process has completed.
Electroless Nickel comes in liquid concentrate form. The concentrate is mixed with either deionised, demineralised, distilled or rainwater. The ratio is 4 parts water to 1-part Electroless Nickel chemical. This type of nickel plating possesses fantastic throwing ability (i.e. readily plates awkward shapes, inner surfaces or into holes etc). It has a 15 % phosphor content that improves the corrosion resisting qualities of the plated surface. Plated hardness is between 450-550 Vickers. You can increase the hardness by heat-treating the plated part for 1 hour at 400 degrees C. You then obtain a hardness of around 1,050 Vickers. A new bath will deposit around 12-15 microns per hour.
Electroless Nickel is ideal for motorcycle spokes or odd shaped parts and is a simple process that produces a first-class result. Parts will plate in 15 minutes, however, for best results, the recommended time would be 45 minutes to 1 hour.
The Electroless Nickel electrolyte or chemical needs to be at an optimum temperature for successful plating. The ideal temperature is 88 to 92 degrees Celsius. This means you will need to heat your Electroless Nickel chemical.
The best way to achieve this is by placing your chemical into a type-316 stainless steel container and externally heating it with a heat source. (small gas portable camping stove is ideal). A thermometer will be necessary to monitor the temperature and they can be purchased from Jane Kits web site.
Due to the operating temperature required, Electroless Nickel will evaporate quickly. This is the only negative element regarding this process. Water can be added to top up the chemical levels, but it is recommended to purchase more chemical than required so you can top up the bath with more chemical to keep the correct nickel content.
Jane Kits have three stock sizes of Electroless Nickelavailable:
Although these are stock sizes, we will be happy to provide any other size you may require. If you wish to purchase a larger size than the stock sizes listed, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
CLEANING & PREPARATION
With all Jane Kits products, the key to successful plating is in the preparation of the items to be plated. Parts must be chemically clean. In order to ensure that you get pleasing and consistent results, Jane Kits sell very efficient Cleaner Kits (see cleaners). Thorough cleaning is essential in the preparation of parts prior to electroplating.
The contents you receive will be in container/s, with various chemicals mixed together and the entire contents should be mixed with water at a ratio of 1 part Electroless Nickel to 4 parts water. Therefore, if you order a 1 litre mix, you will receive a 1 litre bottle of chemical that should be mixed with 4 litres of water to make a 5 litre final volume plating bath.
NOTE only use deionised, demineralised, distilled or rainwater to create your plating bath. Do not use tap water. It may have too many additives that will contaminate your bath.
Electroless Nickel is designed to plate directly onto steel, cast iron and copper surfaces.
It is designed to plate directly onto steel, copper and cast-iron surfaces. Electroless Nickel won’t spontaneously plate onto copper alloys (including brass). What you need to do is simultaneously have a steel part in the tank and touch the brass component. This will commence the Electroless Nickel depositing onto the brass part, once the reaction starts then it will continue. Another alternative is to make the brass component cathodic (i.e. add current) in the Electroless Nickel bath (identical to electroplating) and again, once the reaction commences cease using the current as the Electroless Nickel deposition will continue once the initial nickel coating has started.
However, it will not plate directly onto stainless steel, zincated aluminium, nickel or die-cast zinc surfaces without a separate strike. Jane Kits supplies an Ultra Strike Kit that is a non-cyanide, alkaline Copper Plating process that is designed to plate onto these metals and will act as a strike for the Electroless Nickel.
NOTE; it is always good practice to strike brass components in the alkaline copper solution first (i.e. Ultra Strike). Sometimes you can get away without it, but as there are varying brass alloys there is no guarantee of success without the alkaline copper strike. This is particularly important for leaded brass alloys.
NOTE; When disposing of any chemicals supplied by Jane Kits please do so in a sensible manner. Do not pour down drains or sewer as this will be harmful to the environment. Seek advice from local councils and authorities regarding drop off points for hazardous goods.
JANE KITS do not accept any responsibility for any injuries or for any ill effects resulting from the careless or improper use of any of our products. No responsibility will be accepted for any injuries or for any ill effects or accidents resulting from the improper storage or lack of your safety markings on our products.
All products should be used with care and as per the instructions in this Plating Manual. All MSDS are available on request.
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 is recommended.