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anybody experienced in electroplating?


kunar

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short and sweet, i have a hand full of aluminum parts that i would like to electroplate in copper. it needs to be a good, durable coating, .002-.003" thick. ive done a lot of googling, seen various techniques with various results. looking for someone that actually knows their stuff that i can have a meaningful conversation with. oh, and before anyone says "just pay to have it done, bro!" not only can i not afford that, but i like the idea of the challenge and the learning experience as well. thanks!
 


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96firephoenix

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make sure that you clean everything with MEK first. I don't actually do any, but i write manuals for aerospace applications and they electroplate EVERYTHING, lol. Most of it is nickel, but everything they plate gets cleaned with MEK first.

these guyshave some DIY supplies, and they are one of the aero suppliers, so I would assume they have good reputation.

Another thing to look out for is the heat. if you electroplate something that will be in a high-heat application, it will get discolored, no matter what you do. I'd also recommend getting some hi-temp clearcoat to avoid oxidation with the copper plating. last thing you want is green parts after a couple years.
 

kunar

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thanks for the link and thanks for the tips. i suppose i could have been more specific in my original post, im looking to add a little material to some worn out engine pistons and connecting rods. it will be a relatively high heat environment, but youll never see it, discoloration is of no consequence to me. i still have plenty of research and practicing to do before i even decide if i can pull this off, but the link youve provided is a good start. thanks!
 

96firephoenix

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thanks for the link and thanks for the tips. i suppose i could have been more specific in my original post, im looking to add a little material to some worn out engine pistons and connecting rods. it will be a relatively high heat environment, but youll never see it, discoloration is of no consequence to me. i still have plenty of research and practicing to do before i even decide if i can pull this off, but the link youve provided is a good start. thanks!
If that is what you're going for, I'd recommend against copper simply on the abrasion resistance (or lack thereof). Another thing is that if you're putting this on pistons, oxidation is a massive concern. the coating will be destroyed between the gasoline and the fire.

Nickel-chromium-aluminum flame spray is a much better option (standard aero for bearing bore reconstruction - 15K RPM and 700°F), and this thread on a UK welding site seems to have some info about it, although I"m not sure what your budget is.

Dollars to donuts, I think you'd be better off buying new ones unless this is for an antique resto.
 

kunar

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If that is what you're going for, I'd recommend against copper simply on the abrasion resistance (or lack thereof). Another thing is that if you're putting this on pistons, oxidation is a massive concern. the coating will be destroyed between the gasoline and the fire.

Nickel-chromium-aluminum flame spray is a much better option (standard aero for bearing bore reconstruction - 15K RPM and 700°F), and this thread on a UK welding site seems to have some info about it, although I"m not sure what your budget is.

Dollars to donuts, I think you'd be better off buying new ones unless this is for an antique resto.
one of the reasons i had copper in mind is because the hardness should be similar to aluminum, that's what the pistons and rods are made out of originally. i suppose that doesnt mean that abrasion resistance would be the same, but maybe i should research that a little more. i don't need to plate the faces of the pistons, only the skirts, so there won't be any direct contact with fuel or flame. I had thought briefly about spray-metal coatings, but i dont have that kind of money to invest, so i threw that idea out the window pretty quickly.

as far as buying new parts.... the engine's about 40 years old. the parts are still readily available, though extremely expensive. id have $3-400 just in rods and pistons, and that's just for a 2 cylinder engine! plus, at that point, the cylinders and crank are worn, so both would require machining to fit undersize rods and oversize pistons. so add the cost of machining to the cost of parts, it adds up rather quickly. now, if i can add enough material to the pistons and rods that they are slightly heavier than they were from the factory, that will make up for the wear on the pistons and crank. i know its not exactly the "proper" way of going about it, but if it all pans out, i should be able to have results nearly as good for a lot less money. it's all still a thought right now, that's why im doing my research! thanks again!
 


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