Plating Solutions

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Updated 5-21-2013

There are many types of plating solutions that are used in both brush and tank plating. The solutions that you should use, is determined by the metal that you are plating over, the reason for which you are plating the work piece and the finish and type of metal that you want to apply to the work piece. Dalmar Mfg. Co. makes many different chemicals for different purposes. It is best to go over the list of chemicals below to see what is best for your application. On some jobs there is more than one way to plate the piece. Not all of the chemicals listed are included in our kits as this would raise the cost of the kits un-necessarily. Dalmar tries to include the chemicals best suited for what you are doing when you purchase the kit.

In some applications you will be selecting a single solution, but in other cases more than one solution will be used. These deposits are sometimes referred to as "Duplex Coatings". A duplex coating is a two layered deposit where each layer achieves a different objective. One example would be nickel and gold over copper jewelry. The nickel prevents the gold from diffusing into the copper and looking like the gold is tarnishing. The gold is the final layer to give you the finish that is the most popular in jewelry.

In applications where corrosion resistance is important, the copper will seal the surface while the nickel will provides the corrosion resistance.  In salvaging worn pieces where thick deposits are required, the copper is an economical easily applied deposit achieving most of the build-up while nickel provides a hard, wear resistant and/or corrosion resistant top coating.

In most cases a pre-plate deposit is required before the final build-up plating deposit. There is always a thorough water rinse after the pre-plate step is completed. The pre-plate is used to obtain maximum adhesion of the build-up deposit. It is actually the pre-plate, when used, that provides the molecular adhesion between the base metal and the plating deposits. The proper pre-plate if required is determined by the both the base material and the final plating solution. In a few cases more than one pre-plate solution is required.

When brush plating there are applications that will start with copper and then plating nickel over the copper. In some cases you will start with nickel and then plate copper over the nickel. Both nickel or copper can be a pre-plate. In tank plating with Dalmar products in most cases you will start with copper followed by nickel.

In most applications of the pre-plate when a proper color change is obtained a satisfactory pre-plate has been applied.

Instructions for plating solutions are always printed on the labels of the solutions, at least Dalmar products are done that way as a convenience to the customer and to avoid confusion and mistakes.

When plating an item that requires an activation step, never rinse after the activation. Doing so usually results in the passivation of the surface and poor plating adhesion.

Do not take too much time between steps and allow the part to dry. Most plating is wet process, move quickly but carefully between steps.

When maximum thickness is achieved and you need to go thicker you abrade the surface with something like a whaite Scotch Brite pad. These can be purchased at most hardware stores.

Below are some facts and hints on our different solutions

For Identification all tank plating chemical part numbers start with a "C", all brush plating chemical part numbers start with "PS". Chemicals that are used as a preplate generally will not grow thickness.

 Dalmar Brush Plating Solutions

Some of the brush plating sku numbers have been changed. Here are the changes:

           Name                                            Old Number                      New number

Nickel Alkaline Brush Plating Solution                PS-2A                                         PS-2802   

Copper alkaline High Speed Solution                   PS-1AHS                                    PS-2904

Copper Acid High Speed Solution                         PS-1HS                                       PS-2903

Nickel Brush Solution for Aluminum                     PS-2SA                                       PS-2801

Copper Acid # PS-2901. Very easy to use solution. Deposits fast. Good for filling pits and scores. Use PS-2800 or PS-2801 as a pre-plate on most base materials. Use PS-2902 on Zinc. Hardness: 15R; 211 Brinell. Do not pre-wet item before plating. Voltage range is 5 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.015 in.

Copper Alkaline # PS-2902. Used for thin deposits. Used primarily as a pre-plate under acid solutions. Hardness: 22R; 240 Brinell. Voltage range is 5 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.008 in.

Copper Acid High Speed # PS-2903. Excellent build-up solution for resizing miss-machined or worn parts. It is the fastest build-up solution. It severely attacks bare steel and iron. Easy to machine or grind. Use Dalmar Nickel PS-2800 as a pre-plate for most base materials. # 2902 on zinc. . Hardness 25R; 255 Brinell. Voltage range is 6 to 9 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.015 in.

Copper Alkaline High Speed Solution # PS-2904.  Used for resizing machined or worn parts. Fastest plating alkaline solution. Usually substituted when acid copper solutions cannot be used. Does not attack steel or iron. Use Nickel PS-2800 as a pre-plate on most base materials, # 2902 on zinc. Hardness 24 R, 250 Brinell. Voltage range is 5 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.015 in.

Copper Cyanide Solution # PS-1-CY. Used to plate over "Pot Metals", "Zinc Die-cast" and lead came such as used in the stained glass business. Today alkaline solutions are replacing cyanide solutions in most applications

Nickel Preplate Solution # PS-2800.  Provides excellent adhesion to steel. nickel, chrome, high alloy steels and refractory metals. Provides good corrosion resistance at 0.002 in. (51 microns). It is also a good touch up for electro less nickel. When using as a pre-plate DO NOT water rinse. Pre-wet with build-up solution then proceed to plate.  Use # PS-2902 on zinc. Hardness 50 R, 484 Brinell. Voltage range is 5 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.004 in.

Nickel Preplate For Aluminum. # PS-2801. Primarily used as a pre-plate on most base materials. Do not use on zinc. Enhances brazing on many metals. Provides excellent adhesion to most metals. Provides good corrosion protection at 0.002. (51 microns). Hardness 48 R, 400 Brinell. Voltage range is 5 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.007 in.

Nickel Alkaline Solution # PS-2802.  Used as a pre-plate on base materials that are attacked by acids, throws well into internal corners. No pre-plate necessary, it is used as a pre-plate on many materials. This is a great nickel if the base metal is very pourous like cast steels and cast iron. Hardness 46 R, 330 Brinell. Voltage range is 6 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.0005 in.

Gold Plating Solution # PS-3.  Used for car emblems, jewelry and such. A long wearing finish, contains cobalt for durability. Acid base, contains no free cyanide. Voltage range is 6 to 11 volts.

Decorative Chrome Solution # PS-6  Used to deposit a decorative chrome finish. Can be used to match damaged Hexavalent Decorative chrome. Will pass copper sulfate test. Sound deposit appearance Bright, Blue /White. Pre-plate with copper and nickel first. If corrosion resistance is a concern, a thin coat of PS-2801 Nickel should be deposited before the chrome. This solution is considered environmentally friendly as compared to tank chrome plating. Voltage range is 6 to 12. volts.

Hard Chrome Solution # PS-6H  Used to build up worn surfaces. Provides a hard wear resistant deposit, also reduces friction. Can be used on new parts to provide longer life. Can replace Hexavalent chrome. To achieve desired plating results you must heat both the solution and the part. Preplate with PS-2801 on most base metals. Hardness 70Rc, 1100 HV. A graphite anode should be used wrapped with red "Scotchbrite" only. Voltage range is 4 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.005 in.

Bright Zinc # PS-9.  Excellent corrosion protection of ferrous metals. Does not attack existing Zinc. Preplate with # PS-2800 or PS-2801 on most base materials. None necessary on Copper, Zinc, Steel or Iron. Voltage range is 6 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.007 in. If a supplemental chromate conversion coating is required use PS-1720 Dichromate.

Bronze Solution  # PS-2950  Primarily used for industrial Bronze applications such as bearings, bearing housings and repair of Bronze parts. Can be used for decorative bronze applications. Polishing would be necessary. Preplate with # 2800 on most base materials. None necessary on copper or zinc. Hardness 21 R, 240 Brinell. Voltage range is 8 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.008 in.

Cadmium Alkaline Solution # PS-4802.  Used for repairing some aircraft parts, good for corrosion resistance. Will not dissolve existing Cadmium. Fine grain, good throwing power, good base for subsequent conversion coatings. If a Chromate conversion coating is required use # PS-1720 to give the Cadmium a Yellow tint. Preplate with # PS-2800 or PS-2801on most metals, use # PS-2802 on zinc. None necessary on Copper, Steel or iron. Voltage range is 6 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.005 in.

Cadmium No Bake. # PS-4803. Used for corrosion protection on Aircraft landing gear and other ultra high strength steel parts. Non-embrittling no post bake required, low metal fatigue on steels 180,000psi (12654 kgscm) or greater. Preplate with PS-2800 or PS-2801 on most metals. PS 2802 on Zinc. None necessary on Copper, steel or iron. If a supplemental chromate conversion coating is required use PS-1720 Dichromate. Voltage range is 6 to 12 volts. Maximum thickness in one layer is 0.005 in.

Brush Plating Solution Prices can be found Here

Dalmar Tank Plating Solutions

Copper Electroforming Solution # C-1.  Used Primarily for electroforming or when a heavy or thick build-up is necessary. It contains brighteners for a bright finish. No pre-plate necessary on Nickel, Silver or Gold. Preplate with C-1A on Steel, Iron, Zinc, Lead or any metal that is attacked by acid. Use with a Copper anode. The copper brighteners will wear out in approximately 40 amp hours. A replacement Copper Brightener is available # B-6. Rectifier setting: 1/10 of an amp per square inch of work area. Use with a copper anode.

Copper Alkaline Solution # C-1A.  Used primarily as a pre- plate on any material that is attacked by acid. If you are trying to achieve a thick build-up, plate with # C-1 over this solution. Use with a Copper anode.  Copper alkaline is used in place of Copper Cyanide Solution in most cases today. Use with a copper anode.

Copper Cyanide Solution # C-1CY.  This is the old standby for plating over pot metal or Zinc Diecast. This solution should not be used for a heavy build-up. Use with a copper anode. Care must be taken not to mix a Cyanide solution with an Acid base solution or a deadly gas is formed.

Nickel Plating Solution # C-2.  Used as a non-tarnishing final coat or as a base coat under Gold, Silver or Rhodium. It is an acid base and contains brighteners. Use with a Nickel anode. Rectifier  Setting:  2/10 of an amp per square inch of work area.

Electro less Nickel Solution # C-2EL.  Used to plate over Iron and Steel when it is necessary to get into deep recesses. It is used with out a rectifier.

24kt Gold solution # C-3.  Used for plating jewelry and such. It is an acid base and contains "no free" Cyanide. Contains cobalt for a harder finish. Use with a stainless steel anode. If plating over copper it is better to plate a nickel #C-2 over copper before the gold to act as a corrosive barrier. Use with a Stainless Steel Anode

Silver Plating Solution # C-4.  Used for decorative purposes on jewelry and silverware. This is a pure silver solution that does not contain any cyanide. Use with a stainless steel, or silver anode.  It plates out looking like pickled silver and must be hand polished with any silver polish.

Zincate # C-12T.  Used when plating on aluminum, especially on motorcycles which contain a lot of aluminum. Aluminum is normally hard to plate over due to the almost instant corrosion that occurs . By applying a coating of zincate and then plating it in Dalmar Nickel tank solution # C-2. The nickel  dissolves the zincate as it plates the nickel on and not allowing it to corrode. No anode or rectifier needed with this solution.

Electrolytic cleaner # C-5 Used to electro-clean a work piece before plating. Use with a stainless steel anode.

Tank Plating Solution Prices can be found here.

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