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There's lots of Cadmium plating on the Jag. It's mostly bolts and brackets and such, so the pieces are not big. I could have tried to send this stuff out to have it professionally plated. But, that would have required a huge effort in inventorying every thing on the car as well as the risk of loosing stuff. The option that I chose was one of the Caswell home plating kits. These don't take up too much space and do a reasonable job. It also allows me to maintain control of all my pieces so if something gets lost I have only myself to blame. I run plating sessions as the need arises, putting things back together as I go.
It took me a while to get the hang of the plating operation. Home cad plating is not really cadmium but zinc. Initially I could not get a bright finish like I wanted. This would eventually be traced to too little power. The kit comes with a little transformer similar to a phone charger. I found this power source to be woefully overrated. I finally began using a car battery with a car charger to maintain the voltage. This improved things considerably.
I have not had the courage to make the leap to any other plating such as nickel or chrome. Perhaps with time, I might take that on, but for now it's just the zinc that I'm doing.
First you start with a grungy part like this. After cleaning the grease from it as best you can it goes to the bead blaster. This removes most of the rust and any remaining dirt/grease.
From there it goes to the acid bath. This is distilled water and Muriatic acid diluted 2:1. The acid removes the old cad plating.
From here it goes back into the bead blaster. I find that after the acid bath there is a dark, almost soot like coating on the parts. You can usually wipe it off but that means handling it and then degreasing it and hoping that you don't leave any smudges on it so, I just blast it again. The blast cabinet is also a nice dry place to leave things that are ready to go into the plating tank. I leave the light on in the cabinet and never get any flash rust.
From the bead cabinet we go to the plating tank. The kit that came from Caswell included the plastic bucket and the solution. It also included two zinc anode plates. They are used up in the process so must be replaced. I am using a car battery for power and regulating the current with the bank of bulbs that you see. The more bulbs you connect, or the bigger the bulbs you connect, the more current that flows. This allows you to plate more parts or bigger parts. In the end, it's the number of square inches of surface that you must deal with.
The parts are hung with copper wire from a bar that spans the top of the tank. The positive lead attaches to the zinc anode and the negative lead goes to the part.
After plating, the parts must be rinsed with distilled water and hung up to air dry. After 24 hours they get sprayed with WD40 and stored.
Below are pictures of some of the pieces I have done.
Some of the pieces originally had a yellow chromate finish. They are first zinc plated as normal.
Then they are dipped in a yellow chromate solution.
This gave them the multihued yellow/green color.
And the beat goes on.
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