Re-plate nickel handles
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  1. #1
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    Default Re-plate nickel handles

    I'm finally reassembling a little old Index milling machine after paint and the rusty and slightly beat up handwheels don't really work aesthetically with the new paint. I asked a local polishing shop about them and he said I could easily be looking at $600 to have them redone but allowed most of that was the prep. Since he's a polishing shop he seemed reluctant to give me any clue about what finish the plater actually wanted lest he loose out.
    Any suggestions as to vendors who offer the service at a reasonable cost or what I should do for prep in terms of technique and required surface finish?

    thanks.

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    I just googled this...and found several. call them...chrome plating small items in California
    chrome plating small items in california - Google Search

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    Quote Originally Posted by teletech View Post
    I'm finally reassembling a little old Index milling machine after paint and the rusty and slightly beat up handwheels don't really work aesthetically with the new paint. I asked a local polishing shop about them and he said I could easily be looking at $600 to have them redone but allowed most of that was the prep. Since he's a polishing shop he seemed reluctant to give me any clue about what finish the plater actually wanted lest he loose out.
    Any suggestions as to vendors who offer the service at a reasonable cost or what I should do for prep in terms of technique and required surface finish?

    thanks.
    Check with A1 plating, they are the best in the business.

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    you might want to look into this for do it yourself. Caswell, among others has the nickel solution
    Electroless nickel plating - Wikipedia

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    Quote Originally Posted by teletech View Post
    I'm finally reassembling a little old Index milling machine after paint and the rusty and slightly beat up handwheels don't really work aesthetically with the new paint. I asked a local polishing shop about them and he said I could easily be looking at $600 to have them redone but allowed most of that was the prep. Since he's a polishing shop he seemed reluctant to give me any clue about what finish the plater actually wanted lest he loose out.
    Any suggestions as to vendors who offer the service at a reasonable cost or what I should do for prep in terms of technique and required surface finish?

    thanks.
    CI? Just get you a variety of compounds and buffs for HF or better spindle, bright polish it.

    It will look near as nice as Nickel for "a while". Quite a while if you wax or clearcoat 'em and/or polish reg'lar.

    Another option is "Starvel" Parkerizing. Parkerizing is good with oils, needs 'em, actually, and those are always present. No glare spots in yer eyes. Not as picky as straight nickel plate, either.

    Get serious clean, as in reverse electrostrip or media blast, then stove top @ about 130 F in a Stainless pot is all. Best not to use the same pot the wife boils yer cushion-sole work socks in though.

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    I've gone through this several times with replating small industrial parts. The reason they're quoting so high is because they're giving them the same quality finish as a classic car job. There are companies that specialize in industrial plating, but they tend to deal more with applications that require consistent finish (medical, lab, etc.), not necessarily "pretty" but sometimes more challenging to do so the price is still up there.

    What we've done is go for the hole-in-the-wall plating shops. Not for lack of quality, but you need to be able to talk to someone who's hands are on the work, not just one that takes orders, and explain that you want very little, if ANY, polishing and finishing done. You can also ask them to strip the parts and send them back to you to polish, then you'll send them back for plating.

    We used to work with a local company that made wire goods and had a plating department. We occasionally had some really crummy work done, but they were dirt cheap and 99% of the stuff came out perfect for our needs. Ultimately they stopped taking in outside jobs though, so now we're working with an automotive chrome shop in North Houston. Not as cheap, but better quality.

    Most of the parts we've done didn't really need "polishing" so much as a buff with a wire wheel. IMO unless you are making a show finish machine that you don't ever plan on using, "classic car" quality plated items will be a waste and will probably stick out like a sore thumb against a comparatively rough paint job and bare metal surfaces polished to different degree's.

    (I'm also going through this process with my 54' Chevy sedan right now. Hoping to pick up a bumper this afternoon).

    The plating doesn't really fill anything on its own, it just adds a layer, so whatever level of shine you give the parts initially will be what carries through to the plating. The way they fill in pits on car parts is to plate in copper, polish down to metal, plate in copper, polish, etc. etc. Many many coats and polishing later, the pits are full of copper and you have a copper plated part ready for nickle/chrome.

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    Plating just isn't cheap, end of story. Gotta pay to play if you want your stuff to look nice. The only way to save money is do the metal finishing yourself. If you want show quality chrome a little cheaper take it to the closest local plating place and have the parts stripped, metal finish yourself and then send them out for final plating. Or just pay to play.

    There is a high end restore guy I know that will have bumper stripped, then he metal finishes, then gets them copper plated and brings them back to his shop and blocks them... then he repeats the process with the copper until it meets his standards.

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    So what do you suppose a steel part about 1/8 x 1" x 4" long nickel plate cost in batches of 1,000

    Would chrome plating be more/less near the same.
    That would be about the size of my hitch clip invention.

    My fabricating guy sad he could knock them out for about $2.00 each.
    Thought that was including plating but I'm not sure.

    Likely brushed finish so not needing high polishing.
    Grinder/sander finish also would be fine.

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    There used to be a place in MPLS where I took handles and parts too. They did plating and bluing of guns. They were super busy and cheap. I didn't go for few years, called them and the phone was disconnected. I heard later the PCA (pollution control agency) closed them because of the pollution in the ground.

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    Part of the cost for plating parts has to do with hazardous waste fees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiganbuck View Post
    So what do you suppose a steel part about 1/8 x 1" x 4" long nickel plate cost in batches of 1,000

    Would chrome plating be more/less near the same.
    That would be about the size of my hitch clip invention.

    My fabricating guy sad he could knock them out for about $2.00 each.
    Thought that was including plating but I'm not sure.

    Likely brushed finish so not needing high polishing.
    Grinder/sander finish also would be fine.
    Electroless Ni requires no racking or electrodes, builds up evenly on all surfaces, you can also specify the hardness with electroless Ni-Phosphorus )"ENP" plating, in case a particularity wear-resistant coating is required. The high-phos can get up to 65RC. Electroless Ni is probably the most widely used engineering plating.

    Electroplated chrome will build up on corners, and will not plate on internal features (without special anodes). The chrome is likely more expensive, and probably the only reason to use if is the ultra-shiny "chrome" look is desired.

    To the OP, dunno why you'd plate handwheels/knobs (unless it's micromoter dials, etc, and those would be matte chrome), I'd just sand/buff/polish them, (most handwheels are cast iron with steel handles, and the steel polishes well). Also, some people have Ni skin allergies (not a big deal with casual contact, but using/wearing things against the skin for extended periods), and might come off if the plating is not done well, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard King View Post
    There used to be a place in MPLS where I took handles and parts too. They did plating and bluing of guns. They were super busy and cheap. I didn't go for few years, called them and the phone was disconnected. I heard later the PCA (pollution control agency) closed them because of the pollution in the ground.
    That is what kills every plating/coating shop.

    If your ok with more of an "industrial" finish I sent some stuff to Precise hard chrome in Waco,TX. The pretty much do hydraulic cylinders, I had blasted and sanded the parts myself, and told them I just wanted them done with one layer as I was ok with some of the imperfections in the surface as I just wanted them rust free. They came out nice and it was about $200. Nice full restoration plating costs tons of $$

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    I think there's a powder coat based option out there, too. It obviously won't be like the real thing, but it depends on your needs -- basic looks and corrosion resistance, or winning best-of-show.

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    I'm not aware of Wells-Index using Nickel plating on their hand wheels. Maybe on later modles. My old 645 had hard chrome on some of the hand wheels, most were bare metal and the non-shiny surfaces are painted.
    A machine tool rebuilder I used to deal with many moons ago, would take all of the hand wheels, steel knobs and handles off of a machine he would rebuild. Send them out for hard chrome and polish while the rest of the machine was being rebuilt. Also take the tailstock quill/spindle, grind it ten under and have it heavy hard chrome. Once the tail stock was realigned, line bored, they would take the spindle and grind the OD to fit the fresh bore. All that chrome sure look nice on a newly rebuilt machine! Ken

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    20 years ago I restored an antique wood cook stove that had originally been nickle plated, and decided to stick with that, to be more 'original'. Got it back and it looked really great, not as crystal bright as chrome, but more original. So, while I was still in the cleaning/painting stages on the rest of the stove I had the plated parts lying in the shop.

    One of our male cats apparently decided some of these parts needed to be marked with his spray. Turned that nickle plating into garbage in those areas. ARGH! I could have killed him.

    Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLinsch View Post
    20 years ago I restored an antique wood cook stove that had originally been nickle plated, and decided to stick with that, to be more 'original'. Got it back and it looked really great, not as crystal bright as chrome, but more original. So, while I was still in the cleaning/painting stages on the rest of the stove I had the plated parts lying in the shop.

    One of our male cats apparently decided some of these parts needed to be marked with his spray. Turned that nickle plating into garbage in those areas. ARGH! I could have killed him.

    Dan
    Heck, you should have rented that cat out to the shop for deplating before they worked it back up again. Another missed opportunity.

    Completely OT, but I just heard a story of a guy's ex father-in-law who had an aviary as a hobby and then a retirement business. He made good money selling white pigeons to the wedding venues to release as part of the ceremony. What the customers didn't know was that these were homing pigeons. The old guy could sell the same ones over and over. Wish I'd thought of that.

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