Saturday, 31 December 2011

Want a shiny nickel plate finish?

Stage One

Ammonium Sulphate, 410g
Ammonium Chloride, 90g
Nickel Chloride Hydrate, 490g
Cobalt Chloride Hydrate, 10g.

That should be 1kg of powder. Grind it together with a large pestle and mortar. Don't worry, it's not going to blow your face off. We're not making bombs here. Take all sensible precautions though - you know what chemical shit can be like if you get it in the wrong place.

This is your "Stock Powder". Store it in an airtight container.

Stage Two

Ammonium Sulphate, 34g
Ammonium Chloride, 5g
Nickel Chloride Hydrate, 40g
Cobalt Chloride Hydrate, 5g.

Dissolve this in 0.73 litres of 5N sulphuric acid (careful now, use safety wear) and make up to one litre with distilled water.

This is your "Stock Solution". Store it in a suitable bottle.

Now rest well. The preparation is done. You can move on to Stage Three any time you like.

Stage Three

To make one litre of "Working Solution", add 50ml of "Stock Solution" to 55g of "Stock Powder", dissolve in 660ml of distilled water, then make up to 1 litre with more distilled water.

Stage Four

Connect your piece of metalwork (perhaps copper or brass) to the negative terminal of a power source (croc clips are good for this). This is now your cathode. Connect another piece of electro-conductive material (any metal or carbon but preferably nickel) to the positive terminal of the power source. This is now your anode.

Maximum current should be 15A per square decimetre of the anode and cathode but that's a bit heavy (and a bit dangerous) for home use. You'll get good results for small items just using one of those big fuckoff torch batteries or similarly rated DC power supply.

Complete the circuit by dipping your anode and your cathode into the "Working Solution", making sure they don't touch. Leave for an unspecified while. Could be minutes. Could be hours, depending upon your power source. Swish 'em about a bit every now and then.

Remove, rinse with water then polish with... polish. Metal polish is good. Lo and behold - a wonderful and most durable nickel plating that looks almost like silver.

Whoops - sorry Mr Murdoch. I forgot that this formula was one of your expensive "industry secrets", the knowledge of which I acquired from my Dad just before you sacked him and his work fellows. Hey Ho. I guess we just don't understand the meaning of confidentiality anymore.

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