REVIEW: Frost Electroplating Kit
Tech Tips – HOME PLATING KIT REVIEW 30 MONTHS ON(Barrie Braithwaite, Scootering Magazine, September 2014 issue)
Way back in December 2011, I got my grubby mitts on a home-plating kit from Frost Auto Restoration, the reason being that virtually every metal part on your scooter is either plated or painted.
From nickel to chrome, the finish is not purely cosmetic, it is there to prevent rust and keep everything in good working order, so being able to plate parts at home at your leisure can be quite handy.
Just to recap, I got the Common Plating Module, which is basic equipment needed to start plating. The kit contains a 10 litre tube, power supply, variable control unit, suspension rods, support clips, crocodile clips, dust mask and gloves. When you are armed with this you then decide what type of finish you require for the parts you intend to plate, the process is the same but the basic finish can vary from matt to a chrome-like shine.
When I initially used the kit it was to plate some parts on my Spanish Series 2 Lambretta ‘EI Tigre’ which was being built at the time and I opted for a cadmium zinc plating kit which contains five litres of cadmium zinc anodes, 10 litre tank, scouring powder, test kit and instructions.
Making the kit up literally consist of running some water into the plastic bucket (10 litre tank), pouring the salts in and waiting for them to dissolve. Mix the post plating passivate solutions with water in a separate bucket to dunk the plated parts in for 10-20 seconds, and that’s it!
The anodes are plates which are suspended into the bucket (tank) from the support rod connected to positive (+) supply and then the part to be plated is suspended from the negative (-) supply. It really is a piece of cake to plate stuff, the only thing which experience of using the kit might bring is working out how long to leave parts plating. The longer the part is left in the tank the thicker the build-up of plating, so moving parts such as a Lambretta gear swivel might be tight if left to plate for too long.
Speaking of a gear swivel, the finish on mine, as well as the clutch arm, is still as good as when I first plated them after more than two years of English weather and a good helping of rock salt thrown at them.
I have also recently been using the Super Bright plating kit which is described by Frost as giving a chrome-like finish.
The parts I have used it on have all been of a rough finish such as Lambretta brake arms, fork links, etc. Obviously a chrome lated part is highly polished prior to plating to give a smooth surface, so a back to back comparison of a chrome plated part and the finish of the Super Bright kit wouldn’t really be fair. However, it is definitely shiny and looks good so I am more than happy with it.
It is also worth pointing out that when the plating solution is mixed it can be used over and over until it runs out, it is not just a one shot mix and it can be stored ready to use for as long as it is kept in an airtight container. The only thing to have needed to be replaced in the intervening two years is the crocodile clips used to suspend the anodes and the parts to be plated. They need to conduct the power supply from the support rods but for some reason, and to be honest that reason is probably because I didn’t clean them properly before putting them away, they stopped conducting.
Overall the kit has done exactly what it says on the tin and comes highly recommended from us here at Scootering. In terms of value for money it will certainly pay for itself, may be not immediately, unless you are plating a lot of items all at once, but definitely over time. It is may be worth looking into buying a kit between club members to spread the cost so that everyone can get some use out of it.
The Common Plating Module, which is required for all plating types costs £52. The Cadmium Zinc Plating Module gives a hard wearing finish and costs £67.91. The Super Bright Chrome Like Plating Module is probably the one to go for in terms of cost and cosmetic value (it contains Super Bright anodes, 1-Super Bright salts, trivalent passivate, Super Bright CC57 Brightener, a 10 litre tank, scouring powder, test kit and instructions) and cost £61.50 for the five litre version. See www.frost.co.uk for the full range of products.