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I am going to do a set up for zinc replating some of the original Fasteners the '73 850 Mk I that I am working on. The owner, a friend and riding buddy has asked me to do a mechanical refresh on the Norton and during disassembly I have found that several of the bolts, studs and nuts are in need of either replacement or plating.
With buffed out parts, the "Z" plates, primary cover and other parts shiny and painted the old Fasteners will detract from the overall look.

My contention is that, for the sake of the Vintage-ness of the Vintage Norton, I would rather see the original bits redone rather than replace them with new cad plated bolts or stainless and not from an expense stand point rather originality.

Any of you folks done any replating..? Zinc or more complicated, cadmium...?

All right, more details and photos as I progress.

Best,
Rob


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I had access to an electroplating laboratory a while back, and redid a whole heap of bits in cad. (+ chrome + nickel + silver + gold, this place was nirvana)
This was dead simple - little more than a car battery and a piece of copper wire in a glass tub
- but having the cad cyanide stuff is 99% of this, when I enquired about obtaining some they just laughed.
The residue is HIGHLY toxic, which is where the regulations become understandable, folks eat those fish....
Having said that, a lot of aircraft stuff is mandated to be cad plated, so there are places that still do it. At a price.


The problem with zinc as I see it that it goes grey or blooms white as soon as it sees any moisture, and there is no hiding this effect.
Its tough to keep it looking silvery.
Perhaps someone else can comment on the Eastwood kits that do copycad ?

I'd also comment that I redid the Commando Lucas headlamp bucket, multiple heavy copper coats and grinding sessions to take out all the pitmarks,
and then the nickel chrome coats to make it like new. But this was about 10 hours work I'd guestimate (the equivalent of $500 ?) ,
where I just could have bought a replacement bucket for a fraction of that price...
Something to bear in mind ? - a lot of replacement stuff is about for Commandos these days...

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P.S. With care, and stainless steel wool and phosphoric acid, a lot of 'rusty' looking chrome can often be polished back to like new again.
Nortons in particular did quite heavy coats of chrome, so there is a lot to play with in polishing out any rust stains...

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Oiling or waxing the chrome once done will also assist in keeping any further rust at bay.
The rusty wheel rims on my Commando looked like death, but a good polish brought them up like new.
A couple of pitmarks needed a little dab of silver paint, but these are only visible if you inspect very closely indeed..

Another trick with cleaning chrome is to rub it vigorously with aluminium foil.

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Check out the Caswell kits-https://www.caswellplating.com/
They have a large variety of plating kits and have an excellent reputation. Also look up caswell plating on youtube-several videos

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I'd say it depends a lot on the condition of the hardware. I really like using original hardware. A lot of it simply has a coating of dirt mixed with oil on it and can be cleaned up to look pretty respectable. I use a soft wire wheel mounted on my bench grinder to clean these up. Spray with brake cleaner when done and a little WD 40. Having the threads cleaned really makes everything go back together better. However, if they have rusted and have pits, there is not much you can do. Just replace with stainless.


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If the original bolts and nuts have any of their original cadmium plating, I would avoid using a wire wheel. It will just take off whatever is left. My Spitfire has mostly original hardware. The plating that is left is more than adequate considering I keep it in the garage and it only gets rained on once and awhile. I had an acid spill in my garage and a whole bunch of things turned rusty, including the hardware on the Spitfire, before I figured out what was going on. I took the hardware off a little at a time and, following the directions, soaked it in Evapo-Rust (It and similar treatments, i.e., Metal Rescue are available at Home Depot and Loews). Wiped the rust off, the marginal cadmium plating wasn't disturbed, and things were back to the status quo. If I left the Spitfire out in the rain for a week, I am sure everything would rust up again. But for the occasional ride in the rain or seasonal condensation, the remains of the original cadmium plating work fine. I do not believe that would be the case if I had wire wheeled the hardware.

Ed from NJ

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I do a version of the really simple approach that's kicking around online.

I've tried 3 different methods over the years (ZnCl/NH4Cl, ZnSO4/MgSO4 or the current approach).

Search up on google zinc plating at home and you'll get lots of versions of my current approach. Everything comes from the supermarket, although I buy the ZnSO4 from the hardware store (as a plant fertiliser supplement).

This is a good link
http://www.gmh-torana.com.au/forums/topic/67790-home-zinc-plating/

I use the recipe buried in in here. I replace cornsyrup with sugar, but much the same.
http://www.southsandia.com/forum/website/zincplating.html


My results are variable. Gives a nice dull finish which I guess is like Caswells 'copy-cad' but I've never seen that.

Cleaning the part is important (critical really). I use a rust remover (Metal prep from POR15 or CLR, wash and then HCl acid etch). You might consider being wary of cad plated hardware as the old plating must be removed (in a HCl 'pickle' bath) and this likely makes a toxic solution containing cadmium which would be bad for the environment. You work out whether you think this is acceptable for your normal waste disposal stream.

I get a nice shiny Zn coating with a polish during the process (I may do this up to several times: plate, polish, plate, polish) or dull if left unpolished. I will often to a preliminary plating coat, dissolve this off with HCl and then do the final coat. Seems to help 'activate' the substrate.

What I like about this is a) I cant find a convenient Zn plater locally, b) I can do just one part if I want.

I find the finish may not necessarily be everybody's idea of show quality the way I do it (but that's not what I'm looking for), but very durable in use as a protective finish.


HTH

Ray

Last edited by BrizzoBrit; 01/22/19 10:56 pm. Reason: correction of spelling

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I had a go at replating various components while doing my recent Triumph refurbishment. I looked at many You Tube videos and read many different methods of doing zinc plating at home, reduced it all down to common ideas and then trimmed it down some more. This was an experiment in how basic a setup can be used and I am more than happy with the results.

The solution is simply white vinegar with 100grams per litre of Epsom salts and 110 grams per litre of white sugar.

The zinc comes from some carbon/zinc dry cell batteries.

The power supply is a 1000mA USB charger using the red and black output wires.

I cleaned whatever small parts I wanted to plate and then removed any old Cad plating using sandpaper/ file/ wire wheel on a bench grinder. I then dipped them into some phosphoric acid (rust converter) and rinsed with water.

After 10 minutes or so of plating I lightly cleaned them up with a brass wire brush and gave them a second go. Then repeat the wire brushing, rinse in water and they're done.

Cleanliness is vital as greasy fingerprints will not plate.



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I've done home zinc plating for years, including all the hardware and many other parts on this Triumph Daytona restoration.

Be careful learning from YouTube. There is more lousy advice on plating there than good. Most of the YouTubers have no clue as to the coating thickness they are getting, and thickness is important to durability. Also, for best performance, the zinc itself needs to be protected from oxidation. If you don't have a knack for chemistry, you'll get the best results from a kit from Caswell or equivalent.

http://bullfire.net/Triumph/Triumph15/Triumph15.html

Ed

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Originally Posted by ed_h
Also, for best performance, the zinc itself needs to be protected from oxidation.


Yes, but the $64,000,000 question here is HOW "the zinc itself needs to be protected from oxidation" ???
Cad plate over it, perhaps..... ?

Zinc usually IS the cathodic protection for galvanic corrosion, so protecting it seems like a bit of an oxymoron ?

Nice bike, btw, makes you realise how insignificant the Fasteners actually are.
They could just as easily be stainless.... ?




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Originally Posted by Rohan
Originally Posted by ed_h
Also, for best performance, the zinc itself needs to be protected from oxidation.


Yes, but the $64,000,000 question here is HOW "the zinc itself needs to be protected from oxidation" ???
Cad plate over it, perhaps..... ?

Zinc usually IS the cathodic protection for galvanic corrosion, so protecting it seems like a bit of an oxymoron ?

Nice bike, btw, makes you realise how insignificant the Fasteners actually are.
They could just as easily be stainless.... ?


Well, I don't think cadmium over zinc would make much sense. The zinc undercoat wouldn't add anything to a cadmium plate.

Normally, zinc is protected (or "passivated") with a chromate treatment. Chromate can be clear or slightly blue, but most commonly, it's that sort of an iridescent yellow color. I used mostly clear on the bike, but the article shows some yellow.

Thanks for the comment on the bike.



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I have had many bolts zinc plated here in omaha. I also prefer to keep the correct headstamps. I like the look but it does come out a touch shinier than real cad


Rich
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Are we sure the original plating on these bikes was cadmium? "Cad plated" has become sort of a generic term that includes zinc plating. The more recent the part, the more likely the "cad" is actually chromated zinc.

Ed



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Parts suppliers generally say if their product is cad or zinc.
I'm not so sure chromated zinc in Fasteners is such a common product even today ?

What specific product did you use to clear chromate your zinc Fasteners.
And how was it applied, if we may ask ?

I bought some itty bitty grease nipples, and they came as yellow zinc.
I was a bit disappointed with these, they look soooo wrong.
Even on more recent bikes...

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Yes, I think parts suppliers do give accurate information as to the plated metal. It's more the lay public that sometimes calls parts "cad plated" when they may actually be zinc plated. I've run across people who think if a part has that yellowish iridescent color that it is cad.

In typical hardware store Fasteners, Grade 8 parts are often the yellowish color of chromate. For lower grades, I'm not sure, but some seem to have that slight bluish tinge.

Compared to plating, the chromate passivation is dirt simple. You just dunk freshly plated parts in the appropriate chromate solution. Yellow chromate is very fast--less than 10 seconds. Clear/blue is more leisurely--maybe 20-30 seconds. My clear chromate came from Caswell, but I make the yellow bath myself. The yellow is called the Cronak process.

It's easy to show the chromate protects the zinc. If I have to remove bare zinc plate, I dunk the part in 20% HCl and the fizzing starts immediately. All the zinc is gone in a minute or two. A chromated part will last maybe 10 minutes before it even starts fizzing.



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Originally Posted by ed_h

It's easy to show the chromate protects the zinc. If I have to remove bare zinc plate, I dunk the part in 20% HCl and the fizzing starts immediately. All the zinc is gone in a minute or two. A chromated part will last maybe 10 minutes before it even starts fizzing.


Sounds like a fair test.
Although maybe it takes the 10 minutes to 'wash off' ?!

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Thanks all, sorry for getting back so late, long story.

All good information. I too agree that the original markings on bolts are the important thing hence wanting to restore the existing hardware.

Thinking that the zinc is what is what I will try heeding the oxidation prevention. I am actually torn because I really dig stainless Fasteners however, this is not my Norton.

ed_h,
'71 Daytona…? Olympic Flame....? Very nicely done sir.


Thanks again for all the input, appreciate that.

Best,
Rob






"They told me I was gonna have to work for a livin' but all I wanna do is Ride" - Jackson Browne

Current:
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I'd comment, from a fairly small sample admittedly, that the Commando Fasteners I bought in the little green globe bags that ultimately came from from AndoverNorton had the same markings on the heads as the originals.
I was quite impressed with this - although it was from a small sample.

I have not investigated how this would stack up if you bought a whole bikes worth.
And which would cost, obviously....

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Originally Posted by Robert Dentico

ed_h,
'71 Daytona…? Olympic Flame....? Very nicely done sir.


Yes, yes, and Thank you.

Ed



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I have the Caswell Copycad kit , it becomes a hobby in itself to get good results, from the size of glass beads , voltage , time , correct solution......, in the end I was happy with the results, but did not experiment with durability

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Any pics of the results ?

Some time back I did an electroplating course or 6, and put a few bikes worth of bolts through their cad tank. !
This was surprisingly quick and easy to do - but the lab did the disposing of the cad residue by the book, since this stuff is as toxic as hell,
and not to be trifled with....


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