More DIY zinc electroplating. I have a Pre-A style oil breather that uses a spring to connect the breather to the engine block. The spring was lightly coated with oil when I bought it so I knew it was raw spring steel, and over time it has developed some flash rust.
This time instead of a vinegar pre-soak I dipped it in muriatic acid – it was cleaned and etched in a matter of minutes instead of days. Neutralized with clean water, then used the same cell phone charger, zinc/vinegar/salt electrolyte, and zinc ingot bar to plate it. 20 minutes total, rotating every 5 minutes for even coating. Light polish with steel wool when done. Seems to be a easy way to refresh parts without having to send them off.
Plating process – negative side of charger connected to part that’s being plated, positive to the plating source (the zinc ingot). The bubbles are the zinc being attracted to the spring:
What the part looks like when plating is done. It’s dark b/c it’s wet; if it were to dry it would be lighter with a flat matte finish.
And after a light polishing with steel wool. It doesn’t take much….it’s more like a few passes of wiping it with the wool.
I also made some nickel and copper electrolytes, but have yet to try and plate anything with them. I’ve toyed with the idea of re-plating my copper Hurst shifter, but I’d hate to screw it up. I’m on the hunt for a cheap broken one to try it out on.