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Cadmium Plating Tips

September 27, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair

By Ron Scoma


Call it what you will, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Anal Retentive, being a craftsman, or just plain having no life; this is what I did to Cad plate stuff.

  1. Get a list of all items to be plated (thanks Maestro)
    Find the parts in the Bucket O' Stuff and count the items.
    Soak in orange cleaner to somewhat degrease, rinse.
    Soak in Carb Cleaner to really degrease, rinse.
    Soak in Muriatic acid to remove prior plating.
    DON'T let the acid come in contact with aluminum (tin foil) trays, I'm not sure why you shouldn't but the end results were very bad. You may not have a screaming S.O. shouting "where's the checkbook, I need to increase
    your life insurance ?" but still, even without that bonus, the effects were pretty bad. Neighbors in the unit next door were curious also...

    At this stage you have parts free of grease and oil.
    Blast with a 50/50 combination of 180 grit AO to even out the surface. (I used barrel blasting for the fasteners).
    Chase all threads.
    Blast with the equivalent of 280 grit glass to produce an even sheen for the Cad.
  2. Bring to plater. You have already identified a plater that;
  • will do Cadmium 1 or silver Cad, will do Cadmium for you, you can afford,
  • will not lose most of your parts.

To do a bucket (a gallon paint can or so) of fasteners (2 complete engines), 6 fuel lines, 3 crank pulleys, 3 generator pulleys, 2 generator cases, 4 valve covers, 3 dipsticks, etc., etc., etc., was $200 cash in the Chicago area. All-in-all,
not too bad for the upgrade in cosmetic appearance in my opinion. Add that to a little powder coating, a little epoxy coating (heater boxes and fan), a little VHT (muffler system) paint and you have a pretty nice looking engine. Do not plate heat treated (black) fasteners.

Final Tips:

Cadmium can be removed by muriatic acid (better to plate and remove, then not plate enough).Everything must be oil and grease free.Parts will be lost, have extras.Surface preparation is next to Godliness (repeat 10 times).

DON'T BLAST ANYTHING THAT WILL COME IN CONTACT WITH THE OIL SYSTEM

and BE NICE to the plater. You will forget to bring him that one bolt that will be out in the open necessitating a return trip. You don't want another minimum order charge...

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