How Do I Control the Thickness of Electroplate?

When you are using an electroplating process to coat one of your metal auto parts, it is important to know how to control the thickness of the electroplate you are adhering to the part. The thickness of a coated electroplate has everything to do with timing. Once you place your item into a container full of electrolyte solution, how long it is left in the solution will determine the thickness of the new plate. There are no preset times for leaving a part in the plating bath which is why it is important to practice this process and develop a good amount of experience in it.

In order to get a good sense of how long a part should be submerged in electrolyte solution to achieve a desired thickness, first practice on pieces of scrap metal. Larger pieces will take longer to plate than small objects, but should typically never take longer than about 30 minutes. As a reference, an average bolt will take between three and four minutes to achieve sufficient plate buildup. If the part comes out of the plating bath looking rough or crusty, it has been over-plated. To remove the plating from the object and start the process over, reverse the polarity of the battery and see the plating slowly chip away. The key is to practice electroplating multiple times, so it is always a good idea to keep pieces of scrap metal around your workspace to practice on.

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