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vegplot

Extending the life of rusty steel work

Having remade our shed door last weekend, the old latched door was literally off its hinges, I decided to see if I could do anything with revamping the door furniture. The latch bolt, while not very old, had already gone rusty and probably would have a shorter life than it deserved unless something was done to stop the rust. The old covering of protective zinc had almost gone and I didn't fancy painting it as it would mean a tin of expensive paint would end up being partly used and forgotten about.

I did a bit of research and thought why not have a go at zinc plating it and make it as good as new or better. I had the basic ingredients:

Hydrochloric acid (Spirit of Salts)
Caustic soda
A lump of zinc
A car battery charger

I made a solution of roughly 15% hdrochloric acid in a plastic tub and immersed the latch in it. After about 3/4 of a hour all the rust had been etched away and the latch was a nice shade sliver grey.

In another plastic tub I poured in a caustic soda soultion (about a tablespoon of caustic soda in a pint of water) enough to cover the latch completely. A length of copper wired was fixed to the latched which it turn was attached to the negative lead of the battery charger.

The zinc was similarly attached to the porstive lead of the charger and placed in the solution alongside the latched make sure neither were touching each other.

The plating process generates lots of gas bubbles and best done in a well ventilated area as the fumes aren't pleasant, the gases of which hygrogen is a component, are potentially explosive. After about half an hour I took out the latch and as you can see below there's a nice covering of zinc.

The latch is ready to be reused and time will tell whether the zinc plating is as good as I hope it will be.

Safety: The chemicals used can cause injury so make sure you take adequate precautions such as safety specs, rubbers gloves and
have plenty of fresh water around.


RichardW

Neat.
T.G

Dude Very Happy ... unfortunately, I'm sure Id scare myself half to death if I attempted to have a play at this... Id need a responsible adult holding my hand Rolling Eyes
toggle

The.Grange wrote:
Dude Very Happy ... unfortunately, I'm sure Id scare myself half to death if I attempted to have a play at this... Id need a responsible adult holding my hand Rolling Eyes


it's not that hard.

they had us doing similar in gcse chem

just very nice to see someone putting it all into practice
vegplot

The.Grange wrote:
Dude Very Happy ... unfortunately, I'm sure Id scare myself half to death if I attempted to have a play at this... Id need a responsible adult holding my hand Rolling Eyes


It's very straight forward and as it uses low voltage leccy, it's very safe unless you get do something silly with the chemics. What drove me to do it was seeing the stuff people routinely throw away that has a lot of life (and embodied energy) in it especially steel work.
T.G

toggle wrote:
The.Grange wrote:
Dude Very Happy ... unfortunately, I'm sure Id scare myself half to death if I attempted to have a play at this... Id need a responsible adult holding my hand Rolling Eyes


it's not that hard.

they had us doing similar in gcse chem

just very nice to see someone putting it all into practice


probably... but most people didnt have a father who owned an electrical contractors firm and taught us the danger of electic by saying come hold this wire for me for a minute .... oh how we laughed Rolling Eyes... dads eh! .oO0where was childline then!
12Bore

I remember similar fun with mates and a motorcycle HT lead Laughing
woody guthrie

That's a great thing to have a go at home and I am already thinking of things to plate. I just wouldn't tell my wife what I was doing as she tends to worry about strange smells/sparks/loud bangs/blood etc. coming from the shed.

I had a similar experience with my own father who is a mechanical "genius" and will try to mend anything that breaks down or recycle it into some other use. He once set fire to my trousers when helping him weld under a car and gave my mother an electric shock after she used an electric kettle he repaired rather than throw it out. Taught me everything I know especially that great old saying "don't throw that away it will come in handy one day". Which is the main reason I can't move in the shed for old engine parts/tools from a bygone age and odd offcuts of timber.
earthyvirgo

woody guthrie wrote:
That's a great thing to have a go at home and I am already thinking of things to plate. I just wouldn't tell my wife what I was doing as she tends to worry about strange smells/sparks/loud bangs/blood etc. coming from the shed.


If you do do it. Don't do it in the shed, unless it's very well ventilated, i.e. no roof!!

The fumes, even outside were very strong. Had me coughing and spluttering just walking past the spitting, fizzing bowl of stuff.

EV
dpack

hcl and caustic soda and metal solutions and hydrogen have a few hazards
good ppe and hns practice is better than a comedy death

electrochemistry stuff is fun but it has dangers ,i wont give details but it is possible to use some metal ,some acid ,the correct conditions and the correct type of electric energy to produce a metal azide ,if you mean to do that fair enough if it goes bang but if one wasnt expecting it one could get a very big surprise ,as might the neighbours

some of the solutions for plating /cleaning are rather hardcore ,metal salts are pretty toxic

be careful and have fun
vegplot

Azides can be nasty (used in air bags for explosive inflation) and don't link fingers when using potassium cyanide for your plating solution. It's one of the reasons I stuck to relatively harmless chemicals.
matt_hooks

Of course everyone has vats of HCL and chunks of zinc lying about the place! Wink

Actually the zinc isn't difficult to get hold of, but the conc HCL is more of a challenge in sensible amounts!
sean

matt_hooks wrote:


Actually the zinc isn't difficult to get hold of, but the conc HCL is more of a challenge in sensible amounts!


Hardware stores sell it, or at least our local one does.
Nick

Anyone got a recipe for doing the same, but with Chrome? Now, there's money in that...
vegplot

Nick wrote:
Anyone got a recipe for doing the same, but with Chrome? Now, there's money in that...


It's a very expensive business to run with high running costs and onerous waste disposal requirements. Pretty nasty chemical involved as well.
Nick

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Zinc-Mazak-casting-metal-/130420507641?pt=UK_Crafts_Other_Crafts_EH#ht_500wt_1154

For anyone searching for zinc. Struck me as cheap.
Hairyloon

Nick wrote:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Zinc-Mazak-casting-metal-/130420507641?pt=UK_Crafts_Other_Crafts_EH#ht_500wt_1154

For anyone searching for zinc. Struck me as cheap.

Is anyone here wanting to buy it?
Perhaps we could refrain from bidding against each other.
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