Silver and selective brush gold plating on zinc

Silver and selective gold brush plating a zinc model car

Thanks to our extensive R&D, brush plating on zinc and zinc based alloys such as Zamak and Mazak is no longer the challenge that it used to be. We have developed a process that involves plating straight onto zinc with a layer of our Alkaline Copper Brush Plating Solution and then using this as a base for subsequent layers of silver or gold.
Below is a step-by-step guide on silver and selective gold plating a zinc model of a mini.
For more guidance on this process, please click on the Video and Process Sequences tab in this tabbed panel.

Please note: The Rectifier shown in this project has now been discontinued.

1. What you'll need

Plating Solutions; Alkaline Copper Brush Plating Solution, gold for the selective gold plating, silver. Preparation/polishing solutions; MPU, MetaSeal. Equipment; a Platinum Electrode for the brush gold plating, a Silver Electrode for the silver brush plating and a Platinum or preferably, a Carbon Electrode for the copper plating, a Plating Pen, an artist’s brush, nail varnish and varnish remover.

 For help with setting up your brush plating equipment, please click HERE for a guide.

2. Surface preparation

Polish the zinc to a high shine on a polishing wheel and clean off all traces of polishing compound with MPU. After cleaning with MPU, go straight on with the next plated layer.

3. Alkaline Copper plating 4 volts

Alkaline Copper Brush Plating Solution can be optionally thickened with Thickener to ensure more solution stays on the swab.

4. Silver plating 2.5 - 3.5 volts

After building up a good layer of copper undercoat (at least 0.5 microns), you can go straight ahead with silver plating.

Silver Brush Plating using our Silver Brush Plating Solution

5. Selective gold plating

Carefully mask out the area you don’t wish to be plated with a strongly coloured nail varnish. Using an artist’s brush instead of the brush supplied with the nail varnish bottle will enable you to apply the varnish far more accurately. Allow to set in a warm dry place for at least 15 minutes before you start plating.

For more guidance on gold brush plating, please see our Introduction to Gold Brush Plating page.

6. Selective gold plating 3 - 5 volts

Use the plating pen to carefully apply the gelled gold plating solution.

7. Finishing

Remove the nail varnish with nail varnish remover and finish the surface with MetaSeal.

4 responses to “Silver and selective gold brush plating on a zinc model car”

    • It is best practice to plate a barrier layer of nickel, palladium or white bronze when gold plating on copper.
      Gold diffuses back into electroplated copper especially fast.

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