file Replating cast iron key stems

2 months 1 week ago #5173 by Dialman


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  • Replating cast iron key stems was created by Dialman
    Does anyone know the procedure for replating cast iron key stems, step by step, including prep, sources of supplies or anything else? Also any known "do's and don'ts". I'm quickly coming up with a list of don'ts. Please don't ignore me, I want to make this work.

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    2 months 1 week ago #5174 by Dick Witcher


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  • Replied by Dick Witcher on topic Replating cast iron key stems
    I haven't ever done these myself but have always let a professional do it. If the key arms are badly pitted you have to grind the pits out & sometimes even have them filled with copper which may require repeated coats. Each coat has to be sanded to see if it filled good. Then it has to be copper coated, polished & nickel coated. Every time I have them done they end up nickel plating the whole thing so you have to sand most off the back from the center shaft hole to the back as it usual binds in all of the guides. They also mess up the cups for the key checks by getting too close & making them to thin so they break when you squeeze the ring back on, or the nickel is so thick that you can't get the ring on. Then you have to sand (grind) off the nickel . It can be very frustrating & time consuming.
    Danny Shelby said to leave the old rings on & remove them afterward to replace. My plated would not do them with the ring on?
    Also when NCR did them they copper plated the whole arm but only nickel plated just the front. There was a guy in upstate NY that did them & had a nice set up where he had a long troth & a steel shaft above it with highs & lows like a crank shaft so as it turned the keys were only dipped for the front half. It worked great. Don't know if he is still in business? My platter dipped the whole arm because his tank was 4 foot deep & there was no way he was going to loose the 3 & 1/2' of solution for my arms. I used to do all of them but gave up. HBAC used to do them & Kenny did them. They may know more but that's the experience that I've had.
    The following user(s) said Thank You: Dialman

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    1 month 3 weeks ago #5208 by Vintagepos


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  • Replied by Vintagepos on topic Replating cast iron key stems
    I do not know all the steps but 2 things that are most important are 1) cleanliness at all stages and for nickel to adhere to steel has to be plated with copperfirst. Copper can be put on thick so it can fill rust pit holes then polished back to a smooth finish

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    1 month 3 weeks ago - 1 month 1 week ago #5211 by Dialman


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  • Replied by Dialman on topic Replating cast iron key stems
    First I'd like to thank you for the input. What I know so far is that cleanliness is upmost important. The problem is getting anything to plate to cast iron in the first place. It is much worst than SSteel. Copper will actually plate on the cast iron without any electrical current and it's called immersion plating. It doesn't adhere well and can be wiped off. Applying current doesn't help. Industrial people use copper cyanide to plate carbon steels like cast iron. EPA has concerns with it and it forms deadly hydrogen cyanide gas if exposed to acids. Those of you from Calif. will recognize this as the gas that we used for executions, so caution is warranted. Hobbyists use Wood's nickel (mixture of nickel chloride and hydrochloric acid) on SS to get a thin layer of nickel that can then be copper plated, polished and then nickel plated, but tricky to make work on cast iron. I haven't made it work yet. I believe that to make it work on cast iron you need to closely control chemical concentrations that change over time, temperature and contaminants. I plan to try copper cyanide. Although it's more dangerous, the process is more forgiving. It is the process that NCR used.

    I was a developmental scientist for forty five years so this is fun. However, I think I already know that its not going to be cost effective. We'll see!!!

    By the way Milton, can you still get cheap watch glass? I'd like to get about 100 19mm X 1.5 or 2mm.

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    2 weeks 2 days ago #5321 by Vintagepos


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  • Replied by Vintagepos on topic Replating cast iron key stems
    Looking for cheap watch glass? Find a watchmaker spare part supplier and ask or find one on the net they are more accommodating. Th e good thing about the glass is that it is normally scratch proof .

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