Got my kit! Realized I need a heater. Read some people use aquarium tank heaters. Can anyone point to heater they use and how does it work?
I use an aquarium heater but can't recall the brand. I also use a thermometer.
I am trying to find appropriate aquarium heater but so far only one comes close (size-wize) because of bucket size. Those sticks pretty tall when powerful.
Do you know how many watts your heater is? And how long does it take to bring solution up to temp? Or do you use something else to heat it and then use aquairum heater to maintain only?
I need a new heater but can't seem to find a decent one. Beware ordering a heater on Amazon because many of them are huge (I had to send two different ones back.)
Something in the 300W range is good, with a temp range of about 100F. Most aquarium heaters are lower temp than that. And many aquarium heaters are glass which is ripe for breakage.
Yes, I am still reading on it.. Many people use aquarium heaters but they go to 95F and solution need to be 110F I think.
I am thinking Sous Vide heater. Just not sure if they will survive in plating bath? It's all in one. Heater, circulator and precise temp control all in one.
Used to be expensive, now getting cheaper. I've see used ones locally for like $25. Use one for cooking - it does exactly what we need..
This is my solution for heating. Should work but don't know how "precise" it will be. With heater like this I expect inertia swings.
Digital relay switch 15A (there is cheaper ones, but I figured I might use it later for other things)
1000W heater is hot. That thing is 12" long too which will stick out above the fluid. Please provide a review of how it works out.
Back a few years ago Caswell's kits came with a thermostat unit and separate heaters. The heaters burned out but the thermostat still works. I bought a cheap 300W tea pot heater which is similar to yours only a good deal smaller. It worked okay, a bit slow to heat the bucket, but then it failed. I'm on the fence about what to buy next.
Been about 3 month - finally got to use my kit.
First of all - controller/heater combo works great. Heats up in about 15 minutes (to 120F) and then keeps in within 2 degrees. Long heater does not hurt plastic, I guess where it touches on top there is not much heat. I touched with fingers. Hot, but not melting. I used simple metal rod thingy to hold it against the wall.
My prep was degrease, than bead blast in cabinet.
Then - per caswell manual. Degrease, acid dip, plate, chromate dip.
1. Degreasing bath. I don't have second heater. So, what I did - I used my heater to get it up to about 180 and than put all pre-wired pieces in and closed lid loosely (used caswell provider bucket). I don't think it hurts to keep parts in there for 2hr (vs 5 min)
2. Per Nessism info - I dip in acid (mixed muriatic acid from HD 50/50 with distilled water) until bubbling stops. Probably 10-15 seconds, maybe more for some certain bolts.
3. Plating. I didn't calculate surface/amps. I went by looks. Circulator pump off. Increase amperage until I see slight bubbling from parts. Most batches were done between 1-2 amps according to my power supply. 17 minutes or so.
4. Chromate. About 5 seconds in it. I mixed about 2qt of it total, plenty for all the bolts/nuts.
2 things I might want to improve but not sure..
A. Brightness/polish. I guess with wire wheel prep it will be brighter. But it will be too much work. Currently pieces semi-bright. From that regard they look perfect to me.
B. Color. Color is nice, but not for KZ. Original screws I purchased were more green/blue vs yellow. This is real dilemma now as I don't want to wait for postage from caswell with different chromate. I might just dip for 2 seconds and get very slight yellow in next batches.
Overall - easy. I just set timer and go to garage every 17 minutes for minute or two. If you do all the prep then there is not much else to do.
Some more plating. Diluted chromate and started to rinse after chromate (didn't do it first time). But yesterday's batch started dull. Not sure why, but after adding half cap brightener and raising amps I started to get better results. On picture - before chromate - this is best I had yesterday. All shiny straight of plating bath.
Slow process, but it works. For some reason my "guess" on surface area were far from what I found in Caswell XLS table. I needed about 2.5A for those shiny bolts to plate. My guess was 1A but wrong.
You can see different shades of bling on those head nuts while I was adjusting with amps, etc.
1. I don't do acid dip (short) before chromate. Do you guys do it and is there difference? (manual says to do it)
2. How often do you add brightener?
3. Amps. How do you manage those? By looking at parts bubbling? Or calculate with formula(pain)?
4. Chromate. I noticed if it's dry but not for long, it comes off with my fingers from shiny parts. Does it have to dry for long? Or it's issue with process?
To be honest, I struggle with the brightness of my plated parts at times. When the electrolyte is new the parts come out much brighter, and when adding brightener I use maybe 1 oz. at a time. I'm not sure why the dullness sets in but if the parts are particularly dull I use a dremel with a stainless wire wheel of some time and give the parts a little buff job. That brings up the shine to an acceptable level.