Information is provided for you in this section. Take a look around.
Guides to electroplating
What is electroplating? A guide for newcomers
Basics of electroplating
The processes of electroplating
Scattering in the galvanising process
Corrosion protection of the coatings
Galvanic chrome plating - DIY deluxe: Step by step to a perfect chrome finish!
How to electroplating nickel: Simple DIY Tutorial
Electroplating zinc yourself: A guide to an easy DIY project!
here you get to the complete blog
Questions & Answers
Enclosed are the most important questions about our products. We have divided them into "Electroplating", "Electroless / chemical Plating", "Burnishing", "Technical terms" and "Shipping & Payment". Scroll down to find your topic and click on the text to see the answer.
How can chrome be coated?
A chromium-plated surface does not provide sufficient adhesion for new coatings. Therefore, the existing chrome coating must be removed. Use chrome removers specially developed for this process. These remover solutions are particularly safe to use. For example, special additives prevent the formation of the highly toxic hexavalent chromium.
As a rule, there is a nickel layer under the old chrome layer. This must be reactivated with a specially developed activator for the new coating. To prevent a new oxide layer from forming, the workpiece is recoated immediately after the nickel layer has been reactivated.
Alternatively, there is also a gold strike that can be applied directly to chrome. These are based on the fact that the oxide layer is reduced in the process and gold is deposited at the same time.
The coating on stainless steel does not last
If the coating on stainless steel does not hold, the user has usually made a mistake in the pre-treatment. This is because contact with air forms a thin oxide layer that is mostly invisible to the human eye and protects the metal from chemical reactions.
For a durable coating, prepare the workpiece for the process with Nickel-Strike. Nickel-Strike is an electroplating activator that removes the oxide layer and the chromium contained in the alloy as far as possible and applies a base layer of nickel.
Alternatively, a Gold-Strike (Gold-Flash) is also possible.
Copper electrolyte alkaline/basic - Fields of application
If iron or acid-sensitive materials such as lead, zinc, copper or steel are to be electroplated, the use of "Copper plating solution alkaline" is a suitable preparation. For example, zinc would be dissolved in an acid electrolyte without pre-treatment with "Copper plating solution alkaline". To prevent this, the material-protecting alkaline electrolyte provides the acid-sensitive materials with an initial copper layer and prepares them for the final coating with "Glossy copper plating solution acidic".
Another positive effect is the excellent adhesive property of the layer created by "Copper plating solution alkaline" as well as the improved corrosion protection. The alkaline Copper plating solution from Dr. Galva is characterised by a particularly fine-grained deposition and is ductile.
The coating of a workpiece is normally done in several steps, whereby different layers are deposited on the surface of the object. Each of these layers has important properties for a professional result.
Depending on the material and the condition of the surface, pre-treatment is required. For example, acid-sensitive materials such as zinc require a layer applied with alkaline Copper plating solution before plating with acidic Copper electrolyte. Aluminium is pre-treated with aluminium activator and copper needs a thin layer of palladium before the electroless application of the nickel layer.
Practical structure of the layer sequence after pre-treatment:
- Glossy copper for a good levelling effect
- Nickel as diffusion barrier layer
- Gold, silver or chrome as a final layer
The last layer is normally applied only thinly.
Properties of the individual layers
Each of the applied layers offers certain properties that ultimately have a positive effect on the quality of the final result. Although copper plating is not mandatory for many materials, it leads to a better quality result.
Copper deposits quickly and provides a particularly smooth surface. It is also very easy to polish, which noticeably reduces polishing costs. Nickel increases the corrosion resistance of the entire coating. In subsequent chrome plating, it contributes significantly to the shine of the chrome layer.
The finish is the thinly applied last layer with the desired decorative or technical benefit.
What is Gold-Strike?
On objects made of stainless steel or also on chrome, it forms an adhesive gold layer, which can be provided with a thicker gold layer in the next step. Without this pre-treatment, the layer would not adhere firmly and could come off.
Gold-Strike is an important product for the pre-treatment, with which you create a first thin gold layer, which, however, cannot be applied very thickly due to high internal tensions. Following this step, you apply a thicker gold layer with normal Gold plating solutions.
What does Nickel-Strike do?
Nickel-Strike prepares steels and stainless steels for galvanisation. It is also known as nickel flash and is suitable for electroless plating and all galvanic processes.
Nickel-Strike etches the surface of the material and dissolves any chromium that may be present. During this process, a base layer of nickel is formed, which ensures better adhesion of the subsequent layers.
Another important application is the pre-treatment of already nickel-plated surfaces that have been exposed to air for a long time. In these cases, Nickel-Strike removes the existing oxide layer, which has a negative effect on the result.
Gilding - what do you have to consider?
In addition to a visually high-quality appearance, the gold-plating of objects offers other advantages such as corrosion protection or optimal bondability in the industrial sector. But gold-plating is also becoming increasingly common in the private sector.
With the Dr. Galva Speed Plating Gold plating solution you have an electrolyte for fast and high-quality gold plating. Within 10 to 30 seconds you produce an attractive gold layer on materials such as copper, nickel or silver at room temperature.
However, when gold-plating copper or silver, be sure to apply an intermediate layer of nickel to prevent the copper or silver from diffusing into the gold layer and creating unsightly discolouration. The nickel layer forms a permanent barrier between the two materials and is also a good preparatory measure for other materials.
How to coat aluminium?
As soon as uncoated aluminium comes into contact with oxygen, an oxidation process begins. However, this process hinders the coating. Therefore, workpieces made of aluminium always require pre-treatment with an aluminium activator. This removes the oxide layer and creates a zinc layer on the material surface in the same process. In this way, the activator prevents oxygen contact and protects against renewed oxidation. To reliably prevent subsequent blistering under the coating, we offer our customers an aluminium activator with low viscosity.
However, zinc is not acid-resistant. Therefore, in the next step, apply a layer of alkaline/basic copper and then a layer of acidic Copper plating solution. In this way, you create a stable foundation for possible further layers.
Depending on the aluminium alloy, it is necessary to etch the surface in the first step before you apply the zinc layer with the aluminium activator. The applied zinc layer is etched again and the treatment with the activator is repeated a second time.
How to coat tarnished nickel?
Tarnished nickel has been exposed to contact with oxygen for a long time. This causes oxides to form, which you can remove with our Nickel-Strike and at the same time build up a sustainable nickel layer. Subsequently, you carry out the desired coating.
Pre-treatment with Nickel-Strike is not necessary if the nickel layer was applied immediately before the subsequent coating.
What are the advantages of zinc-nickel?
Zinc-nickel offers significantly higher corrosion protection compared to pure zinc coating. The resistance of a workpiece coated with zinc-nickel against rust increases to 5 times that of a pure zinc coating. A small disadvantage, however, is the colour, which appears somewhat darker than that of pure zinc.
A zinc-nickel coating can also be chromated like a zinc coating.
Etching / pickling - why is it necessary?
This pre-treatment ensures that the coating bonds better with the base material. Impurities are removed in this form of pre-treatment just as disturbing oxides. Therefore, etching / pickling is an important step for activating the base metal and for professional preparation for further coating.
The surface of an object that is to be coated must be absolutely clean. Therefore, precise degreasing with specially developed agents that reliably remove resins, greases and oils is indispensable. Silicone oils and silicone greases are particularly stubborn and also require special cleaning agents. Alcohols are just as suitable for degreasing as commercially available special cleaners or electrolytic degreasing, which removes even micro-contaminants.
Caution: Never touch degreased workpieces with bare hands, but only with disposable gloves. Even skin grease has a negative effect on the coating result.
Electroless / chemical coating
Redox-Nickel - electroless / chemical nickel plating solution
The nickel plating solution Redox-Nickel was developed for the electroless deposition of nickel on workpieces made of iron and copper materials. The solution is heated to 50 - 90°C and the workpiece is placed in the immersion bath. A chemical reaction occurs in which nickel is deposited on the surface of the workpiece.
Nickel is too base for copper, which means that electroless plating is not possible. Therefore, workpieces made of copper materials require pre-treatment with the copper activator. The thin palladium layer applied in this process is catalytically active and thus enables the electroless deposition of nickel on copper.
Although electroless plating is much slower from a process engineering point of view than using a conventional nickel plating solution, it has proven to be a very practical process for a long time.
1 litre of Redox-Nickel is sufficient for a surface of 200cm² with a layer thickness of 10µm.
What do I have to consider with Redox-Nickel?
The Redox-Nickel contains a reducing agent which must be stored in the absence of air, otherwise it will slowly oxidise and lose its effect.
It is therefore important that the bottles are stored closed.
When coating, it is also advisable to cover the reaction tank so that as little air as possible gets into the solution.
Evaporation of the liquid can be topped up with demineralised water.
How fast does the Redox-Nickel reaction proceed?
The reaction of the Redox-Nickel depends on the temperature.
In general, one can say that a 10° higher temperature doubles the deposition rate.
However, the water then also evaporates more quickly, and the losses can be replenished with demineralised water.
Usual coating times are between 30 minutes and 4 hours (depending on the requirements of the layer).
Which vessels are suitable?
Suitable vessels are enamelled pots, glass bowls or also plastic containers (in a water bath).
Which surface can I coat with the copper activator?
With 1 l of the copper activator you can treat an area of approx. 20 dm². Please note, however, that the amount of liquid is sufficient, as the workpiece must be immersed in it.
Do they also have palladium activator?
The copper activator is palladium activator. We have only renamed the product so that it is easier to recognise the function.
Blackening / Black Oxide
Rapid burnishing - what does it do?
Quick burnishing is an immersion bath or brush process in which a dark-coloured protective layer is produced by the incorporation of oxygen into the material surface of a workpiece. To achieve this, it is sufficient to place the material in an immersion bath for a few seconds or to wet it with the burnishing agent Ultra-7, which is also suitable as a brush-on burnishing. Combined with a layer of oil or wax, a reliable corrosion protection is formed.
Dr Galva's quick burnishing is available in the product variants Ultra-5 and Ultra-7. Ultra-5 is suitable for hardened, alloyed and low-alloy steels. Ultra-7 gives materials made of brass, copper, bronze or tin an appropriate protective coating. Quick burnishing is not suitable for stainless steels.
Conditioner - why condition?
The conditioner is used to etch the metal in order to improve the properties of the burnishing. Advantages are seen in the adhesion and colouring of the final layer. Especially steels containing chrome show a visibly better result. In general, however, the burnishing works very well even without the conditioner.
What are the differences between the burnishing offered?
Actually, it is only the application method that is preferred. Ultra-3 is used for dip blackening and produces a very homogeneous fine-grained layer, Ultra-5 is suitable for dip and brush blackening, Ultra-7 is intended more for pure brush blackening. Differences still exist in the suitable steels, for normal steels Ultra-3 and Ultra-5, for higher alloyed steels then Ultra-7 is the most powerful, for higher alloyed steels e.g. Ultra-3 would be rather too weak. So you could also say that the higher the quality of the steel, the stronger the Black Oxide should be. All are suitable for normal steel.
The metal did not turn black but yellow and green, what am I doing wrong?
It is very likely that it is a higher alloyed metal, on which it only works to a limited extent. Or there were still greases or oxides on it, which can negatively influence the deposition and cause such discolourations. In such a case, the conditioner can help.
Blackening - why doesn't it work on stainless steel?
The black colour typical of black oxide is produced in hardened, alloyed and low-alloy steels with a chromium content of less than 5 % by the formation of noble rust as the iron atoms of the material oxidise and a layer of iron oxide about one micrometre thick forms.
With stainless steel, the addition of a wide variety of alloying elements such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum or manganese ensures reliable corrosion protection. As a result, it is not possible to produce the necessary rust. The result of blackening stainless steel would be an irregular and brittle iron oxide layer.
For this reason, the black oxidation process is used for stainless steel. To do this, you use special solutions that oxidise the nickel atoms contained in the stainless steel at a temperature of 130°C. The result is a reddish to deep black surface, depending on the composition of the alloy. The result, depending on the composition of the alloy, is a reddish to deep black coloured surface.
Alkaline and basic
Alkaline and basic mean the same thing. The colour scale for the pH value of a liquid medium ranges from 0 - 14 and is divided into the three ranges acidic, neutral and alkaline/basic.
- pH = 0 to 6 - acidic
- pH = 7 - neutral
- pH = 8 to 14 - alkaline/basic
Gloss is particularly important for decorative objects and is often equated with quality and high value. Gloss is formed by the finest possible crystalline deposition of the coating, which levels out unevenness and thus ensures a more even surface structure. Special brighteners are often used, as is the case with bright nickel, for example.
Allerdings wirkt sich hoher Glanz unter Umständen auf die physikalischen Eigenschaften wie beispielsweise die elektrische Leitfähigkeit oder die Lötfähigkeit aus. Daher muss immer abgewogen werden, welche Eigenschaften vorrangig gewünscht sind.
In der Regel erzielen Sie bei einer Beschichtung von matten Grundwerkstoffen maximal eine leicht glänzende Oberfläche. Ist eine hochglänzende Oberfläche gewünscht, bieten sich verschiedenste Polierverfahren an.
If a material is ductile, it means that it is deformable without the risk of cracking or other damage. A coating is ductile if it retains its protective and optical properties despite deformation. These ductile coatings include, for example, copper, special technical nickel or bright tin.
Good scattering of the metal ions is indispensable in electroplating to achieve an even coating. Because with poor scattering, only the area directly opposite the anode would be coated.
The cause of poor scattering is an anode that is too small. Therefore, the anode should always be large enough to cover the area of the object to be electroplated. Ideally, the ratio is 1:1.
The finer an electrolyte deposits, the better it levels and smoothes the fine irregularities of the workpiece surface.
"Free-Nickel" refers to a series of several products for the separation of nickel. The products were developed to meet the legal requirements that the products may be sold without an end-use declaration and without a trade certificate. This means that "Free-Nickel" nickel plating solutions can still be supplied to private customers today.
Shipping & Payment
How much are the shipping costs?
Here you will find the overview: Shipment
How long does it take to receive my parcel?
Our goal is to ship every package within 24 hours (except weekends and holidays). We achieve this 98% of the time. Nevertheless, in individual cases it can happen that it is delayed even further (for example if we get deliveries too late).
In general, you can expect the following package delivery times:
- Germany: 1-2 days
- Belgium: 1-2 days
- France: 2-3 days
- Italy: 3 days
- Luxembourg: 2-3 days
- Netherlands: 2-3 days
- Austria: 1-2 days
- Switzerland: 4-7 days
- Spain: 4-5 days
Attention with the shipping service "Goods post" - this is a cheaper shipping solution and can take up to 2 weeks in individual cases.
How can I pay?
You can complete your purchase with us using the following payment methods:
- Klarna Pay Later (purchase on account)
- Klarna Pay Now / SOFORT
- Klarna Slice It (payment in instalments)
- Credit card
- PayPal Express
- PayPal Payment by Instalments
- Invoice (for registered corporate customers, schools and public research/investigation institutions)
- Prepayment (by bank transfer)
The available payment methods may vary depending on the country of delivery, the technology used, the cookies selected or the contents of the shopping basket.
In which language are the articles delivered?
We prefer to deliver the articles in the respective language of the delivery country or the selected order language (this is adopted by the shop).
We are a school and are only allowed to buy on account, what can I do?
As a school, you can purchase from us as payment by invoice. We have generally enabled the "invoice" option for payment so that you can order directly via our shop. Alternatively, you can also order by mail.
We are a corporate client, a school or a public research/investigation institution, how can I register and pay by invoice?
You can register with us as a "private customer" and as a "corporate customer, school and public research/investigation institution".
Registration as a corporate customer, school and public research/investigation institution offers some advantages. These would be the purchase on account, as well as slightly cheaper purchase prices.
To register as a corporate client, school or public research/investigation institution, use the standard registration and send us a short email (for sole traders, please attach proof of trade), we will convert your account after checking. If further proof is required, we will contact you. After that you can benefit from the advantages.
Please understand that we cannot supply foreign sole proprietorships by invoice.