Here we answer the most frequently asked plating questions. If you have a question that has not been answered below, please get in touch and we will add it to our list.
Is plating expensive?
Plating is inexpensive to do but the costs vary depending on the price of the metals you wish to plate with. For example, plating something the size of an iPhone with enough gold to be hard-wearing costs £8 - £10 worth of actual gold. However, plating the same sized item in nickel or copper costs pennies.
Is plating difficult?
Plating is surprisingly easy to do and to make it even easier, our kits contain a tutorial which should get you up and running within 30-40 minutes of setting up your kit. As well as this, we provide unrivalled technical support via phone or email at no extra cost.
Is plating hazardous?
It is easy to be safe around the chemicals used but best practice is advised. Good ventilation is always recommended when working with chemicals and you must wear appropriate PPE (see product pages for more information). We will also provide full Safety Data Sheets with your purchase. Providing you follow the instructions given and keep the chemicals out of reach of children and pets, they can be used safely.
Can plating be done at home?
All of our kits can be used in the home environment safely. Some kits require very little workspace and are lightweight.
Some of our larger kits such as those in the G.S.P Prodigy Range, will require more space - we recommend a dedicated room/workspace such as a home garage.
Can I set up a business using your plating kits?
We have many clients that use our kits to run successful plating services, and we have received great feedback on the quality of the equipment and plating solutions. We have worked alongside many of these clients via our 5 Point Support Package, offering technical advice whenever it has been needed.
Running a plating service is a fantastic way to generate income from home, as customers can send items to you for electroplating that they would like customised in numerous precious metal finishes.
Some of our clients use our kits to create unique plated gift items which they sell on marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon and on their own websites.
When it comes to making money from plating, we recommend choosing a kit from our G.S.P Prodigy Range or G.S.P Recruit Range as these kits allow for plating multiple items in one go, plating larger items, and items of a greater variety of metals/materials.
We do not advise using our budget kits such as those in the G.S.P Portal Range for business endeavours as these are geared more towards private use/home projects.
If you are looking to only plate rings as your business model, the kits in the G.S.P Troy Range will be suitable.
Please note: for jewellery larger than rings see the G.S.P Prodigy/G.S.P Recruit kits.
Which kit do I need?
We have lots of options and the kit that is best for you will be largely determined by the things that you wish to plate, their size and their composition. We have written an article to help you decide: How to Choose a Plating Kit.
Can I plate any surface using your plating kits?
Yes, pretty much.
We have kits suited to many different applications. Some of the kits are designed for electroplating ( plating onto metal surfaces) only. These substrates include brass, steel, nickel, iron, and zinc to name a few.
We also have kits for plating onto more unusual surfaces such as plastic, wood, ceramics, 3D prints, or organic material such as flowers or leaves. These kits allow you to be incredibly creative and produce some really stand-out items and products.
The process for plating on non-conductive surfaces such as plastic, is called electroforming and you can read about it here: Electroforming - A Brief Guide
Choose the best kit for you: How to Choose a Plating Kit
What is the difference between electroplating and electroforming?
Electroforming is the process of turning a non-conductive surface into a metal surface which can then be electroplated in whatever finish you choose. Electroplating only happens on metal surfaces. For more details on how the two process differ, please see our article: Electroplating v Electroforming.
How long will plating last?
The longevity of plating depends on three things. Firstly, the thickness of deposit - items with a thicker plate will resist more wear than items plated with the same metal with a thinner finish.
Secondly, If items are subject to lots of abrasion and rubbing, e.g. items that are worn such as jewellery or items such as phones, the plating will show signs of wear and tear faster.
Thirdly, different metals have different rates of wear e.g. an item which is gold plated will not stand up to as much abrasion as the same item plated in nickel. This is because nickel ranks higher on the metal hardness scale than 24K gold.
Please note: our G.S.P 24K Gold Solution is cobalt hardened and is designed to be more hard-wearing.
What is the difference between 24K gold and 18K gold?
24K gold is pure gold whereas 18K gold is 75% gold and 25% other metals. The two solutions are designed for different applications and there is a slight colour difference in the deposited gold, 18K gold is a little paler in colour.
24K gold is used for most decorative gold plated finishes and is the most popular gold finish. 18K gold can be used to match existing gold colours in items that are being restored. The primary function of our G.S.P 18K Gold Solution is to act as a 'gold strike' which allows for the easy tank plating of steels.
What is gold strike?
‘Strike’ is a term applied to plating solutions that prime the surface of certain tricky substrates such as stainless steel, so that tank plating can happen more easily.
What is the difference between rhodium plating and white gold plating?
Rhodium is a white metal which is used to finish off rings and other jewellery that is made from white gold. It has a brilliant white hue and catches and reflects light extremely well. Rings that are said to be white gold are almost always plated in rhodium, hence their brilliant-white appearance.
White gold has an off-cream, almost yellow colour and when white gold rings are said to be ‘yellowing’, this is in fact due to the natural colour of the white gold showing through the brilliant-white rhodium plate which has worn away.
Can brush plating do everything that tank plating can?
No, there are certain surfaces that can only be tank plated such as non-conductive surfaces, aluminium, non stainless steels, and most zinc-based metals. However, it is certainly true that brush plating can give you just as good a finish as tank plating if all the prep work is done, and the metals that you are working with are suitable.
What is the shelf-life of the chemicals available on this site?
The only products that have a particularly limited shelf life are the G.S.P Gold Polish and the G.S.P Compound Polish, but even these are quite long lasting. Over the course of around 2 years, however, they will start to separate and will need replacing.
All other plating solutions and prep chemicals have a shelf-life of many years.
Can I buy chrome plating solutions for chrome plating from you?
Unfortunately, some of the chemicals involved in chrome plating have been identified by REACH as being potentially unsafe for unregulated users. This means that use is restricted, and for this reason, we are not permitted to sell and recommend use of these chemicals to our customers.
What about Substitute Chrome?
We strive to offer the best possible products to our customers and have decided against offering Substitute Chrome at the moment.
Our reasons for this include concerns over the durability of the finish and the fact that the solution breaks down quickly. This means that usage is time-limited - once a tank is filled with substitute chrome, it needs to be continually plated from otherwise the solution is wasted. For customers wishing to plate different items in the substitute chrome over a period of time, we do not feel that this represents good enough value for money.
An alternative to chrome plating to give a somewhat similar aesthetic is rhodium or platinum plating. Plating things such as car badges in rhodium or platinum produces a great finish and the solutions can be used over and over again giving more flexibility.
Whilst these solutions won't provide an exact replica, nor will they bring the blueish tinge that chrome will, you will get a crisp, white-tinged finish that looks great. Many of our customers that have initially enquired about chrome plating have been very happy with the results produced by using one of these metals in place of chrome.
Our G.S.P Platinum Plating Solution provides the most cost-effective alternative.
Can I reuse my chemicals?
Yes, all of our chemicals are designed for use over and over. If brush plating, work over a pot or catch-tray to retain as much run-off as possible so that it can be reused. This is true both for prep chemicals and for plating chemicals.
How should I store my chemicals?
Chemicals should be stored in a clean, dry, space which is out of the reach of children and pets. Do not expose your chemicals to strong sunlight or allow them to freeze.
Once I have purchased, what is the aftersales service?
We offer a comprehensive 5 Point Support Package to all customers spending £269.00 or above. This includes unlimited phone (UK only) and email support/technical advice. We are always happy to answer your questions and help you to achieve successful outcomes.