THE NICKEL PLATED WORKSHOP
The stainless steel tank was welded up using a mig welder with stainless wire ($150 for 5kg of wire… ouch). I had some stainless steel leftovers from some benches which I made a few years ago. The stainless was cut with an angle grinder. That was easy with the correct blade in a 9″ grinder. Like cutting butter with a hot knife, well sort of…
The folds in the steel were 400mm long and the steel was 1.6mm thick. I wondered whether my 20 tonne press would manage. I made an anvil out of redgum and the blade from a lump of 45 x 45mm steel 450mm long. The hydraulic press managed to push the fold with some grunting from me. The wooden anvil did its job superbly, with not a mark or a dent. Redgum is amazing.
My MIG welding of stainless steel was very ordinary indeed. I was using gas for ordinary mild steel. And it is a while since i have done any welding. The last time I welded stainless I used TIG with the correct gas, and it was OK. But this was just a quick job and I did not want to spend on a TIG gas cylinder for this one job. So I just MIGged it and try not to look at the end result. I am not proud of it. Also I had to go back a few times to reweld areas which leaked. In the end I have a useable but not pretty tank 400x200x150mm which will hold 12 litres of electrolyte.
See the next slide show post of the electroplating setup.
My friend Phil who had done the zinc plating came around and together we followed the Jane instructions. Our first effort was not perfect. The plating was nice and shiny, but it was not even. See the lathe tool in the slide show. Reason? Amps too high? Temperature too high? Electroplating too long? Work not well enough prepared? All of the above??? Anyway, next time, I was scrupulous with the degreasing, held the temperature to 50-55c, kept the current below 2 amps, and the result was much better, although still not perfect. More pics later. A quick rub with Scotchbrite resulted in a lovely smooth silvery finish.
I cant wait to get back into the workshop.