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I am a hobbyist trying to learn/apply a nickel electroplating process that I can safely do at my shop. My substrate is a machinable non-stainless steel with unknown carbon content, and I'm looking to do a close variation of the "Watts Bright nickel" formula. I have a 99.9% pure nickel anode, nickel acetate, nickel chloride, boric acid, sulfur powder, saccharin and coumadin powders.

The formula calls for nickel sulfate; is it possible to simply add the powdered Sulfur to the solution, or do I have to use a different process to synthesize the nickel sulfate? If so, can I do so with the materials that I have? Also, the Watts formula does not include the saccharin or coumarin, but I know that these chemical additives will increase the odds of a smooth mirror like finish.

Also, is there a recommended quantity range, or at least a starting point, for these two chemicals for this application? Any insights here from an experienced chemist/electroplater would be greatly appreciated.

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The formula calls for nickel sulfate; is it possible to simply add the powdered sulfur to the solution, or do I have to use a different process to synthesize the nickel sulfate?

This will not work. Sulfur ($\ce{S}$) and sulfate ($\ce{SO4^{2-}}$) are two pairs of shoes. The oxidation state is different and there is no way that sulfur powder will turn into sulfate during the electroplating.

If so, can I do so with the materials that I have?

It might be possible to heat another nickel salt in sulfuric acid, cool down and wait for the nickel sulfate to precipitate, but I wouldn't do it!

Given that the nickel salts are highly toxic, might cause cancer on inhalation and are harmful for aquatic organisms, I wouldn't mess around with crystallisation and the remaining solution for which you would have to find a safe way for disposal.

It might be much easier to aquire nickel sulfate and set up the bath for electroplating according to the given specifications.

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  • $\begingroup$ That is very helpful. Thanks. So, I was now looking at doing the Conventional Sulfamate method. How is Nickel Sulfamate different from Nickel Sulfate? And I am curious if this chemical is easier/safer, or more challenging/dangerous to synthesize. Also, can I do this synthesis with Nickel Acetate, Sulfur, and/or Nickel Sulfate? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Kantor Nov 18 '16 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ I just asked a similar question about the possibility of using NiMH as an anode for Nickel plating. Please help. $\endgroup$ – user148298 Nov 4 at 21:34

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