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EXECUTION Electroplating and GOLD!

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by jpanarra, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey JP here,


    I know most of you haven’t read my progress thread here. For the ones that have, I’m going to start my research/breakdown of the electroplating business idea I have for myself . Electroplating needs alot of upfront costs to set up the plating process. I’m not worried sharing the informaton on here because electroplating is not a easy task if you dont understand the science of it. I am a certified electroplater/chemist this is something i do for my career path, now maybe i can apply it to my fastlane ideas.


    I’m going to break down the minimum I need to spend on to start it up.


    First for the electricity supply, I will need a 30 Amp/ 20 Volt plating recitifier that has varible controls. That’s going to run me about $200 on ebay. Not terrible but still a cost. This will be used across the different metals so I know I need this.


    The containers I can use will be polypro or glass for the time being. I’m not too worried about it, I’ll probably pick it up from the food store that’ll run me $100 at most.


    Now for the chemicals, I will need cleaners and ‘activators’ . Little electroplating 101 for ya if you’re interested, if the product is coming out poorly, 99% of the time its not cleaned well enough. So to save on operating costs… I’ll make sure my process is effective in cleaning!


    Ultrasonic cleaner- Will vibrate metal parts at a very high frequency effectively removing all types of dirt and stuff. ($69)


    Caustic Cleaners are solid, so I’ll use 75g/L of lye and water, thats dirt cheap to remove oils and grease on the metal. ($15)


    Electrocleaner - I’ll make this up with a compound I know that will work well, this will run me around ($50) I will be using the rectifier that I use to plate the metal later on with this, but the current will be inverted so all of the current will be pushing out of the part effectively cleaning it.


    Water needs to be clean as hell so I’ll have to purchase a lot of distilled water but nothing crazy, prob 20 Gal or so for a month. ($20)


    Bright Acid Activator - Blend of acids to brighten the metal and make it more ‘active’ so the electroplating solution can have high adhesive qualities. (mixutre of nitric, sulfuric, and hydroloric in water) - this blend with enough water will be fumeless and can be done safely but must be held in a glass ‘tank/container’ ($150) for the chemicals but they will last over an year.


    Woods Nickel Strike - An universal base layer to plate a good number of different types of metal ($100)


    Metal Plating Solution - I’m thinking about going for the Gold plating solution, due to the metal itself being inert and safe to work with. Also a lot of people tend to be hesitant because it's the more expensive compared to other plating solutions and they are afraid of contamination and ‘killing’ the bath. With my training and expertise I’m not too concerned about this. Gold will cost me about $3.00 per sq inch if done properly. I know how to make my own plating solution, but I can’t do so in my garage safely and without a laboratory license. When I can afford to move into a new facility that can handle wastewater then I can start thinking about that. Depending on which metal but focusing on gold the cost will be 800$.


    This comes together to be a total of $1500, which isn’t insane for a start up cost. Now I need to justify the profitability of this process. I did the math so it’ll be around 3$ per square inch of gold plated on something. For a good example a wedding ring is around .5 sqin, so for me to plate on top of a wedding ring it’ll cost me a 1.50. I’m not exactly sure what to charge for it yet but that seems promising because it’ll take me less than 5 minutes to plate a wedding ring in gold.


    I wanted to see the demand for local metal plating services. So i jumped over to google and used their keyword tool to look for the # of searches in my area which is Indianapolis. Gold plating service is searched at around 1-10k per month so it's definitely searched for around here. I’m confident I can get to the top, I’m not going to purchase everything just yet.


    Here’s my plan of action, I’m going to build a brand and website selling the gold plating service in indianapolis. I’ll have everything up and running and see if any people reach out to me. I’ll politely decline if i have any service requests and say that we are ‘booked’ or something of the sort until i get all the equipment in house.


    Like always, I’m open to feedback! Looking forward to this project of mine.
     
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  2. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Gold plating could be of interest to people in the promotional products field and also jewelers who might be interested in having 925 sterling silver items plated or re-plated.

    Most of the gold plated products coming out of China have such thin plating that it rubs off with only a little use. I think your quality could benefit in the marketplace simply from being superior.

    Also, a lot of what is described as gold plating is actually brass plating. The consumer must take some blame for that, because market surveys have found that most women prefer the "gold" jewelry that is actually brass plated, because it looks more "gold". In other words, it is shinier.

    Walter
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  3. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Ironically Brass plating is a much more difficult process than gold due to it being an alloy and the ratios in the bath have very little wiggle room in terms of the concentrations of metals and additives. It's an cheaper alternative only because of the price of the commodity.

    I've already done a good number of research in terms of starting up. I've reached out to my network in the area that I know that blends solutions and creates automated lines.

    Due to the cost of automation here is well in the million dollar range in terms of investment, the business will be underwater right out of the gate by several hundred thousand dollars. If I go with this route I will need to find an investor that's willing to put a majority of their money on this.

    Now, for a smaller scale I think I might have a better chance with brush plating rather than using the bath to get out of the gates. I've already shared my break down and got some of the materials in my garage. Its only a matter of time before I get bites. I'm starting to offer free services to local small auto shops for gold plating to get my name out there. @Walter Hay I'll try to reach out to smaller jewlers as well, I'm thinking about targeting people on esty. Maybe they'll be interested in mailing me their metal jewelry to be finished up in gold driving up the value of the product.

    The interesting thing is the competition via local and nationwide the web is at a very low bar of entry. Most of the webpages are not designed for mobile and cleaned up nicely and they're not SEO optimized as well. That's an advantage for me that I definitively can take ahold of on the web.
     
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  4. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    @jpanarra I had a look at a website that offers such a service and you are right - it is very poorly laid out and the operators can't have looked at the site themselves.

    Their Automotive Plating page is a jumbled mess that would turn off most readers. If that is any indication of the standard you are up against, you should have an easy run.

    Walter
     
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  5. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Started plating at home, I Got the solution and it works incredible! I’ve started to offer custom plating to people to get my word out there and to make sure I get enough practice with the brush plating. (I’m much more experienced in bath plating and mass production).

    Speaking of mass production, I came up with an idea. That can be an extension of this business and at the same time be much more. I’m considering building a website similar to customink.com but for plaques and medals. If people are able to easily implement their images upon medals and chose their colors with a online studio. They could be finished very nicely and mailed out.

    I could start with offering ‘gold medals’ with a tabletop CNC and electroplating system for myself. This might be a goal in the long run .

    Too many times I’ve jumped into ideas and spent on equipment without a clear plan in hand. I spent the minimum possible for electroplating and I need to push for breaking even first prior to spending on more equipment to ensure this path is sustainable..
     
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  6. Ruda666
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    Ruda666 New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks for the write up.

    I'm also a chemist with metal finishing experience so I might want to try this too.

    What size of parts are you able to plate now?
    How are you going to dispose of spent chemicals in your garage?
    Would you be able to do gold-filled? I think it's a really heavy gold plate that lasts a long time.

    I visited a finishing shop and they gave away gold, brass, and maybe copper golf balls, which I thought was kind of cool. So maybe it would be a good idea to have an online shop also with one-of-a-kind plated or mass produced items like golf tees, iphone buds, live ammunition cases, ak magazines, silverware, or any novelty item people would want shiny. Except I just looked and you can find most of those items online already.

    What kind of car parts would you finish? I can't think of anything people would want to plate in gold, chrome is more common.
     
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  7. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey there fellow chemist!!

    I haven't sold anything yet, I'm more focused on brush plating and really the size isn't a limiting factor due to this approach is not limited to the confines of a plating bath. As for gold filled, that makes things much more complicated so I'm not considering that approach just yet.

    It won't make sense to scale until later. I've done a few high end car emblems by stripping the chrome off and adding a nickel strike then a bright gold finish. Like Mercedes Benz, I put them up on eBay and they sold rather quick.

    I have connections to a local hazardous waste center and I bring them the solutions that are deemed 'hazardrous'. But my acids and bases I just neutralize them with each other and check the pH prior to putting them into the drain.
    I was thinking about doing a e-store myself, but the same time im doing a good amount of work in many directions.

    First I'm focused on making my own 'custom plating' webpage and drawing local traffic.
     
  8. smark
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    smark Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    As someone who has done a lot of research on gold (electro)plating, I would say posting a few articles on your website explaining the whole process and its advantages to non-specialists can go a long way into attracting potential customers.

    The business idea I'm currently working on has to do with the jewelry/accessories/wearables niche(s) and learning about this stuff all by myself was a huge pain in the a$$. I knew what I wanted to create and I had the designs, but I was unaware of what metals to use, what type of plating would be more durable, etc.
     
  9. Ruda666
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    Ruda666 New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    What kind of CNC machine would you get?

    I need some gold-plated mountain plaques. Like a gold medal but in a different shape. Can you do those? about 2"x2"x1/8"
     
  10. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I don't have a CNC just yet, but If i were to get one. I would get something that has a router strong enough to carve stainless steel. At the same time I probably will get something small enough that I can fit on top of a desktop or workbench.

    I have some friends in the CNC milling industry that can cut for me if necessary, and probably will listen to their advice when it comes to purchasing a CNC. All I hear from them is get the 'shopbot' which is a well known brand and their price tag represents that as well. So i've been looking at some DIY builds off of Ebay but I haven't seen anything promising enough to drop $$ on it.

    As for plating gold on your engraved plate, definitely yeah.
     
  11. jpanarra
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    jpanarra Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    JP here, (I'll be x-posting this in rant thread)

    I've had an interesting turn of events regarding this, I've been really occupied with web projects.

    I've been busy working on this business and trying to move it forward reaching out into my network that I'm trying to establish this service by contacting different vendors and stuff. No clients but people are responding positively, and offering help on to build this from the ground up.

    Now, because this has gotten out into the grapevine individuals in the industry have contacted me for employment opportunities in terms of upper management. A few I've already turned down due to the moving aspect. However, I have one place that appealed to me and it’s a electroplating manufacturing plant manager position.

    I've gone ahead and chatted with them on the phone and email now I've gotten the interview set up and they were happy with my qualifications and experience regarding electroplating. So naturally, being deaf I requested an interpreter for some accommodation due to the challenges I face in terms of communicating in large groups.

    Now, what starts from here is somewhat a controversial topic but I wanted to share this with you because as a rookie entrepreneur (even if I started a few years ago I still consider myself new in this).

    I get the stress and concern when it comes to hiring a disabled individual, but whatever you do. Don't refuse them on accommodation services thinking about expenses or challenges regarding their disability excluding when it comes to safety. If you’re concerned with the expenses of the accommodation, using a sign language interpreter and other tools I mentioned qualify for the Disabled Access Credit in the Tax Code. Here’s the tax form for Small Businesses if you want to review it.

    I also want to say this, I get the concern and where this employer's thoughts are. However, when I requested an interpreter I was pushed back with I should be able to communicate with no issue because I read lips very well. At the same time It is important that I should be capable of daily communications with them, my subordinates, and my management staff. For this reason, they are refusing to accommodate an interpreter to evaluate my communication ability without access to a toolset that would put me on an equal playing field. Like I said, I get it, they're concerned with my ability to do the work effectively and the job requires an individual that is effective and communicating and directing the work place.

    However, this is where I stand as a Deaf individual trying to advance in the modern world. I know that the world is not a fair place to be and there are certain obstacles that I have to face that others do not. The position I'm stuck in is the fact that It's an lose-lose situation, Without an interpreter the best case scenario would be I would miss what they say occasionally, but I still manage to communicate with everyone. Worst case would be they tend to mumble and speak in a weird pattern (I get used to it over time, but not at a first impression) and I lose the job because I don’t understand what they said. On the other hand, if I push for an interpreter they will just accept the fact that I cannot communicate without one and consider me unfit for the job without learning about different options such as phone video relay interpreting or live captioning(which I use at my current job in the mumble situation).

    Another thing is what they said was something that should not have been stated. There is an clause in the American Disabilities Act (ADA) where "An employer cannot refuse to hire you based on a slightly increased risk, speculation about future risk, or generalizations about your disability. The employer must also consider whether a risk can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level with a reasonable accommodation."

    It is made really clear in the law that an sign language interpreter is considered an reasonable accommodation during an employment interview, since the government will reimburse you for it in taxes. This is what I wanted to share with you guys because some of you employ people and be aware of accommodation needs, even the big companies fall short of this, ie.

    McDonald's pays up after manager refuses to interview deaf applicant

    Deaf Miami Costco Employee Wins $775,000 After Being Fired Because She Was "Too Loud"

    EEOC Sues Walmart Stores East for Disability Discrimination | JD Supra


    Now here is where I'm stuck, I have two options or a combination of the two.


    First scenario would be to push for an interpreter and be clear about my reasonable accommodation rights risk having the interview cancelled at this great opportunity. Then this could lead to a court lawsuit that earns me maybe a mere 50k or a massive payout but the reality is it might my career of six figure salaries and learning how to manage large facilities that will contribute to my Fastlane experience. Career will be hindered due to the burning of bridges of the network I've built trying to reach out into a small industry like electroplating.

    Another was to go and show up and try to do my best at the interview at a new environment and no chance to adjust to the new individuals whatsoever. The risk would be I don’t understand anyone and I just don't get the job but afterwards I would think about if I get the interpreter I could've made it clear that I don’t need services 24/7.

    So what I'm doing is proceeding to the interview without an interpreter and keeping in touch with a lawyer just in case more things develop. I thought I'll share this with you just in case you decide to hire someone that is disabled, make sure you make the necessary accommodations because they might be the most talented employee you'll get due to them appreciating your patience with them and you'll get reimbursed for it in the end.
     

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