(Topic ID: 107776)

Will polished brass plating on metal ramps hold up under normal play?


By Imeh

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Imeh
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    I'm interested in having a couple of metal ramps plated with polished brass (I guess) to get the "gold" look, but I'm concerned about the longevity of the plating on such a high use part like a ramp. Anyone have experience with this? Advice appreciated.

    #2 4 years ago

    I personally have never done this, but understand that brass is softer than the steel the ball is made out of, every time the ball contacts the brass on the ramp it is going to wear it away ever so slightly.

    #3 4 years ago

    Wire ramps seem to hold up well, are they protected with a clear coat or something?

    #4 4 years ago

    Habitrails are usually polished or chromed steel, being very near the hardness of the ball. I have no doubt brass plated ramps would look sharp, but at the high impact areas, and the track the ball rides on, it will eventually wear back down to the steel ramp/habitrail.

    #5 4 years ago

    Not sure but the rule of thumb is the harder of the metals will always wear away the softer.

    #6 4 years ago

    Unfortunately , I agree with all your comments so far. I do have "gold" habitrails on one machine, and after 10 years it has pitted a little in spots, but has not worn thru the plating. I thought maybe they had a clear coat or something that protected it from wear. I know brass by itself will wear rather quickly.

    #7 4 years ago

    if its wire habitrails the ball is only in contact with a very small part of the surface, the brass will wear away there, but you might not notice the fine line of chrome showing with all the untouched brass around it. you can plate yourself with copper literally for (with!) pennies if you want, search for a thread called "I want gold balls", I'd posted a very simple recipe how to.

    #8 4 years ago

    It will wear, but even the normal metal ramps wear over time. If you really want gold ramps, the trick is looking at options to prevent wear as long as possible. For this, you do have options. You can have them plated, then either have them clear coated or lay mylar on the ramp interior. Both of these options will eventually wear as well, but they will extend the life of your shiny gold ramps a lot longer.

    My 2 cents, good luck either way

    #9 4 years ago

    I did read the " gold balls" thread a while back. if I remember correctly, it wears off too. I guess I will go to a plater and see what they suggest. I may just have to regrain and give up the "bling" idea.

    #10 4 years ago

    I highly recommend this protect for brass, tumbled parts, etc.

    http://www.everbrite.net/

    Its self leveling, evaporative drying, and comes in a spray can too.

    No runs, issues, clean up with alcohol. gets pretty hard, and you can add layers.

    #11 4 years ago

    I gold plated my shadow wire form ramps then had them powdered with clear. They never tarnish and still look fantastic.

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from zizzlemeplease:

    if its wire habitrails the ball is only in contact with a very small part of the surface, the brass will wear away there, but you might not notice the fine line of chrome showing with all the untouched brass around it. you can plate yourself with copper literally for (with!) pennies if you want, search for a thread called "I want gold balls", I'd posted a very simple recipe how to.

    I had Mike brass plate my TOTAN habitrails and sword about 4 years ago, and they still look great. A flat ramp would look worse if it wore, however, since the ball touches a wide path on those.

    He said the skill shot would be a bad idea, but since then, I have seen other people who had it done. Anyone have experience with how it holds up? Any other options? Mine is still original, and it's a bit of an eyesore.

    #13 4 years ago
    Quoted from NinJaBooT:

    I gold plated my Shadow wire form ramps then had them powdered with clear. They never tarnish and still look fantastic.

    Powder coat seems to hold fairly well, I have a Blacked out HEP AFM with black habitrails and its holding up fine, so is the powder coat on WOZ's rails. Polished brass with clear powder coat may work, not sure.

    #14 4 years ago

    Stargate has gold colored ramps, and they seem to hold up well. I'm not sure how they did it.

    http://ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=2847&picno=11886

    #15 4 years ago

    Working with brass is tough... there are several ways that brass is put on a part. You can have heavy brass plating applied or "flash" plating (I use flash plating looks more like gold when done) The problem with brass is coating it with a clear. Getting a product that will stick over time, and not react with the brass or the base metals that are under the brass. (in the flash coating we do, the part is triple chrome plated (copper, nickle, chrome) then the brass is flashed on)

    Traditionally clear lacquer is used on brass, it works well but on a pinball machine dose not hold up to the ball rolling on it or the oil's etc that is on your hands. You can have them powder coated with clear, but will have to make sure the place that is coating them understands how to powder coat brass. Brass can "out gas" when in the coating oven and you can get little bubbles caught in the cleat coating, them have to put the parts in at a lower temp for a longer time to get it right, even then there is no guarantee that the part will not out gas.

    I worked with a plating shop for over a year, to come up with a way to get the "bright gold" look, that has a hard yet flexible clear coating that expands and contracts as the metal moves and holds up to the ball rolling over it. It also holds up to your hands resting on it, on the lock down bar for example.

    Brass looks great but is a pain to work with when coating, especially for the needs we have in pinball.

    #16 4 years ago

    Really wish we could find a good system, it would be great look on a few pins.

    #17 4 years ago

    hmm.. for flat ramps, maybe some brass shim stock trimmed to fit then quick epoxied in place? the thinner stuff cuts pretty easy with scissors, probably do perfect fitting if you have steady eyes and hands.

    #18 4 years ago
    Quoted from zizzlemeplease:

    hmm.. for flat ramps, maybe some brass shim stock trimmed to fit then quick epoxied in place? the thinner stuff cuts pretty easy with scissors, probably do perfect fitting if you have steady eyes and hands.

    That might be possible, but it I agree it would take some skillful fitting. Not sure its something I would take on myself though.

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from zizzlemeplease:

    hmm.. for flat ramps, maybe some brass shim stock trimmed to fit then quick epoxied in place? the thinner stuff cuts pretty easy with scissors, probably do perfect fitting if you have steady eyes and hands.

    That's an interesting idea. You can also buy gold leafing at craft stores. I'd be interested to see how that would look.

    #20 4 years ago

    What if the whole ramp was fabricated out of some gold colored alloy? Wear could be handled with regaining or polishing. Not sure if there is such a thing...but my best friend has a machine shop and could make it. I'll have to check it out.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from rancegt:

    That's an interesting idea. You can also buy gold leafing at craft stores. I'd be interested to see how that would look.

    I think gold leaf would look terrific, but suffer the same lack of longevity.

    #22 4 years ago

    Anodized Aluminum...

    #23 4 years ago

    It would look great but again I think it would wear quickly. I know when I messed with Anodized fittings on my hot rod, one minor misstep with a tool left it permanently scratched.

    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:Anodized Aluminum...

    #24 4 years ago

    Get it plated in either polished brass or 22k gold and then get it E-coated in clear (Electrophoretic coating) for durability.

    I had this process done to both an IJ (Brass) and MM (22k Gold) and 4 years later in a HUO environment they both still look as good as new.

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinsanity:

    Get it plated in either polished brass or 22k gold and then get it E-coated in clear (Electrophoretic coating) for durability.
    I had this process done to both an IJ (Brass) and MM (22k Gold) and 4 years later in a HUO environment they both still look as good as new.

    Thanks, that's a process I'm not familiar with ( the clear coat ), is that similar to powder coating process? I will check that out.

    #26 4 years ago
    Quoted from Imeh:

    Thanks, that's a process I'm not familiar with ( the clear coat ), is that similar to powder coating process? I will check that out.

    Its sort of a hybrid of both electrolytic plating in its application to the metal itself and powdercoating in that it requires oven baking time to cure.

    Usually an electroplater offers this as an additional optional service to the standard plating process.

    Not much benefit to you given our locations, but here is some more info on the process from the plater I use: (I'm sure a plater local to you would offer similar services)
    http://www.aclassmetal.com.au/e-coat-electrophoretic-coating.php

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from pinsanity:

    Its sort of a hybrid of both electrolytic plating in its application to the metal itself and powdercoating in that it requires oven baking time to cure.
    Usually an electroplater offers this as an additional optional service to the standard plating process.
    Not much benefit to you given our locations, but here is some more info on the process from the plater I use: (I'm sure a plater local to you would offer similar services)
    http://www.aclassmetal.com.au/e-coat-electrophoretic-coating.php

    Thanks, there is a good plating shop here I used to chrome stuff, I will check with them.

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