Challenging DIY Base Preparation that Determines the Finish of UNIQLO Recycled Plating

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Unichrome plating is one of the surface treatments, along with decorative chrome plating, that is widely used on motorcycles and motorcycles. Unichrome plating is less expensive to reproduce than chrome plating, but the effect is clear, so there are many tinkerers who use it when restoring their motorcycles.

Chromate treatment after zinc plating results in unichromate plating.


A set of unichrome-finished parts removed from a 1960s moped sportbike. The spokes and nipples are made from parts available today.
The cross-holed small head screws that hold the engine cover in place are general-purpose items available at home centers and mail-order websites.
On the other hand, the hexagonal head bolts are often marked with standard labels on their surfaces, so reproduction of genuine parts is recommended to maintain the discontinued look of the motorcycle.

While chrome plating is used for the surface treatment of design parts made of steel materials such as wheel rims and fenders, unichrome plating is widely used for bolts, nuts, and shafts. Iron rusts in a short time if the fabric is left as it is, so some treatment is necessary to prevent rusting. Painting is one such treatment, and plating also plays an important role in improving the appearance and preventing rust at the same time.
Plating, generally referred to as unichrome plating, is formed by zinc plating of steel material followed by chromate treatment.
The underlying zinc plating has the advantage of being highly effective in preventing rust, but over time, white rust will form on the plated surface. Chromate treatment has the role of preventing white rust and dirt adhesion, and there are several colors, such as bright chromate, colored chromate, and black chromate, depending on the material used for the treatment.

The reason why some bolts and nuts labeled "UNIQLO" found in the screw section of home centers are whitish and others are yellowish is due to the difference in chromate treatment. Motorcycle parts are similarly differentiated between whitish chromate (bright chromate) and yellowish chromate (colored chromate).

RRed rust occurs when the steel material oxidizes due to the thickness of the galvanized film and aging.


Clean with a water-soluble part cleaner, as there is a risk of overlooking cracks and other problems when requesting reconditioned plating while coated with dirt.
When using a bench grinder to remove rust, oil and grease can also be removed to reduce the risk of wheel brush contamination.

Despite the fact that preventing rust is an important role of UNIQLO plating, rust will occur if the product is stored in a humid place for a long period of time. Zinc is more susceptible to rust than iron, and zinc in contact with iron material corrodes by itself, thereby providing rust protection. However, depending on the thickness of the zinc coating, corrosion may reach the iron material, and once the iron itself rusts, corrosion will progress quickly. Both chrome plating and unichrome plating electrically coat the iron material with a metal of a different material (deposited in an aqueous solution), but once moisture or humidity enters the underside of the metal coating and reaches the iron material, rusting cannot be stopped.

Re-plating of unichrome plating can be installed at a lower cost than re-plating of chrome plating


A grinder with a large motor output can grind hard steel, but a DIY bench grinder will also work well. The key is to fix the grinder firmly to the workbench to prevent it from moving when the parts are pressed against it.


A rusty tandem step holder will take on a metallic sheen in a matter of seconds when pressed against a steel wheel brush. If it is polished to this level, it is easier for the plating shop to reach the rust roots for hydrochloric acid stripping, and the finish will be better.

Similar to repainting damaged painted parts, rusted plated parts can be repaired by regenerative plating.
Regeneration plating is performed by a plating shop, and compared to the regeneration of chrome plating, the regeneration of unichrome plating can be done at a relatively low cost.
Comparing chrome plating and unichrome plating, it is clear that chrome has a higher gloss level and looks better than unichrome plating because fenders and other parts are mirror-finished. Many chrome-plated parts have mirror-finish surfaces, which means that the surface is buffed and a thick nickel plating is applied before the chrome plating is applied, which requires more time and cost. However, it is also true that when looking at the entire body of the bike, the overall impression of the bike is greatly improved if the heads of bolts and screws, the ends of shafts, and the unichrome plating of levers, arms, and stays are shining. And yet, bolts, nuts, and axle shafts do not need to be buffed to a mirror finish, so they can be reproduced at a relatively reasonable cost.