Originally Posted by Lizer
This is exactly what I do too. Good ol Rustoleum, and it holds up well. Except I hit the bolt heads with some cheap Duplicolor etch primer first.
You guys are right, the Rustoleum does a good job - for a while. It is still susceptible to the same problems of contamination that any other coating is. So, my way of thinking, is that if I am going to the trouble of cleaning the part, de-greasing, de-rusting and getting it ready for paint, it is just as simple to zinc it if that is what you really want. I've also found that zincing lasts far longer without rust than any rattle can solution.
So if you want to start zinc plating you only need to "buy" two items - Electrolyte Solution (similar to VERY diluted battery acid) and a piece of zinc rod.
For your "tank" you can use any no-conductive bucket, plastic tub or container large enough for your part and the solution to cover it.
For your power supply; an old cell phone charger or other small transformer that is putting out around 1.0 Amp. I use a Radio Shack 4.5v International because it has a female connection with various adapters available. Attach alligator clips to the adapter and you're ready to plate.
I wire bolts together to plate them. Just remember that if the surface is blocked in any way, the zinc molecules cannot get to the surface to coat it, so you sometimes need to move things around half way through the process to make sure you are getting good coverage. This process generally takes about the same amount of time that your paint would take to dry.
BTW - Martinsr is correct that the Eastwood plating product doesn't work with any plastics. Plastic chrome coating and painting is a whole 'nother thread. Check out the SEM product discussions on the interior forum.
Hope this helps you get your project on the road - whichever way you go.