I'm using a 10amp power supply ($75) that will allow me to plate up to 144 square inches at a time. The aquarium temperature controller keeps the nickel bath at 110 degrees F. Everything plugs into GFCI outlet, you're using water here!
Step 1: After the part is completely clean and raw steel, you soak the part in the Caswell degreaser for about 30 minutes, or until water no longer beads up on the part. The degreaser is heated to 190 degrees with a larger bucket heater. I monitor the temp with an infrared temp gauge. If it gets too hot I just unplug it. The bucket heater also constantly trips my power strip, so I had to run it to its own outlet. Spray off with distilled water.
Step 2: Caswell doesn't mention doing this next step, but I read a lot of people dip their part in battery acid for 15 seconds to etch. So I did. Spray off with distilled water.
Step 3: The big show! This is the nickel bath. You have 2 nickel anodes hooked up to the + of the power supply, and the copper pipe which connects to your string of parts is the cathode. (you can deplate if you switch these). There is an aquarium agitator pump in the bath. I heat the whole bath to 110 degrees F with a small coffee cup heater (took 4 hours to go from 56 degrees to 110). I used the coffee heater to save some money as it was only $10. You can buy a much nicer heater with thermostate for $75+. I used a $20 aquarium temperature controller to keep it at 110. Nickel plates at .07 amps per square inch at 1.5-3 volts. I set my power supply to 2 volts, then set the current to .5-ish amps based on the surface area of these 2 bolts being around 7.5 sq". I soaked the parts for 90 minutes, rotating at 45 minutes. This should create a nickel thickness of about .001"
A very quick polish of white rouge yields a mirror finish.