Picture of Clean and Simple Electroplating
In this example of electroplating I will show you how to electroplate nickles, quarters and dimes with the copper from pennies. Pleases read all the steps before starting.

Since I haven't found a nice instructable on electroplating, I am now making one.

Warning! This is my first instructable!

What you will need:
1-1.5 v power source (old batteries preferred)
some kind of battery holder with alligator clips
small, non-conductive, disposable container (plastic or glass, the small yogurt containers are great)
a weak acid (vinegar: acetic acid, or lemon/lime juice: citric acid)
two or more pennies
quarters, nickles and dimes (almost any hardware you want platted)
time (at least 1.5 hours...I think, 3 is better)
plastic wrap (Saran Wrap)

here is all the stuff I used, the 3000 sq ft platic wrap gets a picture of its own.

Step 1: Fill your container with the acid

Picture of Fill your container with the acid
First take you job, which will be a quarter for me, and mark its height inside the container - this will be a fill line.

Remove the quarter and fill the acid past the line. If you don't have enough acid, you can add water and dilute it, but do not go past 50% acid (since vinegar and juice is already diluted). I had only half the lime juice I need so I just added more water until the surface was past the fill line.
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jimmy dean6 years ago
is there a way I could remove all the copper off of the penny, I just want the zinc.
do the first steps with the pennies for a really long time and the pennies should be copper free. Also I really like your sausage
thecraw1 month ago

nicely written up

can i do gold or silver plating using simillar and untill green tint come we does not let the nickel to solution am i right

Copper wire or tubing might be better. Pennies are not really copper, and different years have different composition. 1983 to present is copper plated zinc.

aw19291 year ago

Hi Folks!

I am wanting to replate some trim rings for my resonator guitar and would like to make them brass plated. They are presently either nickel or chrome plated. Is there a way to do this?

no, brass is an alloy and cannot be used for plating.

Is it possible to plat something with iron, if so... how? Also will this object now be magnetic?
Electrodepositation of a coating (electroplating) of metal by making the object to be coated the cathode (negative) in an electrolyte (the liquid). Positive ions n the electrolyte are discharged at the cathode and deposited as a metal. (what the anode (positive) is does'nt matter.
Sorry but isn't cathode the positive rather than negative? people can easily get confused because of your comment. no hard feelings, i just don't want confused people around ;)
I remember that a cathode is the negative be cause a catheter doesn't bring a positive thought to my mind. I stopped burning LEDs up that way :D
All that takes you to learn...besides, there's no right way of electricity , at least none they can prove. it's a matter of personal reference. i chose to use that cathode is the positive since i am using conventional way . Cheers
Incorrect, it has been proven decades ago, this is how a plasma cutter works electrons are emitted from the negative pole creating plasma. so yes there IS a RIGHT way, and personal preference id the wrong way, Conventional current theory has long been disproven and no longer even taught as it is invalid, Electron accelerators would not function were your ideas valid.
Electrons are negative. Electrons come from the cathode.
That is correct, but the confusion comes in with the original poster calling Ions positive, since they carry an extra electron, they are negative...
Thanks for the tip on remembering anode/cathode. I've always wanted a way to remember. I think I will now, lol.
This entire reply is incorrect from terminology That is made up to the wrong polarities and terms down to Ion determination
nf119 (author)  minerug7 years ago
I believe that the metal on the positive matters a lot. It determines the voltage to use, the amount of time to leave it in, the acid or the salts to use and also if it is even possible. The problems with iron coating is that iron rusts very easily and it also has multiple oxidation states.
minerug nf1197 years ago
How about u get some silver nitrate or copper nitrate and put some an iron thing on the cathode and of couse, copper on the anode and, poof u have some silver (or copper)
nf119 (author)  minerug7 years ago
If you had silver nitrate and copper on the anode, wouldn't copper also dissolve into the solution and also get deposited onto the job. I think copper would be more attracted to the cathode since it is less electromagnetic than copper. And I believe that minerug is trying to iron-plate not electroplate an iron object.
Wouldn't the silver electroplate better? silver is a better conductor than copper
minerug nf1197 years ago
I ment the silver nitrate as the electrolyte to be deposited on the cathode, in other words I am trying to ELECTROPLATE THE IRON with something ie silver or copper (i also ment copper sulphate not copper nitrate).
This is all very interesting guys, i was just wondering if there is a way to take a metallic object ie.a key or a coin and plate it in a way to make it magnetic and still look shiny and silver
nf119 (author)  lifelong-newbie7 years ago
Well my answer is, I don't think so. You'll need a really really thick coat so that it you could weakly magnetized it or for it show a noticeable attraction to strong magnets.
minerug minerug7 years ago
sorry, it does matter what the anode is, it has to be the same as the liquid
NO. iron based metals can not transfer due to the way they oxidize
nf119 (author)  lifelong-newbie7 years ago
DrCoolSanta was trying to plate something with stainless steel below. We found out together that it was almost impossible to iron-plate without special chemicals (iron sulphate & potassium-sodium tartarate are the main two). Then you have to get chemicals and get an anode thats pure non-oxidized iron. I am sorry to say but that is not an easy project. If you did get an object iron coated, I believe the coat will be too thin to have any magnetic effects.
sparky435 years ago
I am trying to copper plate a steel nail with the copper from a small piece of 12 ga. romex wire(like used in house wiring).
I used distilled vinegar and an old  'D' cell.  Connected the positive end of the battery to the copper wire and the negative end to another piece of copper wire.  About an hour later the vinegar turned blueish green. (acid)
I  then removed the copper wire from the negative lead of the battery and connected this lead to my steel nail, immersed it completely into the acid.
About 10 minutes later, I noticed that the nail was beginning to turn redish/black and at the bottom of my jar, just below the nail, was a small pile of gooey gunk building up.
Your instructions say my voltage was too high.  The battery I used would not light a flashlight!
BTW.  I have tried this several times with always the same result...my nail turns reddish/black with some kind of gunky goo piling up in the jar.
Any ideas?
what is described is contamination from a nail it was not clean enough to plate. Nails are coated to keep them from rusting when they are made. try boiling metals to be plated in a detergent water solution and then pure water before plating. Plating steel with copper is very easy.
nf119 (author)  sparky435 years ago
I believe copper plating steel is a little tricky. Try immersion deposition. Basically get to that blueish green solution and then take everything out and throw the steel in. A nice way to get a good solution for immersion deposition is to use vinegar, throw your pure copper in. Add a bit of hydrogen peroxide. Just a little. Your solution will heat up to 60 C! After the solution is ready, just throw the steel in. Deposition should take only 30 seconds or so. Let me know how it goes.
I have done this using vinagar and salt in a solution with no electricity.  It takes longer but it works.  look at URL  http://homechemistry.blogspot.com/2008/01/penny-chemistry-verdigris-and-copper.html > for their method and recipe.

What I found is that the copper is sticky on the nail afterward, but I have read further to find that it can be baked to firm up the plating.  I have not tried baking the nail afterward, but I think that the step is necessary based on the tacky feel of the copper.

I hope this helps.  BTW, your method gave rise for me to sign up to Instructables!  Thanks for the great input!!
I guess I'm gonna show a weird-looking coin tomorrow to my friends lol. So the thing to be plated must be on the negative side fully submerged and the other thing is on the positive side with the clip not submerged so that the metal from that won't go to "the job". After e. plating wrap in plastic and squish out the air. Leave to dry out for several hours before handling.

So could I just leave the "job" to air-dry or the copper on the coin is too fresh and might oxidize or something? 
imma try plating a5 peso coin with steel to produce a 1 peso looking 5 peso coin.
ferrous metals wont transfer carbon bonding prevents it, but it will destroy your electrolyte. which is why stainless is used as a non replenishing electrode... it still wont transfer, but is noncontaminating
oh, and could you use high salinity water?
if there are black parts, it means your voltage is too high.... so I'm just using a 1.5 v battery and the job went black? weird
this can also be caused by too long of plating time, bad anode. contaminated solution... and a handful of other things
What does cyan-colored water mean?
I know this is way late but that means you have another element being dissolved. Copper is a transition element (like most metals) and it will turn a solution different colors when dissolved. Copper turns solutions green, so if it is turning cyan you most likely have either a contaminated or rusted penny or the clips were touching the solution on the positive lead.
Too late, I remembered I accidentally switched the coins so instead of plating a nickel coin with copper, I plated a copper coin with nickel (at least I think it was the nickel that turned it cyan). That was 5 or so months ago.
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