Electroplating for electronics

An idea has occurred to me about how PC boards are currently made. The normal process now is a destructive one, where unwanted copper is etched away. What about figuring a way to electroplate the traces onto a substrate? Various toys and model parts are made of plastic, and yet have been electroplated with a cheap form of chrome. Why not apply that to PC  boards? I'm thinking that a photographically negative mask could be used in a photo-sensitive process to apply the conductive surface to a heat resistant substrate, and then the copper traces could be electroplated on. Anyone have any thoughts on this, primarily at a hobbyist level? **note - cross posted in burning questions.

Topic by charlie_r   |  last reply

Electrolosis/ electroplating?

I am interested in recycling computers to recover the valuable metals (gold, silver, mercury etc) and I was wondering if I place a bunch of computer conectors and fingers in a copper sulphate solution and ran electrolosis with a copper electrode, would it selectively transfer the copper, leaving the other metals behind. If so it would reduce the amount of acid needed to refine the gold.

Question by Tinker Terry   |  last reply


My self Mriganka Bhuasan Debnath, from Kolkata, India. I want to setup a electroplating adhesive  sticker plant. Some one help me to setup this type of plant. this is a youtube video link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQxXpytaFjU THANKS MRIGANKA BHUSAN DEBNATH mail : debnathmriganka2010@gmail.com Mob :+919933144910

Question by MRIGANKA BHUSAND   |  last reply

Electroplating chemical mishap

I figured it would be cool to quickly electroplate some stuff. Since I was lazy, I only used what I had on hand [block of zinc, vinegar, muriatic (hydrochloric) acid)]. The zinc ingot was taking too long to dissolve in the vinegar, so I added about 30 mL of hydrochloric acid. A couple hours later, I was electroplating fine. After two weeks of normal zinc chloride electroplating, the acid suddenly took on a nasty dull brown/yellow amber shade and a ton of white bubbles formed around the zinc (still in the acid). Can anyone tell me what happened?

Question by Brekenridge   |  last reply

Electroplating an etched board with some other (preferably silver-colored) metal

I was wondering if anyone would have any insight on my problem. I'm trying to electroplate an etched copper PCB with something that oxidizes less-readily and has a silver-ish color. Any ideas on what metal to use/how to get it into solution? Thanks, -Muffin

Topic by T3h_Muffinator   |  last reply

electroplating science fair help?

I was wondering if anyone knows an experiment i can do that involves electroplating (the experiment should not be just "electroplate something". i need a question so to create a hypothesis). if anyone has one, i need it as soon as possible.

Question by benoscar   |  last reply

Instructable on electroplated circuit boards?

I managed to plate a copper trace onto piece of acryllic today, to test out a process for easily and cheaply making (and possibly editing/repairing) custom PCBs. The adhesion appears to be good for surface preparation used so far, and a nice thick track has formed. So, would it be worth uploading an instructable once the process has been refined a little (or enough to make simple boards properly)? Any questions, feedback or comments would be appreciated.

Topic by The Skinnerz   |  last reply

Messing with bismuth. Can it be done easily? Answered

Is there any inexpensive (eg. <$100 US) way to make complex shapes with bismuth? I'm hoping something along the lines electroplating will work. I'm kind of hoping for input from Lemonie

Question by The Ideanator   |  last reply


I am looking for a feasible DIY method of depositing aluminum from solution or vapor through electrostatic or other means. I've found one possible process using an ethereal solution of Aluminum Trichloride and Lithium Hydride. Will this allow an aluminum electrode to ionize into solution without adding more and more AlCl3? Is there a better way, such as potentially vapor deposition? Has anyone had experience at this? What are potential problems and how would you circumvent them?

Topic by bowakowa   |  last reply

Copperplating with non-pure-copper?

Hi! I plan on some experiments with a modified method i saw here for PCB-plating with copper to make the holes conductive. Now the question: What if my metal is not 100% pure but has some impurities in it? Does it still only "transfer" the copper and leaves the impurities as slag behind? I think it should be this way, since a similar approach gets used in refining metals to a very high purity; but i am unsure... Lets say i do: Follow the basic recipe (with smaller ammounts!) @ http://www.thinktink.com/stack/volumes/voliii/consumbl/cplatmix.htm and use copper sulfide. I think the trick now is that only copper-ions get disolved in the copper sulfide and nothing else. Those ions become plated to the other pole and thus i get purest copper plated to it?

Topic by Orngrimm   |  last reply

How do you electroplate, or plate, small jewelry pieces of copper or brass with sterling silver?

I make jewelry and would like to cover some small jewelry parts/ findings/ charms with sterling silver. The parts are made of copper and some of brass. I would need to do this in my home. If this is possible, how do I go about it? What supplies and equipment do I need? Thank you, Laurel Martin

Question by laurel1   |  last reply

While doing electrolysis on some pennies, (Pence?) I noticed a copper coating on my + copper lead?

Is there something special about this? Also, Is this a form of electroplating? I doused some pennies in vinegar for about a week+ and tried this. On a thinner, magnet wire lead, (copper +) it had what I beleive is a dark green copper salt, that burned blue. Can anyone Identify this? Also, I changed the diameter of the lead, to about 1/16 - 1/8 (Copper lead, +) and It seemed like that lead was powder coated with copper. Is there a reason it would not be a copper salt? The other was coated with what I think is Zinc.

Question by PKTraceur   |  last reply

Safe DIY PCB etchant

Hello out there, I was wondering if anyone knew a safe, homemade PCB etchant other than the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide method. That produces copper (II) acetate and I don't have any use for it other than copper plating, and I suck at electroplating anyways. I would like to find a safe, homemade copper etchant that is easily disposed or can be reused for something.  Thanks, Sam.

Question by DELETED_JesusGeek   |  last reply

Chemistry Questions: What do you get from combining salt, white vinegar and cupric oxide? And what can be done with it? Answered

In my enameling work, I sometimes use a mild homemade pickling solution to remove firescale (cupric oxide) from copper. The pickle is a saturated solution of white vinegar and kosher salt, kept hot in a Crock Pot. After heating the copper pieces in a kiln, a layer of cupric oxide forms on the surface, which is then dissolved in the salt/vinegar solution. After a while, the solution turns a lovely blue color from the dissolved copper. If I forget to put the lid on the pot, eventually the solution evaporates, leaving pretty blue crystals that look a bit like copper sulfate. So, what have I got here? I don't want to just dump it due to the copper content. I'd like to figure out something to do with it, but first I need to know what it is. I'm thinking it might make a good electroplating solution, but that's just a guess.

Question by RavingMadStudios   |  last reply

High quality and safe nickel plating question? Answered

Hi. There is instruction on this address https://www.instructables.com/id/High-Quality-and-safe-Nickel-Plating/ how to make high quality and safe nickel plating,and i have some question about that. When he showed to add salt to the vinegar in order to make the vinegar  more conductive,isnt the salt become Na and Cl ions? Will the Na positive ion stick to the negative nickel plate?(while making the nickel solution-step 3)? Will the Na positive ions stick to the item that we are plating besides the nickel( in the plating process-step 5)? will it spoil the object that we are plating with nickel? I see in the supermarket vinegar which said"synthetic vinegar" 5% acetic acid,water.(for food).Is it ok? when he said(step 4)"You can further clean your object by reverse electroplating (ie "electrocleaning") it for a few seconds.  Hook your object up to a negative voltage, a WIRE to the positive voltage, and drop them both in a vinegar salt solution for 10-30 seconds.  This will remove any left over oxidation" What wire did he mean? and the last one:how pure is the nickel should be?because i notice that most of the nickel sheet are about 99%-99.7% purity.is it ok? can i use pure nickel strip(97% pure nickel)that is used for battery welding? Thanks in advance.

Question by xchcui   |  last reply