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I wanted to electroplate a piece of metal with copper, but I have two questions.One question is what size transformer to use.I have one that is 13vdc at 10 watts, is that too much? If so, about what would the aps be on that? Another question is where to find copper. Are pennies ok? Any help is appreciated.

Topic by John Smith    |  last reply

Electroplating gold

I was wondering if anyone knows if the same principles involved in nf119's instructable are applicable to attempting to electroplate something with gold.Also, would the pins of an old CPU (in this case, an old Athlon Thunderbird 1ghz) be made of pure gold that can be used to electroplate?Thanks!

Topic by dizzytired    |  last reply

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 tech.

Topic by charlie_r    |  last reply

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 : THANKS MRIGANKA BHUSAN DEBNATH mail : Mob :+919933144910

Question by MRIGANKA BHUSAND    |  last reply

Electroplating Non-Metals

I'm looking for input on the process of electroplating non-metal materials. I have never electroplated before and am open to trying the traditional method or the paint on plate solutions that are available.  I'm just uncertain where/ how to begin and what to buy. The hurdle is that the items I want to plate are not metal to begin with.  One website I read seemed to suggest that painting the object with a paint that contains metal flakes (like Liquid Leaf faux gold leaf, which contains soluble copper) would be enough to get a paintable silver plate to bond. Anyone have experience to weigh in with?  I welcome suggestions for techniques, favorite products, etc.

Topic by ashleyjlong    |  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

Good way for electroplating washers? Answered

Hello everybody...........Seem's i am in need of help from the brilliant mind's of this site again. My dad has been electroplating nut's & bolt's for the past 35 years & i decided to join for the time being(i have summer vacations going on) Recently some guy came to us for getting washer's electroplated,Issue being that the washer's won't get coated with nickel (with the Electroplating barrel).Some of them stick to each other(leading to one side of the Warsher's without nickel coating). These are so thin compared to the nut's and bolt's we are used to electroplate,That some of the washer's get bent. Need any suggestion,any alternative way to do them without much issues. Below are some pictures attached for referance Thanks in advance Regards ~HD~

Question by Bobblehead Einstein    |  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

Is it possible to electroplate carbon fiber? Answered

Hi, I'm into knifemaking. There are some carbon fiber knives on the market, but they all have very poor edge retention. (because the edge is made of carbon fiber as well) I was wondering if it would be possible to add a thick metal coating of a hard metal to a carbon structural center, as to coat the blade in a thin layer of metal. This metal would then be serving as the cutting edge, hopefully with better edge retention.  Is this at all possible? What types of metal could be used? Thanks in advance!

Question by jelte1234    |  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

electro cleaning before electroplating

Hi. I made the instructable of A_Steingrube"high quality and safe nickel plating" address: and i want to be sure that i did the elctro-cleanning that is mention on step 4 correctly. I try to ask A_Steingrube through the comment place and the private message but i have not get any answer i try to ask here. I made the elctro cleaning while my object was connected to the positive voltage and the wire connected to the negative voltage.I did that ,because i understand that the object sould be dissolved abit and this should be happens on the anode(connected to the positive voltage) but in step 4 he mention to connect the object to the negative voltage in order to make the electrocleanning.SO,is there something that i miss here? Thanks in advance.

Topic by xchcui    |  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

Electroplate tech used for 3D printing

Obviously it wouldn't work for large scale objects, but could high current, localized "plating" be used to deposit large, controlled amounts of metal to sculpt an object??

Topic by NumbersAndLetters    |  last reply

why i get this when i try to plate with nickel solution? Answered

Hi guys, I try to plate with nickel solution and all i get is a nasty black-green (corosive) colour and all that bubbles in nickel solution and that foam. And the wand i use is stainless steel. The solution is brought from a uk plating company and i don't think have something bad. please see attacked images and please give me an answer. thank you.

Question by Madib84    |  last reply

Is it possible to make your own electroplating solution?

Is it possible to make your own electroplating solution? Couldn't one simply toss some atomized copper dust from the sculpture supply store into a hydrochloric acid solution, and let it dissolve? If so, what other chemicals are necessary, and what approximate proportions should they be? I'm thinking quick and dirty here, specifically for electroforming medium sized objects. Thanks!

Question    |  last reply

Help Needed, 3D Printing Via Electroplating

A few years ago I saw a 3D printer that printed using UV reactive resin and a DLP projector and I obviously started thinking about ways to make this for myself. Recently I have been entertaining the idea of repurposing the old CRT technology with phosphors that produce UV light to replace expensive DLP projectors but I couldn't think of an easy way to do that. I was fiddling with various ways of repurposing one of my old CRT monitors when I had a decent idea. Instead of converting electron beams into light to harden resin why don't we harness the electron beams for the purpose of electroplating! Instead of resin we could use an ion solution and build models out of metal! Of course we would still need to replace the phosphors embedded glass screen with a conductive plate to serve as a non-consumable anode. Unfortunately I do not have the time or resources to do this myself so I wanted to post this to the Instructables Community and see If anyone felt this was a worthwhile project.  Please let me know what you think of the idea! I would love to see this turn into an actual project.

Topic by gooeyideas    |  last reply

What is the solution recipe for reverse electroplating gold??? Answered

I have ALOT of pins and boards so I need the ratio of chemicals for the bath of electrolytes

Question by Draconus24    |  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!) @ 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

Electrolysis Materials

I have been looking at electrolysis a lot, and recently made one, but because I used copper wire it corroded straight away.  I have been looking at alternatives and titanium sticks out to me.  Currently cheap, $10 for 16 feet, and the conductivity is fairly good along with the corrosion resistance (high).  However, I haven't been able to find very much of anything stating that titanium works or doesn't.  Does anybody have any input, thanks!

Topic by Cody Heiser    |  last reply

Plating Silver/gold (or any other hypoallergenic metals) on a Brass ring. (Without access to specialized chemicals)

Greetings fellow makers and crafters. First off I want to thank all who take the time reading this question. So, lets get started. A while ago I decided to test my crafting skills and made a beautiful brass ring out of some very old 20mm brass ammo casing. A nice repurpose in my opinion. The brass however oxidizes very quickly and stains my finger green. And it seems like the skin underneath is developing an allergic reaction. Either to the oxide stains, the zinc, or maybe some nickel contamination in the metal? It appears dry and reddish sometimes. Because I put a lot of effort into making the ring and don't want to discard it I finally decided to electroplate it. Plating it with copper would be quite easy as it seems that copper nitrate can be made with citric acid. It would however still oxidize and leave stains. My second thought was Nickel, but I discarded the idea because I seem to be allergic to other Nickel plated Jewelry. Now comes the hard part. I live in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A country where I can hardly come across any chemical supplies. Even simple things like activated charcoal or hydrogen peroxide are nowhere to find. I could silver plate the ring if I had access to nitric acid. But as you see that would require me to buy it from some online store which I really try to avoid. I could start making my own nitric acid with the use of the Birkeland Eyde process. But I'd rather have something more safe, health friendly and without the chance of getting roasted by a 10-20kV transformer. Anyway, back to the topic. I am currently out of ideas on how to approach this project. So I am asking you guys if you know of any of the shelf products which have the required chemical ingredients that I could utilize to make this project a success? Thanks again. ------ And Happy New Year! :)

Question by icemaciop    |  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

Beginner Jewellery maker. Question about gold/silver plating

Hi there, I'm starting jewellery making as a complete beginner and want to use Metal Clays to do this as it seems one of the easier and cheaper ways to make jewellery at home. I looked into lost wax casting, but there are no studios or workshops near where I live to do this. I really love gold jewellery, and was wondering that if I used bronze, copper, or silver clay, am I able to plate it too? I've seen those electroplating kits online, but I was wondering if it would work after I've finished making my jewellery piece with the clay.  I've also seen videos about 'silver accenting' copper clay... Is this just basically like coloured base metal (costume jewellery), or is it real sterling silver (i.e high end costume jewellery). Any insight anyone can provide is very much appreciated! :) Erika

Topic by cindyycindz    |  last reply

3d printed PCB

I was wondering if you could make 3d printed circuit boards using an arc welder of electroplating method by connecting a copper "welding stick" to the extruder and a ground clip to the board.

Topic by JoshsInstructables    |  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

Where to find information on the best CPU's, with photos and the approximate amount of gold that can be recovered also?

Does anyone know where I can get some kind of information on all the different types of CPU's, with photos, and which one yield the most gold ? Or if someone knows of a good book to get information on all the best computer parts for gold recovery, with instruction and illistrations as well ? Please, anyone, HELP ! ! !

Question by NYJohn58    |  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

Remove copper from a PCB without dissolving it?

I have a bunch of old PCBs laying around from various electronic projects, things I took apart and re-purposed, etc...Seeing as copper is roughly $0.25 per ounce, I would like to remove the copper from these PCBs, and sell it to a local coin shop that buys various scrap metals. I plan on sanding the solder mask off first, but after that, I don't know how to remove the copper from the fiberglass. Maybe just electroplate it onto another piece of copper? Please give me suggestions, thanks!

Topic by metrogdor22    |  last reply

Electroforming from scraps? Answered

Hi, I was reading the Electroforming 'ible and I have a couple of questions: 1)  It says you need an 18 amp digital rectifier. However in step 13 it says "Check the amp and voltage setting, they should both be at or below 1".  Why do you need an 18 amp rectifier if you only need less than 1 volt and 1 amp? 2)  Is it possible to build some sort of a suitable rectifier from scrapped microwaves?  I know people wind a 10 gauge secondary into the MW transformer to make welders, so can it be done for electroplating too? Thanks!

Question by Morgantao    |  last reply

CNC protype service. Laser cutting and 5 axis milling.

Hello. I offer cnc prototype service.Serial work is also possible. Worldwide shipping to any country. Material: any ferrous and nonferrous metals,plastics and wood. Number of axes cnc milling center: 5 axis Laser cutting any ferrous and nonferrous metals, plastics and wood. (Maximum thickness  20 mm for steel.) Wire EDM cnc machine processing. Finishing: painting, polishing, electroplating and other. Detail size : any Minimal order: 1 piece. Format for drawing: Any digital format. Better SolidWorks or AutoCad. Shipping: Worldwide (EMS,DHL or other postal service) Payment: any Please contact:

Topic by cnc5axiscut  

Selective Surfaces -What are the different selective coatings available for Solar thermal application?

It is well known that coating the absorbers with a selective surface helps in increasing the efficiency. I am building a air heater using parabolic trough and an evacuated tube. I've chosen Aluminium as the tube material...but I'm not able to figure out how to selectively coat the surface and which coat (paint or process) to be used for Aluminium. i mean all I could get through the web is some kind of electroplating under controlled environment. Isnt there any kind of pain available which can give good performance at 200 degree celsius? I read somewhere that heating the stainless steel to a temperature at which nickel oxidises, results in a surface which has absorptivity of 0.93 and emissivity as low as 0.08? Can anyone help with this?

Question by vvk557    |  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

Electoplating wood. CHEMISTRY QUESTIONS!

Hello guys, Thanks alot for reading. I don't know much about chemistry outside of my one high school class. We electroplated a penny. I have a 1.5ish square-foot piece of wood, and i am wanting to CHROME IT.... chrome paint kits cost hundreds of dollars, and i've before seen chrome-plated wood.. and i want to replicate the results. [img][/img]I'm looking for a cost effective alternative to expensive chrome kits (+300 dollars for a pint)In theory.... my method would involve somehow plating the guitar with some sort of metallic based paint, then submerging it in a chrome bath. [b]IS THIS POSSIBLE??[/b]Is there a metal chemical that can somehow be applied evenly to the entire surface of the wood? (i.e. paint?)What, and how much of the specific chemicals do i need, and where can i find them?I really want this to be mirrored. Thanks so much for your responses to my problem:P

Topic by punx777  

How can you prevent Galvanic Corrosion? Answered

My parents bought a new green heater they've had repaired by 2 different guys in the past 2 months. The last one was a guy my brother knew; he said that it needed to be sanded, which I thought was a bit strange. It's beginning to act a bit funny again, kicking on, then going off. So I opened it up today, thinking that it was probably Galvanic corrosion from the way he talked. It seems as if a few companies are getting a bit careless in there designs. :-) So I opened it up and there was still corrosion laying on the bottom of the case from the first fix. He didn't even know what I was talking about. I read the Wikipedia article: Galvanic Corrosion. They mostly advise electroplating, which could get a bit labor intensive in this case. From what I understand, the idea is to separate the base metals, the anode and the cathode, from the electrolyte. In this case, it's the water vapor in the air. Wouldn't it just require some type of heat resistant coating to act as a barrier against water? Like some kind of spray on coating?

Question by Vorenus    |  last reply

nickel plating question

Hi. There is instruction on this address 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% it ok? can i use pure nickel strip(97% pure nickel)that is used for battery welding? Thanks in advance.  

Topic by xchcui    |  last reply

High quality and safe nickel plating question? Answered

Hi. There is instruction on this address 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% 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

Soldering tips and tricks for complicated metals

Whether you are just a hobby builder or do your own electronics projects, you know how to solder...Then one day you find yourself in the position that your solder just does not want to stick...My first moment of total defeat happened when I was a teenager.Was building some simple motor with instructions from a book but substituted what I could...Ended up with some stainless steel contacts and being unable to solder my wires to them...If you ever had problems like this then read on ;)What are easy to solder metals?Basically everything that does not form an oxide layer on the surface and is able to bind with tin, lead or silver.Copper is one of the easiest metals to solder on but every plumber certainly knows how important a clean and corrosion free surface is.Any coating or alloy that prevents oxidisation or provides a harder surface usually means with normal, electornics solder we might be lost.Nickel for example can be a true pain and same for chrome.So lets start with the hard metals first.Steel, nickel, stainless...If the part size does not already mean trouble to get it hot enough, then we face the problem of how to "wet" it with our solder.Normal steel is usually fine if you give it a fine sanding right before the soldering, however getting the heat onto the part is crucial.Even something simple like a 5mm thick steel rod can be a pain with a normal soldering iron.I good way to cheat is to preheat the part or area with a blow torach on a soft flame - not a hot, blue flame.Try to do this away from the area you need to solder as the temperature difference usually causes some initial condensation on the surface.Most steels that play a vital role don't like to be overheated as it can affect the hardness an other things, so be careful here.Rosin core solder works fine on steel and it also indicates when the temperature gets too hot by boiling and smoking badly.If you still struggle to wet the surface try to scratch it with your solder - if it does not melt the surface is not hot enough.Nickel coatings are usually very thin and a slight sanding quickly reveals the layer underneath.If the metal used is not copper already then a copper layer will be electroplated on before the nickel coating.Either way the key is to get through the nickel without going through the copper, for example if steel contacts were used for durability reasons.After that soldering is as easy as directly onto copper.Steinless steel however can be a true pain, same by the way if you need to preserve the nickel coating as best as possible and can sand it off.Without using chemistry the only way I found is to use a stainless steel tip in the soldering iron.But as the preperation of one requires chemicals anyway we might start with them first.The passivating layer of layer or stainless steel can of course be pre-treated by sanding.Especially very shiny surface benefit from it.After this I prefer to wet the surface with Phosphoric Acid - you can find it in the harware store as "Rust remover".It is a food grade acid used in many of your favourite fizzy drinks, so skin contact is not a big deal - just wash it off.The phosphoric acid is not strong enough to break the oxide layer but it keeps air away.And once you start scratching the hot metal with your stainless steel soldering tip it will prevent a new oxide layer from forming.This method however requires a low temperature solder and quick work as the acid boils off quickly.In the plumbing section of your hardware store your find various fluxes for soldering.Look for something containing both Ammonium Chloride and Tink Chloride.Around here a common brand name is Bakers Fluid.Usually if it has a red danger label on it you will find the above ingredients on the lable somewhere.Be careful with it as it is very corrosive and harmful to your health!Good thing is that all remains can be washed off with just running water.What does it do though?Unlike the phosphoric acid, the chlrodies directly attack the metal.Especially once getting hot, so if in doubt wear proper protection as advised on the label!The oxide layer is not only being eaten away, there is also an ion exchange happening, so a product with more than 30% of zink chloride is prefered here.The zink binds with the stainless steel or nickel and provides an easier way to bond for the solder.Key is to work quickly and with precision!Flux paste is good for brazing but not so good for soldering.The flux liquid, unlike the paste will start to boil right when the metal get to soldering temperatures.That is if you use standard lead based solder, most lead free types should be ready a bit sooner.Start to scratch the metal with the solder and use a soft flame from the other side or close to the soldering area - do not apply the flame directly onto the flux covered area.Why? Well, the flux isolates the metal from the heat of the flame and it will boil off way before the metal gets hot enough ;)On smaller parts and when using the soldering iron create a small bubble of solder and keep scratching the surface while it heats up.In case the flux dries off apply a bit more before this happens!Once the solder starts to wet the metal a tiny bit it is usually very easy to spread it out to the desired size and shape.With the heat applied from the underside the solder will always flow to the area of most heat!Once done it is best to let the part cool down then to give it a good wash under running water to remove all remains of the flux.Failing to to do so will result in quick and ongoing corrosion, so do it properly...Aluminium, the bad metal...I encountered it first when I could not welding or brazing on a quite small part.Plus, of course, the problem of having to add a copper wire as well.Then again when I had to solder some aluminium wire.Acid won't work, chlorides only make it worse, so don't bother with either for aluminium.Standard rosin core solder also fails.But there is a suprisingly simple solution to the oxide problem on aluminium.Mechanical work...There are quite few videos out there showing how someone solders onto some aluminium foil.It is so simple because the foil is thin - use it to test your new skills.A thing though that is often done wrong is the surface preperation.It usually starts with a fine sanding - to remove the oxide layer.....The some oil is applied and soldering starts under the oil cover.And if pay attention then it is often a painful process of scratching with the soldering iron while trying to make the solder bubble wet the aluminium.That's why foil is so simple here....What happened in those videos?Quite simple: Aluminium oxidises right away while you sand it.Even if you are quick with the oil it already happened.So why not do the sanding after the oil was applied?A fibreglass pen or a stainless steel wire brush (usused on other things!) work quite well here.The oil prevents the air from attacking the aluminum.If in doubt use some clay and form a little dam around the soldering area to prevent the oil from running off.Petroleum jelly, vaseline and all other identical things work fine here same for clean engine oil.But you have to use rosin free solder, no flux core, just plain solder.If you don't have it simply melt some normal rosin core solder to a nice drop and clean the rosin off ;)Since there is no real oxide layer with this way of pre-treating the soldering and wetting happens right once the aluminium get hot enough to melt the solder.You might find it sticking nice right away but don't be fooled!You need to heat the aluminium until you actually see the solder forming a nice puddle.With careful sanding you create very clean boundaries.Other soldering tricks...Getting cholired based flux for a single job might be overkill.If you happen to have one of these tip cleaning stones for your soldering iron then you have what you need ;)Simply scrape some of it off and dissolve it is a tiny amount of water.Will only be ammonium chloride and requires more scratching on stainless steel but works...Preparing a stainless steel soldering tip sunds as easy as finding a suitable piece of wire and grindinga tip onto it.If you every changed the tip on a soldering iron them you know there is two types.The simple one for the cheaper irons uses a set screw or similar to hold the tip.The better ones are hold in place by a collar or other type of screw fitting.And well, those have a thicker part in their body.If you need to solder stainless steel more than once or twice it makes sense to buy a cheap but powerful soldering iron and to make sure it uses a straight piece of metal with no thicker parts to hold it in place.If you can't find some stainless steel wire or round bar of suitable thickness you can go slightly below or much thinner if you require a thin tip.Just make a copper or aluminium collar for the tip to hold it in place, like a sleeve to go around.Grind the tip to your desired shape before fitting it in....You won't need a mirror finnish and it can be helpful if the the surface is quite rough.After all, you want to scratch around on stainless steel with it and you can't harm it this way.To get a nice and clean cover of solder onto the tip you need the mentioned flux from above.Use a small cup and fill some of the flux in it so you can dip the tip of the soldering iron into it.If there is no temperature control start with a cold iron and the tip sanded off a last time right before dipping it into the flux.Use some clamps or whatever you feel like to help keeping the tip in place.If you get flux onto bits you don't want to cover with solder then wash off and try again.Turn the iron on observe the tip.As soon as you see tiny bubble forming take it out and quickly start rubbing your solder onto the tip.It helps to have a thick enough solder so you can apply some pressure here.And of course the solder should be nice and shiny and not covered by oxides...Special cases like titanium or othe metals that usually fail to bond with solder....Let's face it: whenever soldering is not feasable we are happy to revert back to crimping or screwing.Nothing wrong with it either and often the better option when it comes to being able to do a quick repair at a later stage.Most of thes special metals, including your favourite heating wire can still be solder using the right surface prep and flux but it really should be avoided if you can.And real bond like you get when soldering copper would only be on a surface level and mechanical strenght questionable.On a professional level ultrasonic soldering is used to make the impossible possible.The cavitation effect breaks through the surface oxides or passivating layers and the solder just wets the surface like it would be copper.On a hobby level things look different though.Unless you decide to build your own solar panels from scratch the investment into some low end ultrasonic soldering machine already set you back a few grand....There is a way to cheat on the cheap though if you are into experimenting and building things....More on that in my other topic about making an ultrasonic soldering tank. ;)

Topic by Downunder35m