Copper Plating Brass Keys and Coins Without Electricity.




Introduction: Copper Plating Brass Keys and Coins Without Electricity.

Copper plating is done with the help of electricity, copper can also be plated electrolessly with complex chemical formulas or it can also be plated directly into carbon steel /iron by immersion plating and iron displaces the copper from its solution and the copper coats the steel part, in This how to you will see how a strong and adherent copper layer can be plated directly to Brass and many other nobler metlas(have tested on silver and gold) by contacting a noble metal with a reactive transitional metal that reacts well with copper, by doing this the noble metals will inherit the transitional metal's galvanic potential and are coated with copper.

Step 1: List of Materials.

Copper Sulfate(root kill, but I purchased lab grade for an earlier project).

Battery Acid(Sulfuric acid by 30%, that is what battery acid is made of).

Small container made out of steel, I used a cap made out of steel sheet.

Brass Keys, Quarter Coins and basically any other metal(silver, gold all work too).

Safty gloves and glasses.

Step 2: Prep Work and Copper Plating.

With a steel wool clean the steel container and wash it with dish soap to remove any greast, the brass keys and coins must be washed and cleaned too.

Mix 300 ml of battery acid with 10 grams of copper sulfate, allow for about 10 minutes of the chemestry to mex well, temperature above 70 degrees F.

place the brass keys and coins into the steel container, add enough liquid copper sulfate to the container to cover the keys and coins, manually turn the keys and coins every 40 seconds, you can do that for about 3 minutes, there will be enough adherent and strong copper coat on these pieces to allow for manual polishing to give them a bright copper look, but the copper on the steel container is not adherent at all and can be removed rather easily.

Step 3: After Copper Plating.

These pieces can be manually polished with polishing compounds to give them a beautiful appearance and they can later be nickel plated or sealed with protective lacker to prevent tarnish or allow to tarnish and get a beautiful green copper oxide coat.

Here is a Video of the copper plating.



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13 Discussions

After a few hours the solution with the nickel ions replaces the solid copper turning it silver in color.

Can concentrate Hydrochloric acid work? I am trying to plate copper over a knife then allow it to dry and plate it with Nickel.

Would this process work to plate copper to copper? I hope this isn't a dumb question, but I gotta know.

When making printed circuit boards, adding copper allows for traces with a greater current rating. It also may help with plating through holes (I'll have to figure that part out.)


1 reply

Yes, it would as long as its kept in contact with a steel plate that is at least as large as the PCB.


2 years ago

-Desculpa, mas é fraco.

Com eletricidade é mUitO mais rápido e eficaz!

NÃO DESISTA NUNCA, continue e pense mais!

-Forte abraço.


2 years ago

I didn't know this was possible, but I'm a bit puzzled as to why you would want to copper plate gold or silver normally you plate a precious metal on to a base metal not the other way around

3 replies

I have made this intructable as a request from a few students that made the comment that the "coppered iron nail" as a science project was getting old and was asked if a brass key or 25 cent quarters could be copper plated without electricity, so I made this very simple process, I myself use the same principle on my own Spray on Copper process for large ABS/Plastics.

Ah that would mean you could get real patination on polymer casting, I suspect it may be the starting point to how to chrome plate an orange as well

yes, it is possible to get a real patination on any type of casting now, and many organics have been able to be chrome plated for quite sometime now.

I am working on a electroless nickel plating of any type of non conductors.

Sorry I meant 10 grams, or about 2.5 to 3 teaspoons.

This company sells 1Kg for about £7.50 they sell smaller amounts to but at proportionally higher prices especially once you add in post and packing.

they also sell via amazon.