Introduction: Copper Plating Made Easy
I'm currently taking a high school Chem AP class and one of our assignments is to make up our own experiment using stuff that we learned during the class. We decided to electroplate some coins in copper, and as it turns out its fairly easy to plate things in copper. You could even use this technique to make Steam Punk things.
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Step 1: Materials
Things that you need:
1 AA Battery
1 AA Battery holder(optional)
1 red stranded core wire
1 black stranded core wire
1 pair of wire strippers
1 Alligator Clip
2 lemons or lemon juice
1 knife for the lemons
1 roll of Scotch Tape
1 small Plastic or glass container Big enough to fit what you are plating
10mm of Solid copper wire(stripped)
If you don't have a battery holder you will need:
1 metal file
1 Soldering Iron
Step 2: Preparing the Battery
The easiest way to set up the battery is to use a Battery holder, but if you don't have one, or are too cheap to go and buy one, there is another way.
the other way is to solder directly on to a battery. heres the link to an instructable about how to solder onto batteries that I have made https://www.instructables.com/id/Soldering-Directly-Onto-a-Battery/
For people with the battery holsters attach the stranded core black wire to the black wire of the battery holder, and the red stranded core wire to the red wire of the battery holder.
Now for people with either battery setup, strip the end of the black wire attached to the negative terminal of the battery, and then attach the alligator clip to it.
Take the stripped solid core copper wire and attach it to the red wire using a crimp or just by twisting them together.
Make sure not to let the leads touch, or you will have one hot battery.
Step 3: Setting Up the Container
Cut up the lemons, juice them, and then strain the juice, and pour it into the glass or plastic container.
Bend up the copper wire that is attached to the positive terminal so that it can be totally submerged into the lemon juice, but make sure to leave enough room to fit the item that you are plating and the alligator clip.
The bigger the piece that you want to plate the longer it will take.
Take the metal item that you want to plate and thoroughly wash it with soap and water and then use some steel wool to shine and slightly roughen the surface. wash it with soap again, then attach the metal item that you want to plate onto the alligator clip, that is attached to the negative terminal of the battery, and put it in the solution.
after a few minute you will notice that the solution will start to turn bluish green, and at this point you can tell that the metal item will be covered in a light coat of copper. if its kind of blackened take it out and rub the steel wool on it to remove the tarnish and then clip it back up and put it back in the solution.
After 30 minutes it should have a nice copper coat. use some steel wool to remove any tarnish and thats it your done.
If you want to do plate something else you can reuse the same solution.
Step 4: The Results
Heres a quarter that I have plated compared to a regular one. its like spray tanning for quarters!