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Electroplating Answered

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.


my 1st experiment went well. Power source: one AA battery. Battery was trash. 1 volt remained. Copper solution was pre-1982 pennies + salt + vinegar. Workpiece: old wood chisel.

4th experiment: brush on plating. CuSO4 solution. 12V source, acid brush (like for solder flux). Workpiece: pneumatic chisel. It seemed to work well, but the plating scrubbed right off. Possibly due to excessive V; possibly due to dirty workpiece.

5th experiment: plating a pot metal diecast car. Not workin well. Pot metal is zinc plus whatever other crap hit the recylery, apparently.

Googling "electroplate pot metal" got me to CASWELLPLATING.COM which mentions in their forums somethin about a "strike bath" prior to the main electroplating bath. Gotta Google the term.

I did some research and found that current US pennies are mostly zinc (which means they cost more to produce than their face value...)
As rocketscientist2015 wire stripped of insulation, or copper tube/pipe.
You don't need a lot of electrical power, and I've copper plated brass before, although I cannot remember how (~20 years ago).


Since when do they cost more? Last I checked, they switched to zinc because copper cost more than 1 cent a coin, but plated it in copper so they didn't look any different. Then again, the cost of zinc has probably gone up since 1983, when they switched.

What! My goverment is wasting money making money?!? Start shopping for realestate over there for me, I'm immagrating. Stupid government, they just lost there best bet for a space plan and a number of things... Nah I was just kidding, I knew they were using zinc, but I thought they were breaking even. Oh golly, perhaps it isn't entirely Bush's fault were broke. That just plain old sucks. What do they use for nickels, tin?

A couple of months ago. The mint issued limits on how much coinage could be exported and/or melted ($5).

Pennies are, as lemonie said, mostly zinc. In fact, you can strip the zinc away with hydrochloric acid, or even use a much more complex method to remove the copper cladding, and then combine the two. If you are reading this, click the links. even if you don't care about the subject, they are cool pictures.

I assume that "If so, about what would the aps be on that?" is asking about the amps drawn by a 13V, 10W transformer. Voltage time current equals watts, so it is a .77 Amp transformer.

You can use a battery for simplicity, and copper wire for (duh) copper.

What size battery? I'd use one but don't have holders for aa, aaa, c or d sizes, and I don't have a 6v battery. Also, I wanted something that would last for several platings.

Use a lantern battery, the one with springs that you could use gator clips with. Or you can form a holder out of foil and cardboard.

I don't have one with enough juice in them to use. Right now I'm using a 9v 100mA transformer, and from some testing, it's working good. I don't have a tester on hand, and the wires coming from the transformer are the same,so what wires do I use for the thing I want to plate? The one that bubbles alot or the one that bubbles a little?

Dunno, its either the + or - (duh), experiment.

Through some testing I found that it is required that you have the thing you want plated to be bubbling the most.

On my third sentence I meant to put: "if it is too much, what size transformer would I need?".

From 1.4 to 6 volts. No more than 100ma. The work to be plated is definitely (--). Plating eats metal off the (+) and it goes onto the (--). I think the burnt black look might be metal hydride, which you get if you try to rush with more voltage. Also, copper seems easiest to plate ... onto either iron or silver. There's an order that the metals plate in, and to get around it you might have to plate a different metal first. Copper sulfate is blue crystals and are very convenient for copper plating if you can find them at all, and you should be able to because they are not used for contraband. It's one of the ingredients in those things that make flushing toilet water blue. Electroplating with copper rods on (+) will gradually turn car battery acid into copper sulfate solution. My attempts to use brass rods for plating have resulted in copper plated brass rods, and green zinc salt solutions. No more useful info on this topic at this time.

I've been doing some reading on the subject recently, I found this old book at google. electro plating

What most sources seem to agree on is low voltage and low current. so yes your transformer is too big. 1.5v battery low current ~100 ma would be goodish

Also, does brass rod plate easily?