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Plating my dinosaur


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Well after seeing Bobs last post about his scorpion/wood that was copper plated.......it got me thinking. 
  This is probably more of a post to pass on to your plating friend to help her out.
So.............. I took one of my seed pods that looks like a reptile, and decided to plate it. 
 First thing I did was spray it with black lacquer a couple of times to seal it up. 
After that I put on robbers. What robbers do is keep the points from building up. 
I use thin safety wire just because that is what im used to. Any wire will work. 
After that I painted it with conductive paint. I used the really expensive stuff on this. Im working on a cheaper paint right now......waiting for the components to come in.
As you can see, the wire builds up, but the point you are protecting do not. :)
  This part was in copper for about 2 hours. 
All in all im happy with it! 
Points are nice and sharp and all areas plated.
When I heat up the nickel tank, I will plate the beak and feet. 
Will post some more pics when it is done.
Tom H.










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Sweet! I can see how thst works on the points really well!

Thanks Tom!

It looks like your process is a lot faster than hers. I'm interested in the differences in the solution, the heat and the voltage. I guess with more acid and heat the more copper is held in suspension so the article gets plated faster?

I see a lot of agitation in the tank too. 

Your finish looks really good. Bright and level. There are obviously a lot of differences in the processes.



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 The bath make up is

26 oz of copper sulfate

11 oz of sulfuric acid (that is by weight, not fluid oz) Also, if you use battery acid it will have to be 33 oz as it is only 1/3 strength.

1 gallon of distilled water. 

I get my baths tested twice a year, or if I start to have problems. The range for the copper sulfate is 22-26 oz per gallon and the acid is 9-11 oz per gallon. If it gets out of range the plating will suffer by being hard and rough. 

In the winter I heat my baths to 80F.  Its rather warm here right now and they stay at about 90F without heat. When it drops below 80 the plating slows down and the ion exchange of copper does not work as well from the anodes to the solution. The heat makes the acid work better.  

I add proprietary chemicals for brighter/leveling agents. I dont know what they are but in past research I found that  polyethylene glycol 3350 (Miralax stool softener!) will do the job. I just dont want to experiment on a 90 gallon tank so I keep buying the proprietary chems. 

I use 8 dual diaphragm air pumps for agitation. If you use a compressor it will put small amounts of oil in the solution and you DONT want that. 
The agitation is to help with a smoother plating in both the copper and nickle. During the plating process, small amounts of hydrogen bubbles are forming on the surface of the part. The agitation scrubs them off. If left on, they will cause pitting.

I did notice a split on the body this morning. I think it is because the seed pod sucked up some solution/water and expanded. I guess I did not get it 100% sealed. May try dipping it in water/elmers glue next time and let the body swell, then plate it.

Tom H.




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Dino-bird is done! I let the copper pantina a bit and plated the beak and pointed tips with nickel. Sprayed it with clear and Whala! :) 

Tom H. 




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