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Copy Cad plating (mixed results - heater took plating)

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  • Copy Cad plating (mixed results - heater took plating)

    Finally got my CopyCad plating system all set up. Carefully followed everything down to the absolute last detail. So experimented with a half dozen small screws. Set up a string of them on a copper wire over about a 4” span. So everything plated but only the screws in the center plated properly and came out shiny while the ones near the end were rough and dull. And some that did come out bright still had some dull flat areas on the domes of the screws. But the most puzzling thing of all is that after doing all this, I discovered that the heater used in my plating tank (and recommended by Caswell - from Industrial Electric Heating) was the only thing that really plated. Good Grief, why did the heating element acquire such a heavy coat of plating. It used up a bunch of my zinc. And probably explains why I had so much trouble platting the few screws I was attempting to plate. What’s up with that and how do we remedy this?!?!?!


  • #2
    What is the material of the heater element ? you do not need a heater for the copy/cad as long as you operate at room temp.
    --
    Jason Vanderbroek
    315 946 1213 x116
    www.caswellplating.com

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    • #3
      Jason, I think I figured out the problem with the poor plating on my screws. It appears that the copper wire has some kind of non-conductive coating. It’s absolutely amazing that I got any results at all. What clued me off is that I noticed the wire did not even plate. Obviously you have to be careful when it comes to choice of wire.
      As for the heater, it’s that same 1100 watt stainless steel heater for the 2 gallon buckets as advertised and sold on Industrial Electric Heating Supply’s site.

      http://www.industrialelectricheating...ting%2Dheaters

      I’m sure the heater element is stainless steel just as described on their site….. or is it?
      ​​​​​​​Anyway, your instructions clearly advise that the plating tank needs to be maintained at 110 degrees. What are the pitfalls of using room temp? And if need the heater after all, is there a way to prevent the issue with it taking the plating? Were you guys aware that this problem occurs? I’m not a scientist but I’m puzzled as to how the heater element acted as a cathode.
      thanks,
      Jack

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      • #4
        BTW, neglected to add that I'm pretty sure the heater element was not in contact with any of my wires - and even it it did make occasional contact, it could not have yielded that much plating with that poorly conductive wire I was using. That heater element now has one helluva good layer of zinc on it.

        So would it be safe to assume that I can reverse plate that element by setting it up as an anode?

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        • #5
          NO. Do not reverse plate it. you may contaminate the solution. Room temp is just fine for the solution, it is meant for areas where the shop may be colder in the winter time. not well defined I know.
          --
          Jason Vanderbroek
          315 946 1213 x116
          www.caswellplating.com

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          • #6
            Yeah, being in Houston, cold is not much of an issue. I suppose IF it works best to have the plating tank warmed up to 110, I’ll just make sure to pull the heater before plating. Anyway, you guys might want to put something in your directions about using those heaters in CopyCad.

            BTW, the solution for my copper wire was to sandblast the heck out of it. NOW (without whatever coating it had) it yields continuity at any point. Looking forward to seeing how this works now.

            thanks!

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            • #7
              Jason, made another test run to plate some parts. Went with some larger bolts/screws and even a heavier copper wire to make sure current gets through. That may be my problem - too many amps? I’m getting some dark plating which includes a bit of a dark grey swirls with some brownish hints. Almost the same look as tarnishing silver. I’ve attached a pic. Any thoughts?

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              • #8
                By the way, should we always pull the zinc anodes out of the bath while not in use or is it ok to leave them in? I've read nothing in the instructions that recommends this....?

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                • #9
                  check your in box
                  --
                  Jason Vanderbroek
                  315 946 1213 x116
                  www.caswellplating.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jason, not sure how to reply outside this forum.

                    The bolts were either zinc or cad. Can you tell the difference? Had some good rust on one so let them soak in muriatic acid until the fizz stopped and they turned grey.

                    They were well rinsed and then simmered in the degreaser for several minutes.

                    Could residual cad, zinc or acid still be in the pores of the metal and thus cause the discoloration?

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