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Plating on Polyester Resin

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  • Plating on Polyester Resin

    I've been working on replicating some Revolutionary War period headgear parts, originally made in stamped brass, by taking castings from the originals and making fiberglass/resin copies. I then plan to coat these with conductive paint and plate them, some with brass, others with nickel.

    I'd appreciate hearing from anyone else who's tried something along these lines, just to get a sense for best materials, techniques, possible pitfalls, etc.

    The pieces will be curved, about 12" X 10". Is this too large to try brush-on plating?

    I have some Caswell copper conductive paint. Since it's water-based, I primed the surface with spray gesso to get an even coating with the copper. Is this going to create problems? Should I go for the new silver paint Caswell is offering? I gather that has a different base, and adheres nicely to plastics.

    Any/all advice greatly appreciated; I'm completely new to this process.
    RevWar

  • #2
    Unfortunately I never had much luck flash copper plating any of the paints. Word is that you should go directly to nickel bath with the conductive paints. You might want to try that first and save yourself the disappointment of seeing the conductive paint floating to the top of the flash copper bath.

    Kind regards,
    Ken

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    • #3
      in my experience if you go directly to nickel it will peel off after plate
      if you go to flash cooper it will take the paint off
      I have never been able to plate on any kind of non conductive .

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      • #4
        Keep us posted on how you come along with this. It looks very expensive.

        Kind regards,
        Ken

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        • #5
          Any luck with the conductive paint?

          Ken

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          • #6
            I've pretty much decided that I should do this with Silvaspray, rather than the copper paint, to maximize the chances of success. The fiberglass/resin piece took quite a bit of effort to produce, and I'd rather take my time than make a mess of it.

            Of course, this means setting myself up with an airbrush, since the Silvaspray can't be brushed.

            How does the nickel bath work, in case I should do that before going on to electroplating?
            RevWar

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            • #7
              For best results you should Bright Acid Copper plate onto the Silvasprayed part. You can then plate with most other kits.
              --
              Mike Caswell
              Caswell Inc
              http://www.caswellplating.com
              Need Support? Visit our online support section at http://support.caswellplating.com

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              • #8
                Look here http://www.caswellplating.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=2916

                I agree with the nickel strike over silvaspray, could not get silvaspray to accept acid copper.

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                • #9
                  Acid copper will plate readily and easily onto Silvaspray. This is something we have done, and something many, many customers do.
                  --
                  Mike Caswell
                  Caswell Inc
                  http://www.caswellplating.com
                  Need Support? Visit our online support section at http://support.caswellplating.com

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                  • #10
                    confused

                    Not really familiar with many of these products but, am familiar with fiberglass and composites. Ive had problems with bonding agents in the past between some gel coats prior to manufacture of carbon and fiberglass motorcycle and car parts. Maybe bonding characterists may be better if the silvaspay is sprayed directly into the mold and fiberglass is layed over while is tacky. may save some finishing work if the the mold is worthy. Let me know how your product turns out , I need to finish some carbon products in chrome butI am not familiar with this process..

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                    • #11
                      Re: Plating on Polyester Resin

                      I have done this using silvapaint( I brushed it). However I face problems with copper build up in the edges and problem controlling the thickness, any solution on this?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Plating on Polyester Resin

                        Originally posted by mcaswell
                        For best results you should Bright Acid Copper plate onto the Silvasprayed part. You can then plate with most other kits.
                        Mike, I have been following these pages and your site for years. I am almost ready to take the plunge. As an expert composites manufacturer, I too have many questions on the plastic plating. Is there a reason for only doing a 15 minute acid copper dip?
                        I read this on another post.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Plating on Polyester Resin

                          The 15 minutes in the acid copper is all that's required to get a good enough layer to move onto the next plating step. However, if you want to electroform with the copper, you can plate for hours, even days.
                          --
                          Lance Caswell
                          Caswell Inc
                          http://www.caswellplating.com
                          Need Support? Visit our online support section at http://support.caswellplating.com

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