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    We are in the throes of updating the manual, and redesigning several of our plating kits and operating procedures.

    We need your input so that we can 'fine tune' our techniques, and where better to obtain this than from the real world where our customers are using these kits every day.

    If you have found settings that give you a good result please post your data here as a reply.

    We need:

    1. Type of plating kit
    2. Current density, or the actual plating current (amps)
    3. the surface area of the work.
    4. The voltage for #2.
    5. Plating time and temperature.

    This doesn't need to be restricted to Constant Current Control Power Supplies only, the same info for non-CC can be adapted.
    Mike Caswell
    Caswell Inc
    Need Support? Visit our online support section at

  • #2
    Common guys, let's help out Mike!
    (I e-mailed my copper/nickel plating procedures to Mike last week)

    George W.
    Orlando, FL


    • #3
      Here's what works for me, YMMV.

      CopyCad & Zinc plating kit: (w/out brightener)

      All figures were derived using Constant Current power supply.

      General settings & observations:

      Current Density: 80-100 mA/sq-in.

      Surface area: limited only by anode surface area. I have plated parts up to 68sq in. I use 2 anodes of 6"x8"each

      Electrolyte temperature: 60-70º F.

      Anode-Cathode separation: 4-6 inches, w/2 anodes on opposite sides of electrolyte tank.

      Voltage: Variable. Proportional to surface area being plated, proportional to anode-cathode separation, and inversely proportional to electrolyte temperature (see examples below).

      Plating time: 15 minutes per mil plate thickness @ 100mA/sq-in.

      Some specific examples: (pictures posted in photo album 2/18/05) Pictures show parts before plating, after plating, after acid etch, and final finish (blackening).

      Example 1:

      Automotive spring U-bolt

      surface area: 23 sq-in

      Anode-part separation: 6"

      electrolyte temp: 65º F

      CC current: 2.2A indicated on meter, @ 95 mA/sq-in. current density

      Voltage (measured): 0.6v

      Time: 15 minutes = 1 mil plate

      Blackener dip: 10 minutes

      Example 2:

      Automotive spring mounting plate

      surface area: 48 sq-in

      Anode-part separation: 6"

      electrolyte temp: 70ºF

      CC current: 4.5A indicated on meter, @ 94 mA/sq-in. current density

      Voltage (measured): 0.9v

      Time: 30 minutes = 2 mil plate

      Example 3:

      Automotive nuts for above U-bolts - 16 ea.

      surface area: 2.8 sq in per nut, x16 = 44.8 sq-in, plus 22 sq in for copper basket mesh = 66.8 sq-in. total

      Anode-part separation: average 5" (due to dipping basket width)

      electrolyte temp: 65ºF

      CC current: 6.6A indicated on meter, @ 99 mA/sq-in. current density

      Voltage (measured): 1.3v

      Time: 15 minutes = 1 mil plate

      Blackener dip: 10 minutes

      I only use a CC power supply. After struggling with the kit supplied wall-wart, I have concluded that this unregulated power supply is too difficult to work with, can't handle anything but very small parts, and requires too much time to plate many parts and/or large parts.

      As you can see from my comments above on Voltage, using an unregulated power supply means you have to manually adjust one or more of anode-part separation, temperature and/or surface area, in order to dial-in the desired current density. Then if you change the part size, you have to dial-it-in all over again. Too much trouble.
      Last edited by mcaswell; 10-24-2005, 03:06 PM.
      Seans Zinc Plating page


      • #4
        Thanks, Seanc.
        Very complete and informative.


        • #5
          Addendum to my previous post. I failed to mention my agitation method.

          I use cheap ($10-15) Rio 600 aquarium pumps to circulate the electrolyte. They are submersible, using a magnetic impeller drive, w/fully encapsulated motor (i.e. no metal is ever exposed to the electrolyte).

          I’ve been using them in both zinc & anodizing baths and they work good. One is enough for a 2 gallon bucket w/1.5 gallons of liquid. I occasionally use 2 in my bigger 3 gallon tank.

          I have posted some new web pages (pictures & videos) illustrating the agitation, parts fizzing, a simple dipping basket, and some thoughts on surface area estimations.

          Seans Zinc Plating page