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plating non metal surfaces (plastics for instance)

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  • plating non metal surfaces (plastics for instance)

    I was just wondering if anyone can provide me with information regarding plating non conductive surfaces.

    I would assume a silver paint would have to be used to prime the area. For small areas , is the use of a brush advisable? Any suggestions for another material?

    Would a conductive grease work as a substrate to plate to?

    I only want to plate copper and was wondering if there was any particular type of copper to use (acid copper for instance).

    I will be plating a thin coat of copper (thousandths of an inch thick) and eventually running a current through it.

    Does anyone forsee any problems with running current through after plating?

    Thanks for your helpful suggestions.


  • #2
    Acid Copper Plating

    You need to use Acid Copper Plating bath for Non-Metallics.

    The material must be made acid and waterproof first...then a conductive coating sprayed on it.

    Caswell's Silvaspray or a Copper powder-lacuer base spray. Anodes should be Phosphorous type for smooth coating and good leveling.

    You don't want to use any type of conductive 'grease'...the items must be grease-free in order for the plating to take effect.

    It's highly recommended that you use a continuous power source...Rectifier unit to control the plating you desire...although a 6-volt deep power auto battey setup is possible...which is described in the Caswell Plating manual.

    There should be no trouble running electric power through the plkated item as copper is a base metal core used in manufacturing motors, etc. Copper conducts electricity well.

    Hey...look at the 'Copper Top' batteries

    Best of luck to you...Take care.
    - etcc
    "1,200 Year Old Highlander Immortal"


    • #3
      Ive been having bad results at the moment with silvaspray, though i reckon a great part of the prob is that my parts are very hard to wire up correctly for decent current flow, but brush painted results have been awful. Seems the brushstrokes affect the way the silver particles settle and cause uneven plating.
      Ive found you will need to up the plating times considerably to get a decent deposit.
      Anone on here had good results with silvaspray? did you use longer plating times/higher current?


      • #4
        Conductive Coating

        For optimum results you really need to spray the conductive coat onto the project you're plating to get a 'smooth coating'.

        You've already discovered that the brushing technique picks up the tiniest detail of the brush marks.

        Longer plating time wont fill them in or make them go away...just enhance them all the more.

        Silvaspray works great...but follow the instructions carefully as the 'secret' is all in the preparation for optimum quality finish...'before' spraying Silvaspray.

        You must have perfect adhesion otherwise you'd be just wasting your effort, time and money.
        - etcc
        "1,200 Year Old Highlander Immortal"


        • #5
          Re: plating non metal surfaces (plastics for instance)

          My partner and I are in the process of setting up a ?cottage?-level (no employees, really intended to simply supplement retirement income) jewellery-making business. In the course of enquiries now, it appears there may be opportunities associated with electroplating (to achieve silver or gold finish) various items associated with the sea, e.g. shells, coral, sea exoskeletons, etc.

          Can anyone suggest some source(s) for basic information? Obviously, we are dealing with non-metal surfaces.