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  • filtering the Bath Solution - CopyCad

    After a number of plating sessions, I have what appears to be dirt at the bottom of the tank. Is it ok to filter this solution to clean out dirt and or dust that may have fallen into the bath?

  • #2
    Try the easy way first. Simply filter the solution through a plastic coffee filter. I'm not talking about the paper variety which will take forever. I mean the pre-made plastic strainer variety. They are extremely fine mesh and will filter out dust, lint, bugs, chunks of metal and sediment that might have settled into the tank. You might not see much happen till you are close to the bottom of the tank.

    I lay out paper, use a second tank the same size as the original, and a plastic cup to move the solution from one tank to the next via the filter. But if your tank is large you might have to use a tube to siphon the tank. Just don't be tempted to use your mouth to start the siphon process. Fill the tube with distilled water, block it with your gloved finger, put the other end into the plating tank. When you remove your finger the water will run out of the tube and pull the plating fluid with it as long as the end of the tube is a foot or so below the bottom of the original tank. Direct it through your filter into the secondary tank. You can reverse the process after you clean up the original tank, if you want.

    Ken

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dadkar2
      Just don't be tempted to use your mouth to start the siphon process
      Why, does CopyCad solution taste any worse than gasoline ?
      (kidding)

      Thanks Ken. I happen to have something similar on hand, a bunch of those professional paint filters they give you when you buy paint from an auto paint store. Similar to coffee filters, the ultra fine mesh type that is.

      One of my concerns was that I could filter out some of the necessary "stuff" in the solution but since all the crystals are fully dissolved, I guess that doesn't make sense?

      One other thing, I want to store the solution until I need it again in an air tight container. The pails they come in are great except you have to damage them to re-open them once you've fully sealed them.
      Have you found any really convenient storage containers for the solution?

      Thanks again,
      Charlton

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      • #4
        Charlton:

        I've filtered my electrolyte 3 times in the past year and a half. It still works fine. I've found that my electrolyte develops enough sedimentation to completely cloud the solution after doing a few hunderd sq-inches of plate. It also collects the occasional bug & other dirt while it's being used.

        Kens right, the paper filters take forever. They'll plug up w/in a couple of quarts. I used 12 paper filters the first I did my 4 gallons.

        So I rigged up a better one. Got an in-line activated charcoal filter canister (the type used to feed a refirgerator water tap), and some plastic tubing.

        Now when I want to filter the solution, I hang the filter above the tank, plumb the tubing to my aquarium pump agitator, and turn it on. It's not fast, but after a few hours, the sedimentation is gone and the solution is clear again, and no manual labor involved.

        Have you found any really convenient storage containers for the solution?
        I've switched to clear plastic rectangular containers w/snap-lock tops. Various sizes can be had at most home-improvement or department stores. The tops aren't 100% air tight, but tight enough to prevent most evaporation when not in use, and the tops go on and off easily.



        This tank is actually supposed to be a file folder box. The built-in rails on each end are handy for hanging anodes & thermometers from. This pic also shows how cloudy the electrolyte was before filtering it.

        Sean
        Seans Zinc Plating page

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        • #5
          Ok, thanks again for the excellent info and pics.

          Now if I could only find Ammonium Hydroxide for less than $50

          I suppose Caswell doesn't sell it because....

          A). It's a HAZ MAT item ?
          B). It's rarely needed ?

          By the way, no response from them yet about the temperature of the solution (165F) possibly causing the pH to go so low. My brand new thermostat I purchased from them decided to malfunction on first use and did not turn off the heater so the temp soared to 165F before I noticed something was wrong. A rap on the sensor and thermostat got it working... but not before it almost boiled my solution. Maybe that has no effect anyway?

          I may have to contact them again.

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          • #6
            The carbon filter sounds like a good idea. Just beware that sometimes the carbon will deplete the solution of the organic additives, like brightener. You may have to recharge the brightener after that.

            I agree with Sean regarding the tank. The round buckets don't work dimensionally for the parts I do. I use some polypropylene plastic containers from The Container Store. They have snap locking lids and rubber gaskets. They seal almost airtight. Here is the style of container I use, available in different sizes:

            http://www.containerstore.com/browse...p;PRODID=60176

            I love the sealing lids to the point where I'll stick with multiple individual tanks to accommodate that advantage. I have been using them for years with absolutely no problems.

            Ken

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            • #7
              Ken:

              The carbon filter sounds like a good idea. Just beware that sometimes the carbon will deplete the solution of the organic additives, like brightener. You may have to recharge the brightener after that.
              You're absolutely right, I forgot to mention that. The "Brightener" is an organic compound, and filtering will remove it, as I found when I first used paper coffee filters.

              Fortunately, I stopped using the brightener, since it proved to be incompatible w/the oxide "blackener". And good chromates do their own brightening.

              The Container Store tubs look similar to mine. Price seems a bit high though, I got mine (@ 4-gallon cap.) at Wal-Mart for @ $6.00

              Sean
              Seans Zinc Plating page

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