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Plating both sides

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  • Plating both sides

    Newbie here so be kind

    I am looking to plate a flat "lattace" type piece and would like to plate both sides. From reading it looks like only the side nearest the anode would get plated unless I would setup two anodes, one on each side of the piece.

    If using two anodes is the same current used (which would be split between the anodes) or does the current need to be doubled? Also, would it be possible (or adviseable) to rotate the part using just one anode?

    And the last question (finally). I have a 20 amp 12v switching power supply. Can I successfully use that (with proper amp limiters) instead of a battery?
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  • #2
    Surface area of the part determines the amperage, it's the same with multiple anodes (should be roughly 2:1 anode to SA by the way).
    Rotating the part may work in the copper, I don't know about the nickle it may passivate on you and not plate. The chrome you could probably do if you don't break the connection. I'm not familiar with switching PS, don't know.


    • #3
      1. My recommendation would be to set up two anodes and plate both sides at once, if it is a flat object. There are ways to rotate parts but in your case it doesn't seem worth it. You'll get plating on the opposite side because Caswell's nickel has excellent throw (as does the copper), but it won't be as complete a coating as if you had two anodes.

      2. fxstcguy is correct; the current (amperage) will be determined by the total surface area, not by the number of anodes.

      3. Your 12V power supply will work as long as 20 amps is sufficient for the part you are plating based on surface area. Having said that, DO NOT CONNECT the supply to the system without proper current limiting!! You will burn your part. Use resistors, rheostats, light bulbs, whatever you want--but use an ammeter to measure the current and adjust the resistors to get the current you need based on the total area to be plated.

      In my system, given the temperatures I run the baths, the size of the parts, the anodes I use, etc. I generally measure about 1.4 volts or less between my nickel anode and the part when the current is set correctly. But PLEASE do not use this to set up your system since no two plating systems are alike. I offer this to make the point that 12V will be more than you'll ever need. In fact, if you use a 5V computer switching power supply you will probably still have more voltage than you'll ever need for nickel or copper.

      By the way just to show how much the anode to cathode (item to be plated) voltage can vary: with my flash copper setup, I measure 1.2-1.4V when I use copper anodes with the plating current properly set based on the surface area. When I use 316 stainless anodes, I see 2.4-2.6V for the same part, same current setting. The resistivity of the system changes due to the difference in anode materials. And, it all changes significantly with solution temperature....the voltage drops as the temperature rises. This says that to get the best result monitor the temperature and keep it as constant as you can.



      • #4
        Thanks for the info. I read how to figure the amperage needed. I just wasn't sure how using two anodes would effect things. I did find a 5V 10A power supply that might be better to use then the 12v supply.

        Each part has about 4 sq. in. of surface (haven't figured out exactly) and I think I should be able to plate 4 parts at once for a total 16 I plan on using bulbs to limit the current.

        That should put me at about 1 amp for acid copper and the copy chrome if I'm reading the manual correctly.

        I'm looking to try and plate plastic and I know that it may be one of hardest things to plate and may not be the best place to learn on but I'm willing to give it a try since plastic is really what I want to learn to plate.

        Thanks again for the info!!!
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