Impending Developments

I’ve had some synchronistic pushes toward additional work on bright copper-plate, recently. I’m going to take the hint. This is still in the works…

As you may know, copper plating is trickier than just attaching alligator clips to chunks of metal and throwing them into a bathtub. First, there’s the matter of the the electrolyte having the right copper ions in solution with the correct level of acidity (copper sulphate and sulphuric acid being most common chemistry). Second, there’s the issue of “brighteners” and “levelers”, two chemistries that tend to be tightly guarded trade secrets (brighteners keep the copper grain size small and the finish shiny, the inhibitors even out the the level of deposition between the peaks and valleys of the surface being plated, and yes there is some overlap, roughly speaking).

I do not promise to equal the results of professional platers in my ramshackle workshop (I promise I won’t be able to do that, honest), but I think a reasonable homebrew facsimile can be achieved and communicated here. You might want to gather the following materials…

This is upcoming, ongoing, and will be presented “warts and all”. You will need (some if not all):

  1. A low voltage/high current variable DC power supply
  2. (More than one) Non-reactive vessel for plating (eg plastic or glass): clean pickle jars, grease-free margarine tub, etc.
  3. Jumper wires with alligator clips
  4. Stiff hanger wires (bare copper)
  5. Copper sulfate (AKA “root killer” from the hardware store), or copper chloride (spent copper etchant)
  6. Sulfuric acid drain cleaner (also from the hardware store)
  7. More coming…. STAY TUNED

4 Responses to “Impending Developments”

  1. Dan McKinney Says:

    Ahah! Now I see why you were interested in my experiments in electro-etching of copper. =)

    I am enjoying reading your various posts. You are a person of many interests!

    I hope that you will stay tuned and help me get past that 6mil barrier before I get blooming and corrosion with my set-up.

    I’ll be publishing more info soon on my experiments as well as posting pix of the “Frankenstein” connections.

  2. offlogic Says:

    *Super* and thanks for asking! I owe it all to hard drugs and comic books (which is a quote from a comic book, I just can’t source it at the moment).
    Electro-chemistry is two of my favorite things rolled into one.
    I was just happy to run across your reference to the Steampunk Workshop at the Cape Fear Press forum, since I’d lost their address, then re-found them and saw someone else was interested in etching, champlev√©, etc.
    Can’t wait for my Puretch order to arrive- steampunk saints need their icons!

    Best of luck with your projects, I’ll be watching your blog with interest.

  3. dan mckinney Says:

    How is your progress with Puretch. I am having consistency issues with film adherence even before I start the electro etch process.

    You might have discovered my note on the Journey site. I am now running pnp blue film alongside the Puretch to see what happens.

    Maybe I am not cleaning my copper correctly but if I prepare them any better , I won’t have any copper left to etch. =)


  4. dan mckinney Says:

    I continue down the road on etching copper.

    I have updated the journal after a long struggle with electro-etch consistency and a successful process development for using PNP Blue as the resist.

    Alas, I have bailed out of electro-etching and switched to acid etch process that I am delighted with.

    Details in the Journal.

    or if you want to leave a comment –

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