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I want to electroform dead scorpions and bugs. Would this be like plating a flower?

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I have a small Nickel electroforming company. We Electroform optical reflectors from stainless steel substrates. At certain times of the year, we get all kinds of bugs from scorpions and preying mantis's that die in our shop. We want to try to electroform a shell of nickel on the scorpion, rhodium plate it and see if we can sell them in knick knack stores. I have some experience with non conductive surfaces like glass and plastic, but not bugs. I was thinking of a sequence of lacquer,silver nitrate,nickel electroform,rhodium and then the store. Any suggestions?

Kelly Pichel
- Aguanga, California


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Several years ago (perhaps 8 or 10) an article in The Metal Finishing Magazine reported on the subject. Maybe you can get a reprint or a copy of that old issue from the editorial house or through this site's advertisers.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


First of two simultaneous responses -- ++++++

Dear Kelly,
Yes you can do it. First apply a water proof nonconductive coating by spray or brush. This is to save the 'bug' from bloating and losing its shape in the plating bath. Then go ahead the way you mentioned in your letter.
Good luck.

T.K. Mohan
    plating process supplier 
Mumbai, India


Second of two simultaneous responses -- ++++++

Refer a book
1-immerse in 1.5% solution HgCL2 ,dry and coat with lacquer or beeswax
2-conductive layer -graphite in alcohol, and dry
3-brush off excess
4-wire and plate
good luck


Cair Shishani
aircraft maintenance - Al Ain, United Arab Emirates


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Beats plating live ones but----
PLEASE don't try this in your production tank. Scorpions may contain chemicals which will enhance your plating - but I would not want to put money on it. It is much more likely that it will have adverse effects on stress, brightness or both and cost more to rectify than your potential gain.
It is much safer to put a small quantity of solution in a separate beaker with its own anode.
If you want to maintain your usual temperature, suspend the container in the tank, but don't spill the contents into the main solution.

Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England


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I do investment casting(Lost wax) we did some bugs last year in Sterling Silver (just a couple, for fun). Procedure is a lot simpler than metallization. All I did was spray with lacquer to harden and shape the bug. Attached a wax sprue, tree, invest, burn-out and cast.

Once casted and clean, it can be replicated by making rubber molds and make wax patterns for casting metals such as brass, bronze, sterling Silver or gold.

Hamilton Solidum
- Mays Landing, New Jersey


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Use the resources available. www.finishing.com/chemicals/

Russell Richter
- Danbury, Connecticut, USA

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