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"How to do copper plating"



An ongoing discussion beginning back in 1995 ...

1995

Q. I'm an absolute beginner in electroplating. I would like to copper some iron pieces (plate, pipe); so I've turned or filed to the desired dimension and shape. I've prepared a solution of copper sulfate [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] CuSO4 (~200 g/l) and H2SO4 (~5 g/l) in water (deionized). When I've used this solution with a copper wire as anode and with 10 mA/cm2 as maximum, the result was very bad. A lot of copper has deposited on iron but rinsing it under water-tap the copper goes away. So I've reduced current density also to zero: if I put iron in the same solution the result is the same: a lot of copper badly attached on iron, and under the copper the iron was oxidized (dark color).

Further attempts (current density between 0 and 100 mA/cm2; no H2SO4 or more than 10 g/l; CuSO4 from 50 g/l to 200 g/l) have produced the same result: I've also tried various polishing by inorganic (HCl, H2SO4, NaOH) and organic (tetrachloroethylene, turpentine, Acetone [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] ) solvents. Temperature of bath has always been around 18 °C. Only if I put iron pieces in the bath for few seconds and then rinse it, I can get a very very thin copper deposit (I was not able to measure it with .01 mm caliper) that's well attached to iron, but it's so thin that it isn't useful at all.

Where am I wrong? Many thanks in advance.  

Lapo Pieri
^


 

A. Hello, Lapo. If you (or a reader) wish to demo copper plating for a school science project, we have an FAQ: How Electroplating Works, that will give you easy instructions for the project.

But sorry, your approach won't work for functional electroplating applications because copper is more "noble" than iron and will (as you saw) deposit on steel or cast iron without any current applied. This is called an "immersion deposit" and it usually has virtually no adhesion. Still, make sure that your component is absolutely clean (waterbreak-free) and that current is applied to the part before & while it goes into the plating tank ("hot entry") because that will help a little towards discouraging immersion plating.

The preplate cleaning should consist of caustic cleaning (detergent and NaOH) followed by an acid dip (HCl). But for onesy-twosy work you can scrub the part with a tampico brush and powdered Pumice [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] as an alternate to caustic cleaning, and use a diluted HCl for activation.

For functional copper plating on steel you need to either electroplate an initial layer from a nickel strike bath, or from a copper cyanide (very dangerous poison) bath before you will be able to use the copper sulfate bath; these will not immersion deposit. You probably will be best off with proprietary additives (brighteners) to get good, bright, plating.

Electroplating involves working with hazardous chemicals, so it may not be an ideal casual hobby. If your desire is simply to get copper plating on the parts, as opposed to doing copper plating as a hobby and learning experience, plating is a jobshop industry and there should be a commercial plating shop available in your area. Good luck!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


1997

A. It is not something you would let children do without supervision, and some people might not find it impressive, but I did find a way to plate coins with copper metal. If you insist on trying to plate outside of an industrial environment, at least you won't be using concentrated acids, metal salts, and etc.

I tried to find a way to do this using only nontoxic chemicals (aside from the copper itself), but I needed to use some ethylene glycol. This stuff is toxic, has a sweet taste (or so I am told), and pets and children might be tempted to taste it, so it must be handled by adults and stored in locked cabinets. On the other hand, anything containing copper is not good to drink, and there is enough salt in this solution to act as an emetic.

All of these tests should be done under adult supervision, and the learning experience is bound to be better this way. Depending on the age of the witnesses, you can cover all sorts of exciting things, from cleaning coins with toothpaste to chemical calculations of normality and concentration to electrochemical equivalents. Except for the brightening agent, all other supplies are household items. The ethylene glycol should be stored in childproof areas, and the test solution should be dumped at the end of any experiment. All containers should be labeled, even as you are using them, as a matter of normal laboratory practice.

The solution described is low in the concentration of copper, as far as plating solutions go. If all of my electrolysis converted my copper anode to copper ions, and all of it ended up in the sewer we are talking about:

e =i x r
1.5 =i x 15 ohms
i x 15 = 1.5
i = 0.1 amps

"Electroplating Engineering Handbook"
by Larry Durney
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ASM Metals Handbook Vol. 5: "Surface Engineering"
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If you run the cell for 2 hours, that's 0.2 ampere hours. Looking up cupric ion, we see that we deposit/dissolve 1.19 grams of copper metal per ampere hour. So the most we could dump down the drain is 0.24 grams, not an ecological nightmare. The final concentration of the cell of 100 cc, after 1 hour of electrolysis, could reach 2.4 grams/liter (this is unlikely, as gassing is very evident, indicating that we are not operating at 100% efficiency).

tom & pooky   toms signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania
^


"Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments that Make Science Fun"
by Steve Spangler
from Abe Books
or
info on Amazon

2000

Hello, Where can I buy some ethylene glycol? Where can I get chemistry equipment in general? I have been searching the net but can only find industrial sites. I don't really need 1 MT of CuSO4!

Great site by the way. Kudos!. Am I correct in assuming that the above formulae for copper plating doesn't require CuSO4?

Thanks for your help.

Eamon Captian
- New York
^


2000

Thanks for the kind words, Eamon. I believe that standard automotive anti-freeze is basically ethylene glycol, although it contains some corrosion inhibitors, but check the label. Yes, you are correct that Tom has described a plating process that does not require copper sulphate.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



2000

Suggestions: I tried your household plating experiment and needed to make the following revisions -

ABSTRACT

The solution is now ready to use as prescribed by your directions. This formula has been tested 25+ times. Thank you very much.

John Markgraf
^


2000

My ol' dad was keen to try and copper plate some leaves but couldn't get the copper to 'stick'.

I sprayed the leaves first with zinc plate (ordinary Cold Galvanizing Compound / Zinc Rich Paintaerosol can of for car bodywork) then dunked these in an ice cream tub of copper sulfate [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] with just a tiny drop of H2SO4 (from my car battery) and connected the car battery charger to a piece of copper pipe (about 8 inches) and the other side to the coated leaf. I did put a small 12 volt bulb in series with it all to limit the current but I ended up with quite a nice copper coated leaf. My old man was highly delighted.

John Rostron
- United Kingdom
^


2000

I am looking for a reasonably simple process in which I can plate copper metal onto a nonconducting substrate such as Kapton or Mylar (both plastics). Electroless would be preferable, but not necessary. If anyone knows of a particular kit I could purchase that would be even better, although not necessary.

Nikolas Uhlir
- Alexandria, Virginia
^


2001

FOR Nikolas

MIX 1 TO 3, PRE THINNED VARNISH WITH COPPER POWDER, ATTACHING WIRE TO OBJECT AND COATING WIRE END UP INSULATION ABOUT 1/4 INCH. LIGHTLY DUST WITH SAME POWDER. THEN PLATE AS NORMAL (ALLOWING VARNISH TO DRY 12 HOURS.--WORKS FOR ME 1 PART-POWDER/3 PARTS TH.VARNISH).

PHILIP CAMP
- PHENIX CITY, Alabama
^




2002

Now if you're game, try this … it works beautifully. Buy K-77 Root Killer [affil. link to info/product on Amazon]. Mix one lb. to one gallon distilled water, bath temp approx. 75 degrees. Purchase a paint product from your local dealer of bright copper, metallic spray paint (not the real cheapo). Clean your substrate then spray it good. Allow one hour to dry then plate as usual. Man it comes out salmon pink.

Good luck,

Philip Camp
- Phenix City, Alabama
^


"Electroplating"
by Lowenheim
from Abe Books
or

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2002

It may be against Federal law to use root killer in a way not in accordance with the indications for use as a root killer. Does anyone know what this stuff is, chemically?

tom pullizzi monitor   tom pullizi signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls
Township, Pennsylvania

^


2002

Proprietary products rarely tell you what they are 100%, because then everyone could copy them and claim them to be identical and all their development and marketing efforts wasted, but most root killer is essentially copper sulphate pentahydrate. Yes, there may be some contaminants that could be non-ideal for plating applications. Be beware that some root killers like RootX are NOT copper sulphate.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


Root Killer

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2003

The composition of K77 root Killer is > 99% Copper Sulfate. Here is the Cornell University site for the Material Safety Data Sheet: http://msds.pdc.cornell.edu/msds/msdsdod/a246/m122546.htm#Section2

Robert Sensenstein
- Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
^

----
Ed. note: Thanks, Robert. Sorry readers, that domain name no longer works.




2007

Q. I am a 'classic car 'restorer, and one of my biggest headaches is the quality of commercial electroplating work, It is simply not possible, here in the UK, to find any electroplating shop that is willing to spend the required time, and degree of care and understanding necessary when dealing with unique, irreplaceable auto parts.
I have attempted my own dull nickel plating process, with far better end results than any plating shop has ever produced for me, and I would like to try my own duplex chrome plating. This naturally entails an acid copper system (I would use nickel as a strike coat) Proprietary solutions are very expensive compared to commercially available forms of copper sulphate crystals, but I have read, in an item on this website, that there is more to a good acid copper solution than simple copper sulphate and sulphuric acid.
Is this important, given that it is only a 'base coat' for a further two coats of nickel, before the chrome?
Apart from this, is 'agricultural' copper sulphate, i.e., weed killer, too impure to use as the basis for electroplating solution? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,

Michael Holloway
classic auto restoration - Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England
^


"The Canning Handbook of Surface Finishing Technology"
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or

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2007

A. Hi, Michael. The purpose of the copper plating (in this case) is to be soft and buffable; most people probably consider "show chrome" to mean highly buffed copper plating under the nickel. But if you are not planning to buff the copper to a mirror shine, I think you'd be better off leaving out the copper plating, and just starting directly with nickel -- that's what most OEMs have done for many years now.

Electroplating shops do not make their copper plating processes from root killer, although they use a great deal of copper sulphate and thus have the potential for saving a lot. If you want to do better work than they, I can't really see using root killer, but only very pure products.

Try to borrow or buy a cheap copy of the Metal Finishing Guidebook or the Canning Handbook to see the principal differences between professional acid copper plating solutions and root killer, and to what extent they are or aren't important to you in your particular situation.

Good luck!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


January 14, 2008

I found this letter while researching copper plating techniques, and I know it's an old thread by now, but it was the first relevant one I saw. In any case, thank you, because it did have the answers to most of my questions.

I do need to say, however, I am a little put off by the attitudes taken by the professionals who have been answering these questions here. Although your first response, Ted, did give a detailed answer to Lapo's question, it ended with and was followed by little more than thinly-veiled dismissal of any inquirers' ability to understand the chemistry behind it and not drink blue vitriol or HCl.

Granted, it is important to warn a complete beginner of the dangers of things like sulfuric acid, but Lapo at the very least showed enough of a grasp of chemistry to understand acids and know how to read MSDS datasheets. And even though Michael Holloway had limited experience with electroplating as well, his knowledge and concern for the importance of the finish on rare car parts is most likely much greater than that of someone who in plating those parts is being paid to repeat the same type of procedures as the last hundred times. It's somewhat similar to why fast food is sloppier and lower quality than its finer restaurant or gourmet counterparts.

And speaking of root killer and MSDS, I did some research and found the datasheet for K-77 Root Killer on the website of the manufacturer, Roebic, here www.roebic.com/pdf/K-77RootKillerMSDS.pdf
It is, in fact, >99% pure Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate - the same purity as the LR (low resistivity) grade CuSO4·5H2O that is, according to my further research, commonly used in electroplating applications. Furthermore, I've found nothing anywhere that would indicate that K-77 is any more restricted in legal use than copper sulfate under any other brand, which makes sense - it is no different and includes no other chemicals, and is mostly environmentally safe (disposal via plumbing is ok, dumping in lakes and rivers discouraged but ok in small amounts) except in amounts or concentrations significantly greater than you'll find at Home Depot.

But yes, proprietary solutions do consist of more than copper sulfate and sulfuric acid. they usually also add small (very small) amounts of HCl, because chlorides at 30-100 ppm (depending on the rest of the solution) helps brighten the plating. So does the brightener, usually the main or only proprietary component that I've seen in professional solutions. For an example of the chemical composition of a brightener, check out this patent www.freepatentsonline.com/3715289.html

So, it might be easier just to buy some other company's - in my case anyway, that's where my tinkering with chemistry gives way to my wallet. Expensive, likely. Necessary? The professionals will always tell you yes. It's just my opinion as a casual idiot, but I've seen a few people achieve great results without it.

That's my casual, inexperienced two bits. Likely nobody reads this anyway, but maybe I added something worthwhile.

Kellin Mavis
- Houston, Texas
^


January 14, 2008

Thanks for your input, Kellin. About 1300 people visit this thread every month, so your contribution will certainly be appreciated!

You could be right that Lapo isn't the beginner he claims to be. But please remember that internet forums are giant one-room schoolhouses, read by 3rd graders and post-doctorates alike, so when someone labels their question as coming from "an absolute beginner", less experienced readers will certainly be expected to be addressed at that level, and need to be warned about things like the hazards of cyanide plating. Dozens of trained professionals have died working with it, including 6 at Bastion Plating in 1984, and a man in my very own town died a few years ago doing cyanide copper plating on his kitchen table, also putting the first-responding police officer in the hospital.

K-77 may well be a root killer that is 99%+ copper sulphate as you say, but you've illustrated the hazard of the procedure perfectly because if others instead select RootX, for example, they get a herbicide with NO copper sulphate.

An "absolute beginner" may not realize that jobshop plating services are readily available, so I advised of that option as well because being "a little put off" can cut both ways:
Many people love boat maintenance, for example, and are happy as a clam spending the day with a beer in one hand and a scraper in the other -- but I'd rather be in a dentist chair. I repeatedly ask on boating sites where I can get so-and-so fixed, only to have people thinking they are doing me a big favor by insisting that I can do it myself instead of answering my question :-)

You may enjoy hobby plating, but others can't stand it, and may appreciate learning that they can get it done rather than having to do it themselves :-)

Ad-hominem postings are distracting, time-consuming, and dilute the useful content of a site -- so please continue to offer advice and contradict any statements you disagree with, but please don't derail the discussion by criticizing myself or other posters. Thanks again.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


January 17, 2008

Q. Specifically doing a sixth grade science project and trying to be the good Dad. Do you think a potato battery will generate enough current to copper plate a small brass key. Can I use copper sulfate dissolved in white vinegar? Amount of copper sulfate to vinegar required? Using a 2 inch piece of copper pipe hammered flat on other wire.

Scott Durham
- Charleston South Carolina
^


January 18, 2008

A. Sorry, but a single potato battery will not suffice, Scott -- although a half-dozen hooked up 3 x 2 or 2 x 3 in series-parallel might!

Any copper sulphate you add will be to the good; it's not critical. So I'd say add enough to give a light to medium blue color. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



February 18, 2008

Q. I am a grade nine student trying to perform copper plating with common kitchen products. Mom says nothing too dangerous. My Dad is away, so it's just me and my Mom. We have already used the battery and copper wires in some salt water to see what happens, so I think to take it further would be an interesting project. Every project known to man is already being done. I would love to do something different this year. Thanks to anyone that can help

dalton scott
student - Canada
^


Graphic Chart Tape

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February 21, 2008

A. See our FAQ on How Electroplating Works for the details for super-safe copper plating for school projects, Dalton -- you can tell your mom that no chemicals except vinegar are used.

As for something different: have you ever decorated easter eggs by writing on the eggs with a white wax crayon or otherwise masking areas before dyeing to keep that area from absorbing dye? Maybe you can clean up a quarter real well, then make symbols with very thin strips of tape or nail polish before copper plating it? Electroplating often involves masking like that.

Best of luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


October 6, 2008

Q. I have done everything you say from cleaning the surface of the metal & preparing the solution of plating. Everything is good. I wait a time until drying the plating, but when I start to ensure of plating stabilization the plating is not attached & not stabilized on the metal & it goes off & the metal go back to being without plating.
Please I want your help if I have to use stabilizer materials to can make fixation of the plating
thanks,

Khaled Hamed
master study - Isreal - Gaza
^


October 12, 2008

A. Hi, Khaled. This thread has grown long and rambling, so although you say you've done everything we've talked about, I'm not clear what metal you are trying to apply to what substrate from what kind of solution :-)

But to re-state it from the beginning, you cannot electroplate copper directly onto steel with good adhesion from a copper sulphate solution. Is that what you were trying to do?

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


July 10, 2009

Q. I tried this process as described above, but I can't get adhesion to pewter. It works great on dimes and nickels, but I have some pewter medallions that I want to copper plate and it just gets a black film that wipes off leaving the pewter looking a little greyer than before, but otherwise unchanged. Anyone know what I need to do differently? It is lead-free pewter, but I don't know the actual composition.

By the way … The method does work BEAUTIFULLY on nickels and dimes! Just not pewter.

Nathanael Logsdon
- Charlestown, Indiana
^


April 28, 2010

A. Hi, Nathanael. Modern lead-free pewter is 90+% tin, and tin is anodic to copper. That means copper sulphate tends to auto-deposit on pewter as a non-adherent immersion coating just as it auto-deposits on steel. You probably need cyanide copper plating (very dangerous) or a proprietary copper pyrophosphate solution (available from EPI (Electrochemical Products Inc.) [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] or Zinex). It is possible that hobby plating vendors offer proprietary copper pyrophosphate plating baths too. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


April 28, 2010

To make one liter of solution:

Copper sulfate crystal: 66 grams
Deionized or distilled water: 710 ml
35% Sulfuric acid: 290 ml
35% hydrochloric acid: 0.14 ml

Temperature of solution: 26 °C
Cathode current density: 30 Amps per square foot
Anode to Cathode surface area ratio = 2:1
Voltage: 5 to 12 Volts DC
Use air bubbles or mechanical stirring to agitate solution

Jonathan Howard
- London, U.K.
^

----
Ed. note: We thank Jonathan, but students and inexperienced hobbyists should know that, with 35% acids, he is no longer talking about the "safe" electroplating some of them were looking for: these are strong acids.


September 13, 2010

Q. Please explain electroplating of copper. We're doing an experiment where copper is the anode and a metal spoon is the cathode
What effect would temperature have on the appearance of the deposited copper?
What would be the electrodes and the electrolyte?

Teresa Vitale
- Perth, WA, Australia
^


September , 2010

A. Hi, Teresa

The anode and the cathode are the two electrodes. The electrolyte is whatever liquid you put them in. Hopefully you know what temperature is in terms of physical chemistry: it's movement or vibration of the atoms, so higher temperatures are going to aid ion mobility and result in faster electroplating. Whether it's "better" electroplating will depend on a lot of other factors, and I would guess that you are supposed to conduct an experiment to see the result. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


January 30, 2011

Q. Okay, so I need a little babysitting on my question /adventure, so please bear with me … I have taken general and organic chemistry in college, I do remember the basic principles, and have always varied a healthy caution, but am a lil rusty ;)

Similar to a gentleman earlier in this thread, I'm trying to copper plate an Auto part, and could really use some technical assistance!

Start with one 20 gallon gas tank that is 60" x 14" x 8", completely covered in rust. I've used the electrolysis to absolutely clean the internal to a beautiful shine, and now am ready to core the steel tank with a material that is far more rust resilient. The idea of being able to copper plate this fuel tank has become the focus of nearly two weeks of evening reading.

Is it possible to plate the tank from the inside out using copper wire, sheet, tube, etc? What type of solution and setup would be most likely to create a good bond between the steel and copper? I noticed on an earlier thread that a high amp charge will cause some carbonation (or darkening) to the surface of the copper. While I do intend to show off my (more or less, your) extremely high intelligence levels, I'm really willing to forego aesthetics for the functionality of the enhanced copper/steel container.

There are 2.5" diameter holes (for the neck where the fuel comes into the tank, and on the other side, a hole that the fuel gauge attaches) on opposite ends of the tank, so I could run a copper tube, wire, etc. through each hole or one at a time whichever would be most effective.

Thanks so much for any and all help!

justin tutka
freight carrier - milwaukie, oregon united states
^


January 31, 2011

A. Hi, Justin. Gasoline chemistry can be complex and I don't know if copper plating is compatible with gasoline. Plating blind inside a gas tank is exceptionally difficult for an experienced professional; the plating will only go where the electricity goes, and the electricity follows the path of least resistance (the shortest route). so I think you should do quite a bit practice with a less critical item before risking this item that you've worked hard on.

I think if I were you I would test immersion plating from a dilute copper sulphate bath on some similar item and see if you can get enough adhesion. Immersion plating will deposit evenly even in the corners. Put in a fresh fuel filter just in case :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


March 8, 2011

Q. I am curious about vinegar and salt the solution that includes a small amount of ethylene glycol. What does the ethylene glycol do? Is it a brightener? Something else?

Thanks,
Michael

Michael O'Quinn
- Bothell, Washington USA
^


March 8, 2011

A. Hi, Michael.

Something that we keep repeating is that the electroplating experiments we developed are super simple and safe electroplating procedure for elementary school students to demonstrate electroplating for their science projects -- but there was never any intention of it being practical for any actual application at all! Yes, the purpose of ethylene glycol (or better yet, sugar because it is safer), was to play the role of a brightener. Does it really work? Maybe a little bit; the plating is very thin and marginal, so it's hard to tell :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


January 1, 2013

Q. I have a 6" diameter by 8' long galvanized steel stove pipe for a wood burning stove. I would like to copper plate it. How can I do that? What would you recommend - method, chemicals, efficient bath for long cylinder, etc.?

Thanks!

Jay Kimball
- Eastsound, Washington, USA
^


January 1, 2013

A. Hi Jay. First, I think you need to determine whether this will be a worthy finish if you succeed. Presumably it's for indoor use, as it will have no corrosion resistance. Second, it may not look too good, as you might not be able to successfully lacquer a hot stove pipe. So please try a small item before fooling with an 8 foot long one.

The galvanizing will be removed by the pretreatment process, and you will be doing the copper plating onto steel. If you don't want to send the stove pipe to a plating shop for copper plating, you can try a pen plating / brush plating outfit, available from a hobby plating supplier. There's a good chance you'll find it a humbling experience, so I'd urge you to try a small item, or practice on scrap, not potentially ruin an important item. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


February 9, 2013

Q. I am soldering closed a bunch of little copper rings I've made from copper wire for some jewelry. I used Copper Soldering Paste (for plumbers I think), but the solder is actually a gray/silver color, so each little copper ring has a silver/gray spot where I soldered the seam.

What's the simplest way of copper plating the solder-spot using vinegar? Will the effect wear off over time?

Canny Robbins
- San Antonio Texas
^


February 10, 2013

A. Hi Canny. I liked Philip Camp's response about using copper powder mixed with thinned varnish.

Vinegar based plating is for students to learn a science lesson and is not intended, and won't work, for any practical application. Plating from copper sulphate on top of the copper powder and varnish will work better . . . but you're still talking about hobbyist plating which is mere millionths of an inch thick; it will wear off very quickly I'm afraid.

I'm no artist but the best approach may be to carefully mask the area, then apply the flux to only a tiny dot so there is no visible solder. With less precision, this is what plumbers do when they solder copper pipes, i.e., they are careful to only sand and flux as much as necessary for the joint, and let the un-sanded oxide serve as a mask. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


February 18, 2013

Q. Hi, I've renovating a lot of old apartments recently and end up with some old brass and copper bits and ends, currently I cut them up, toss them in a bucket and bring them down to a local scrap yard. I lose on the price of the copper because in a majority of cases there is a brass fitting attached to the copper pipe scraps, is there any process like the above method for separating the copper from the brass, as opposed to sweating off the individual parts which takes too much time.

Bernard Alain
General Trade - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
^

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