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Info on iron plating please


I am an artist working in my own studio and I am looking for info on Iron plating.. Currently I have access to a 40 gal copper / acid plating tank where I am making some of my small sculptures in copper.

I am thinking about setting up my own system and the idea of plating/forming in iron has a great deal of appeal to me. I like the way iron looks when it oxidizes and it may be less expensive for the iron Anodes (I hope) .

If you can relay any info on iron plating which may pertain to me I will greatly appreciate it.


Steve Donegan
artist - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Hi Steve. Iron electroplating can be done: soldering iron tips and certain printing platens are iron plated, for a couple of examples. But iron plating does present some difficulties because the dissolved iron tends to oxidize into a non plateable species, making things difficult. Doing practical electroforming in iron is something that I am not familiar with myself, but I believe electroforming of iron used to be done but became unpopular once nickel electroforming was available. I think iron electroforming would be quite difficult for an experienced professional let alone for someone less experienced.

Copper and nickel are far more common, and, all things considered, I doubt that they would be more expensive than electroforming in iron. You could electroform your sculpture in copper or nickel and top it off with iron plating I suppose.

There are several vendors of proprietary iron plating baths and I think you might want to work with one of them rather than trying to formulate a home brew, but we have a number of threads about iron plating on line; a good starting point is letter 25982. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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