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topic 708

Plating system for Gold plating quarters


I recently attended a small business job fair where a gentleman was demonstrating a plating machine and process that he said he invented.

He would clip an electrical clamp to a quarter and paint it with a pink gel solution. The quarter would turn gold. He did not wear a respirator just a pair of protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. He would rinse the quarter between applications. He was selling the system for about $7k and the gold solution that he said he invented for about $250.00.

My question is... is this system really a plating system? Do you know anything about it? Is it safe? Can the system or one like it be purchased for less? ( I only want the system to plate antiques, and small to mid sized bronze art work.)


Steve M Williams

"THE" brush plating book:
Electrochemical Metallizing


The general idea of brush plating as an alternative to tank plating is sound enough, and has been used on historical preservations, shipboard, for aircraft maintenance, and countless other critical jobs. There is a terrific book about brush plating by Rubinstein, called Electrochemical Metallizing, and which you just might be able to locate at a large library. It's great =>

Several suppliers of brush plating equipment and chemicals are available, including Gold Touch [a supporting advertiser] [Cleveland] and Sifco [Independence, OH]. Contact them for pricing. I think you'll find that you can obtain hobbyist level equipment for far less than $7000, but that top of the line professional brush plating systems can cost more than $7000.

As for the $250 cost of the solution, gold itself is so expensive that the gold content will tell you what the solution is worth. That is, you certainly can't buy gold in solution for less than the cost of metallic gold, but you're unlikely to have to pay more than twice the going rate of gold to have it dissolved in fufu juice either. So the price range should not be dramatic. Ask them how much gold is in the solution and judge by that.

An old saying in plating is that 90 percent of the work is preparation of the substrate. It looks easy in a demo because the nature of the quarters is that they need little preparation. Ask him to gold plate a ratty old penny instead of a shiny quarter, or maybe a zinc plated washer, or an aluminum token. You'll learn that it was only easy because he was plating a shiny, corrosion resistant, quarter. You're not going to be able to directly plate bronze and most other things with gold--you need to do polishing and nickel plating first.

In brief, if you want to plate quarters or chrome plated car logos, you probably can do what he showed you without much effort. But if you want to plate a real-world assortment of stuff, you're find that there's a lot to it. Good luck.

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

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