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Designing a plating setup to plate 2" diameter plastic coins

September 21, 2021

Q. Hi, I'm novice to plating and I have a specific project that eventually I would want to do thousands of. It's a 2" diameter 3d printed coin, that I paint in my own graphite and varnish paint mixture. Just a plastic bin, copper, drain cleaner, brightener from a hobby plating supplier, etc. I have good results doing one at a time, would like to do 10 at a time, which is just about the limit of the bench power supply I think.

I've designed and 3d printed a little holder for the coins with a wire running through and touching each coin, but the plating happened mainly on the coins closest to the power supply, so I need a better solution. As you can tell, I have not much of an idea of what I'm doing, and I'm sure there are already solutions for this problem... How can I design a simple electroplating setup to do 10 items at a time evenly? I can 3d print anything needed probably.

Any advice for a novice?

Michael Bliss
- Nanaimo, BC, Canada

September 2021

A. Hi. To get reasonably even plating you'll need anodes on both sides of the rack of coins, and the anodes will have to be roughly equidistant from the coins. And you need to have large enough copper conductors that the current flowing to each coin will be about the same (tiny wires may not do it).

The Electroplating Engineering Handbook has a chapter on racking and anode & cathode bussing.

What is the amperage rating of the power supply? Your conductor must be one square inch per 1000 amps.

Luck & Regards,

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

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