Electro-Etching and Plating

An Electrolytic Weekend - Led by Raymond Jackson, Edinburgh October 2nd 2010

The aim of the weekend was for the 14 participants to produce a copper sample that had been electro-etched and also one that had been plated. Raymond had designed a simple low cost system based on a copper nitrate solution in a screw topped jam jar and powered by two D batteries connected in series.

As Raymond has written a very comprehensive paper on electro etching, which is available on the Guild website, this report is about the plating side of the workshop.

Like electro-etching, electro-plating tends to suffer from the edges being affected more than the central parts, the plating being heavier at the edges, but this can be counteracted to some extent. Good plating requires a longer time than etching and should be done at a lower current. It also requires greater care in preparation in order to achieve a satisfactory result.

Smooth plating can be achieved only if the copper is smooth at the outset.