Guest Editorial -For
Don Baudrand, Don Baudrand Consulting,
Doís & Doníts of plating onto
Some people would like to plate onto art objects, flowers, or perhaps even
baby shoes. Others would like to plate onto ceramic for use in the electronics
industry, or for other reasons that may be functional or decorative. Silver and
gold are popular with both decretive and electronic applications. Here are a few
methods used for these purposes. Letís start with flowers. Roses are popular
items, be wary of thorns. Other flowers lend themselves to decorative plating.
You may download this article FREE in .pdf form, save it or share it with a
colleague. Click here.
- Clean the flowers to remove dirt, sticky substances using a mild cleaner
such as dishwashing detergent. For oils that are heavier, a mild alkaline
cleaner such as "Spic & Span" or equivalent. (Pardon the trade name see
below) these contain sodium carbonate and surfactants.
- Rinse thoroughly, then immerse in a very mild acid such as 5%
hydrochloric acid, or 6% phosphoric acid. Agitate mildly then rinse well.
- Immerse in a solution of stannous chloride (tin chloride) 10 g/L and
Hydrochloric acid 40 ml/L. 1- 2 minutes. Then rinse Preferably in DI or
- Immerse in the catalyst solution- palladium chloride 0.2 g/L 1 minute,
- Electroless copper plate. Solution A: Rochelle salt 170 g/L, Sodium
hydroxilde 50 g/L, copper sulfate 35 g/L sodium carbonate 30 g/L and Versene-T
or EDTA 20g/L. Solution B: formaldehyde, 37% by wt. Mix A and B solutions
just before you are ready to plate. This produces a uniform thin layer of
- Electroplate copper, starting with low current density, gradually
increasing to 15-15 amps/sq ft. to desired thickness.
- Electroplate bright nickel to at least .0003" or more. This takes 10 to
30 minutes depending on current density.
- Gold or silver plate to desired thickness. Current density 2-3 amps/sq