10k Copper YouTube Play Button – Copper plating 3D prints + #giveaway

10k Copper YouTube Play Button – Copper plating 3D prints + #giveaway

9 months ago I started this Youtube channel. Not even 3 months later I already reached
1000 subscribers. Now, just a couple of days ago I finally reached
another big milestone: 10 000 subscribers. That is so awesome! Guten Tag everybody, I’m Stefan and welcome
to CNC kitchen! I just looked it up and found out that I actually
joined Youtube 11 years ago and until the beginning of this year I actually was only
a passive viewer. I had already been playing with the idea of
making my own videos for quite a while but did actually not really have the guts and
the gear to do them properly. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at first
and I guess if my first video would have flopped I don’t know if I would have continued. But now, 9 months later I have already gathered
a crowd of people around me which is almost half the number of people that live in my
hometown. This is amazing and everything thanks to you
out there! Thank you so much! Well, it’s kind of sad, but since 100 000
subscribers is still a far way to go I made myself another Youtube Play button. My 1000 subscribers reward was a wooden button,
the 100,000 play button will be silber so I thought copper would be the way to go. If you stick with me today, then I’ll show
you three cool things. First: how you can copperplate your 3D prints
second: how you can add a patina on any copper parts and third: how you can use your 3D printer
to create high contrast prints on paper. But before I start with that I would like
to thank you in a form of a small giveaway. The guys from Formfutura, who also helped
me with my previous 3D printed coffee maker video, were so kind to provide 3 rolls of
their ReForm filament series one for each of the lucky winners. The materials from the ReForm series are all
recycled and upcycled filaments which are made from residual extrusion waste but still
retain the same properties as their standard filaments. If you’d like to win one of these materials
than follow the link below. There are some things happening on the channel. I would like to release more videos, but the
whole process just takes so much time for me, that I’m currently not able to release
one video a week. During my holiday I have finally finished
my impact testing machine which I will be using to continue with my technical filament
reviews soon! I also got a new 5.5W diode laser which I
will need to assemble and make some cool things with it. So stay tuned for that and even more! So, in order to make my play button reward
I had to do three things: Design and print a play button which I then had to copper plate. Figure out a way to dual color print on a
piece of cardboard and then build a simple frame to hold everything. Since I already designed a play button for
my 1000 subscribers special, where I CNCd it from wood, I used the existing model and
printed it in regular PLA on my Prusa. I used a layer height of only 0.05mm to reduce
the staircase effect as much as possible. The print takes longer that way but it will
save me a lot of time during the sanding process. I printed it on its back which is not ideal
for getting a smooth top layer. I did consider printing it in two halfs and
then gluing it together, but this would have required a ton of sanding to get the interface
totally smooth. After the print was finished I sprayed the
part a couple of times with filler and then wet sanded it until I was happy with the result. Then comes the electroplating process which
I had already been researching for quite a while. The reason why I didn’t just print it in
a copper filled material was that you cannot polish them to a perfect shine and this was
what I was going for at first. In order to electroplate a part, it needs
to be conductive. In the best case you’d spray it with silver
lacquer. Since I did not have any silver paint, I tried
some other things. Graphite spray didn’t work unfortunately
so I tried zink spray which is usually used for corrosion protection. The interesting thing was that the coating
wasn’t conductive at first, but as soon as I dipped it into the copper electrolyte
it created a copper coating even without the electricity hooked up. This conductive layer can then be used to
proceed with the normal electroplating process. You can buy a copper electrolyte or you can
easily make it on your own. For half a liter, I used 410ml of distilled
water and added 90ml of battery acid which actually is 37% sulfuric acid. Then I added 100g of blue copper sulfate and
a pinch of regular table salt. This recipe would already work but it would
produce big copper crystals which would scatter the light and therefore cause a matte surface
finish. That’s why I added a brightening agent. This will result in only very tiny copper
crystals forming on your part, so you will be getting a shiny surface right out of the
bath. If you do this on your own, then please wear
proper safety equipment and no not discard the copper sulfate solution in the sink, because
it’s very toxic to microorganisms. Before coating the play button with zink spray
I added a piece of wire to the back, that I can use to connect the part to my bench
power supply. I used a sheet of copper as an electrode in
the bath which I connected to the positive pole of my bench power supply. The part gets connected to the negative side. Now it’s actually very important to set
voltage and current properly. For copperplating you usually use 2 to 5 amps
of current per square decimeter of surface to plate, which should result in a voltage
of less than 2V. It’s quite important to make sure that the
voltage does not get too high, because if hydrogen bubbles form on your part it would
ruin the surface finish. A thin coat of copper is formed quite quickly. Just make sure that you move your part from
time to time to get rid of any bubbles. The longer you will keep it in the electrolyte
the thicker the copper layer will become. I left it in the blue solution for roughly
an hour which left me with a coating which I thought was thick enough for polishing. Unfortunately, the play button did not get
perfect and still showed some matt parts on the lower side. I guess that at this location some bubbles
gathered and therefore ruined the surface finish. I took the part out of the bath, rinsed it
and used some very fine sandpaper to smoothen the rough areas and then started polishing
it. Unfortunately, I think I was a little too
thorough during that process and the material got too warm. So, the copper film started to release in
some areas which was very unfortunate. Well, if you don’t look too closely then
you probably don’t even notice it. So that’s done. This technique can actually not only be used
for a nice look, it can also serve even technical purposes. You can use this to 3D print complex antennas
or shield your sensitive electronics. You can even use this to strengthen and stiffen
your parts because copper is around 50 times stiffer than the usual plastics, so even a
thin layer will make your part way stronger! Since I actually made two play buttons I created
a blue patina on one of the two. The process is pretty simple and works with
any copper part, actually even with copper filled 3D prints. You just put your part on a napkin into a
box with a lid. Then you spray it with ammonia solution and
sprinkle some table salt all over it. After a couple of hours, you’ll get a beautiful
patina on your part. So, what do you think, shall I rather use
my screwed up polished play button or the one with the patina? Next, I had to create the text which goes
below the play button. Since regular inkjet and laser printers cannot
print white and I didn’t want to make myself a silkscreen, I decided to try out printing
on the piece of paper with my 3D printer. I created the text and the YouTube logo in
CAD and saved everything as an STL. Since the logo has a red background I actually
had to save it as two parts, because the play button needs to be printed with a different
filament. I created two GCode files in Slic3r and made
sure that I used high z-lifts, so that the nozzle does not crash in any existing letters. I added a z-offset to compensate for the thickness
of the cardboard and reduced the speeds quite a bit to get a smooth print. Since mesh bed leveling would be affected
by the cardboard, I removed that command from my start script and manually started the procedure
before the print when there was still no paper applied. I taped the cardboard to the printbed of my
Prusa and then started with printing the red logo, switched the filament to white and printed
the rest. I’m not 100% satisfied with the result,
because due to my really uneven printbed which can’t even be properly compensated with
mesh bed leveling, some letters are really squished out. Still I think it really looks nice! The frame is just made from some 20 by 20mm
wood bar which I glued together and painted with some black spray paint. I added a small stud with a thread on the
back of the play button, screwed everything together and here we go. My 10000 subscriber copper play button! Thanks again to everyone who subscribed and
supported me along the way. If you haven’t subscribed yet, then please
do and don’t miss any upcoming videos and projects. Hit the like button if you enjoyed the video,
that really helps a lot! Thanks for watching, auf wiedersehen and I’ll
see you next time!


  1. I really liked the idea of the impact testing rig. It looks like it is possible to deliver more accurate results than Thomas Sanladerer's rig, as you don't rely on the camera catching the highest point the hammer went, but instead have a marker that automatically stays at thst position.

  2. You can find the copper electrolyte (Kupferelektrolyt) here: http://geni.us/kJLjRAz
    and the Brightener (Glanzzusatz/Glanzbildner) right here: http://geni.us/3972C
    and a suitable bench power supply right here: http://geni.us/VjHR

  3. When you polished the copper, did it separate from the plastic, or did the plastic melt? If the plastic melted, would ABS be a better choice, and maybe a higher infill? Last thought, 3D print a fast version of the button, then CNC the finished profile, maybe less sanding?

  4. Hast du eine Idee, warum das Bett sich verbogen hat? Meines ist auch etwas verbogen 🙁 Und die manuelle Betthöheneinstellung funktioniert auch nur suboptimal. Vielleicht hätte Glas doch auch wieder seine Vorteile

  5. Looking at your video i can point out that graphite 33 works as a base for copper plating but its very slow due to the fact that carbon has a high resistance this can be overcome partly if you spray multiple layers of graphite 33 before electroplating.
    good job continue making videos 🙂

  6. Congratulations !

    Also, wonderful idea to deposit directly on construction board.

    BTW- Another potential candidate for your testing, although I've not found anything on "PCTG" filament other than this one manufacturer, so it may be just marketting fluff, but they claim it's more chemical and impact resistant: http://essentiummaterials.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ESS-090-TDS-PCTG-V3.pdf

  7. Awesome, i really liked how you printed on the paper with your prusa, the thought has never crossed my mind. I'll have to think of some interesting applications of that.

    What happened to warp your print bed like that? o_O

  8. Hi Stefan,
    wenn du willst kann ich dir ein paar Rezepte geben wie du deinen Kuperprozess etwas optimieren kannst 😉 komm einfach mal vorbei

  9. Schöner Kanal. Sehr schade nur, dass du ihn nicht auf Deutsch machst. Und es gleitet schon ins Peinliche ab und in kulturelle Selbstverleugnung, wenn man sogar noch seinen eigenen Namen anglifiziert ausspricht. Deine Mutter hat dich bestimmt niemals S-tefan genannt. 😀

  10. Excellent video thanks! it inspired me to have a go, and after lots of trial and error got some success and even made a video to help others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB3A9uaxy44 let me know what you think.

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