DIY Electroplating

DIY Electroplating

Hey guys I’m Nate welcome back to the workshop metal plating is a fun and relatively easy Project that you can do at home with some easily available supplies and chemicals Metal plating is a process by which one metal is chemically bonded to the surface of another this can be used to change the appearance electrical conductivity or corrosion resistance of a material The purpose of today’s video is to learn an easy do-it-yourself method for both copper and nickel plating We’ll start with the copper plating Here’s what we’ll need for that process sim distilled water some copper sulfate a piece of copper pipe and an old cell phone charger It’s possible in this experiment will work. Just fine with tap water, but it’s best to eliminate any unknown minerals and chemicals So that’s why we’re using distilled water this route kill product I think is the cheapest way to get copper sulfate and any sort of pure form it’s sold in most hardware stores Always be sure you’re wearing gloves when handling this stuff because it can be pretty irritating to the skin This is just a scrap of copper pipe pretty much any piece of scrap copper will work just fine the old cell phone charger is an AC to DC adapter it takes in anywhere between 100 and 240 volts and has an output of five point nine volts At point three seven five amps as our first step Let’s measure off two cups of our distilled water into a glass jar and then let’s heat that up in the microwave There we go now, we’ve got our water heated up nice, and hot it’s not boiling, but it is quite warm So let’s measure off one and a half ounces of our copper sulphate crystals and mix our crystals into the water We can use glass plastic or I’m using bamboo, but we don’t want to use anything metal to stir this up There we have it our copper sulphate crystals are almost entirely dissolved into our water moving on to the next step Let’s prep our power adapter. We don’t need the part that plugs into a cell phone, so let’s clip that off and split the wires Now with our wires split. Let’s strip the ends about an inch and a half With the wires stripped let’s attach alligator clips one to each end Making sure that the ends of our alligator clips are not touching each other we can plug in our cord One of these is the negative lead and one is the positive to test which is which let’s dip the tips of the clips into our copper sulfate solution We can see that the alligator clip with the black lead has become coated with copper on the tip So that’s the side that will attach our metal that we want plated with the two leads identified Let’s unplug our cord while we prep our metals to be copper plated to start out Let’s try using a regular Quarter and see if we can get that to take a nice copper coating before we start dipping it into the liquid with electricity running Through it we need to clean and prep the surface so it’s completely free of any dirt or oils Let’s clean this quarter in two stages first I’ve got some very fine steel wool And I’m just gonna scour over the entire surface of the quarter every little bit of it to try and clean it off Then to make sure I’ve got all degrees removed I’ve got some grease removing soap, and I’ll try and wash down the quarter really well I’m also wearing gloves so any grease that’s on my hands will not get transferred on to the quarter you See that our quick buffing has made our quarter a fair bit shinier same thing on the back There we go with the surface of our quarter nice and buff Let’s take our soap and really try and clean all the greases and oils off of it Our quarter is prepped and ready So now let’s attach a piece of copper to our positive lead and then the coin to our negative lead Now once we plug in the cord we should be able to dip the coin down into the liquid and a copper plating should start to appear pretty quickly just As a first test I’m gonna dip the quarter down in and then pull it out after only about two seconds Let’s see if it does anything One two You can see it’s already started to get a little bit of a tint around the edges So that’s going pretty fast put it back in but leave it for a little bit longer One two three nine ten Boom look at that that is a quarter coated in copper Now one thing is often right where the lead is biting into it There will be a little spot where the plating isn’t very even so I’m gonna move the lead to the other side of the quarter And we’ll dip it back in this time. I think we’ll try leaving in for twenty or thirty seconds I’m going to turn it around as well, so the other side of the coin is facing the copper pipe some of the time When we go look at that that is a coin with quite a bit of copper Plating it. We have a nice shiny copper colored quarter Let’s rinse off the quarter and see if we can buff that so it’s a little bit shinier We’ve got our steel wool. Let’s lightly buff our copper and see if it brings out any shine Buffed with steel wool that looks pretty good Let’s also try using a little bit of brass polish to see if it will bring out the shine just a little bit more See it’s definitely doing something Now maybe if I used a Polish that was specifically designed for copper we would get an even better look but brass is Mostly made of copper. I think the brass polish is working pretty. Well. Yeah. He’s looking good that is one Shiny copper quarter see a color comparison between a regular colored quarter and a copper colored quarter All right, I really liked how the quarter turned out so now I want to try doing the same thing with a nickel and a dime So I can just have a whole copper colored set There we have it I think our copper plating is working out wonderfully so now let’s move on to how to do your own Nickel plating nickel is a bright silvery colored metal that is very corrosion resistant So if you have something that’s plated in nickel it will often stay looking nice and new even if it’s been around for quite some Time for our nickel plating we need even fewer supplies than we did for our copper plating. We’ve got some distilled white vinegar And some guitar strings now you can see down at the bottom that says that these guitar strings Have a pure nickel wrap The only local sources of pure nickel that I could find Was the wrap around these guitar strings and sometimes you can find pure nickel welding rods If you’re doing this make sure you get some that say they have a pure Nickel wrap other strings may say that they are nickel, but unless they say pure nickel on them It’s probably a nickel plated steel that won’t work very well so to start Let’s just pour off some white vinegar into our glass jar with Our vinegar poured into a jar we now want to add a small dash of our salt This will help the vinegar be a little bit more conductive This is sea salt, but you can really be using any type Now we need to remove the pure nickel wire from the steel core of the guitar strings You can see that the pack comes with several different thicknesses of guitar strings. Let’s start with the thickest one If you look very closely as I begin to unwind this wire you can see that There is one wire wrapped very tightly around a second wire With these guitar strings the outer wire is our pure nickel and the inner wire is a nickel plated steel We now want to unwind all of our nickel wire from off of the inner core pretty simple process. Let’s just grab the nickel end Secure the rest of the wire and start pulling should unwind Once we get about six to eight inches down Let’s just clip off the core wire do the same thing again until we’ve pulled the whole thing off the guitar string Yeah, that’s pretty good right there We can toss out the end of our guitar string we won’t need it Now we want to divide our nickel wire into approximately two even pieces All right now I’ve got a good length of nickel wire. Let’s just wrap this around our fingers a few times a Lot of times actually just keep wrapping until there’s only about a foot of the wire left unwrapped Go we now have this nice bundle of nickel wire. It’s got a tale about a foot long so let’s squish down our bundle and Then let’s use that tail to wrap it all closed We go one nice little nickel stick Let’s just do the same thing with the other bit of wire Now that we have our two bundles of nickel wire we want to attach one of them to each of our alligator clips that we were using before At this point we want to lower the alligator clips down into our vinegar until Almost all of the nickel is submerged in the vinegar I’ll also use a little bit of electrical tape to hold them in place so they don’t accidentally bump into each other Now shortly after plugging in our charger we see bubbles starting to form on the negative end You’ll want to watch this solution and check up on it every few hours The nickel wire will actually begin to dissolve from the end that isn’t bubbling After 8 to 10 hours you may need to replace it with a new string by that time you may also be able to see a slight change in color as your vinegar changes from clear to a slightly turquoise green Now we need to plug in our charger and let this sit for 24 to 48 hours now here I’ve got a solution that I let sit for about 24 hours and in the process of doing so it dissolved its way through two of those nickel guitar string wraps So now that we have our solution of what’s called nickel acetate We can begin to use this to plate nickel on to copper Nickel doesn’t do a very good job of sticking to most metals, but it will stick to almost anything with a copper base So it’s copper brass or bronze we successfully coated three silver colored coins in copper now Let’s see if we can take a copper colored coin and turn it silver the process is basically the same except that instead of using A copper pipe we just use another one of our nickel wraps attached to the positive end attach it to our cleaned and polished penny see it starting to react very quickly I Haven’t dipped the penny all the way in so we should get a nice dividing line right across it to see the difference Beautiful There’s a shiny half silver penny right there Let’s turn it around and coat the other side, so we just have a completely silver colored pin You can see it’s currently bubbling more on the spot that wasn’t already plated in the nickel It’s also bubbling quite a bit around the alligator clips, which I think I’m turning back to silver colored the nickel goes on very smoothly So if you had a shiny object going in you usually have a shiny one coming out You probably should not try metal plating any utensils that are going to be using for eating Just because if the metal isn’t bonding properly it could come off and you know if you have a nickel or copper allergy It’s just not a great idea But I am going to try it on the spoon not to eat with just because I think it will look cool on the nice Curved surface, you can’t really see through the liquid. No orange color comes up out of the blue very well We got a little bit around the edges of our spoon that’s interesting This is stainless steel, and it really doesn’t pick up much color very well Almost like it resists staining Not nearly as fast as the coins those. Just those go almost immediately. It’s getting somewhere though We’ve got copper building up around the edges I even hit this spoon with some light and grit sandpaper to help the copper stick better But I think it’s just gonna wipe right off with a paper towel There we go I think our stainless steel spoon is about as coated in copper as it’s going to get See it doesn’t stay at all Not very much little bits down at the tip stayed Most of that is just coming right off just for kicks and giggles Let’s see if we can nickel plate the copper on the end of our stainless steel spoon Something is definitely happening lots of bubbling going on down there Well I think that pretty well worked we had our copper all built up on the back of the spoon now And it’s turned back to being great colors Just sort of a weird model gray now. It doesn’t look like a new spoon. It looks like this spoon has Maybe been kicking around for quite a few years and just getting eaten up on the edge Oh, and it’s not sticking it earlier. So you can see it’s peeling right off. That’s the copper Is delaminating from the stainless steel, but even though I thought I did a very good job of cleaning this stainless steel spoon It does not want to stick to it at all There you have it easy do-it-yourself Copper and nickel plating like I said before nickel doesn’t stick to everything but copper does stick to quite a bit So if you have something you want nickel plated you can copper plate it first and then clean it and transfer it into the nickel bath Something else that’s good to know is these liquids shouldn’t really go bad very quickly if you’ve got a lid you should be able to Put that on your jar store It away and then pull it out and use it again when you’re ready for your next Plating project if you’ve got any great ideas of things you think will look good plated in either copper or nickel let us know down In the comments and we might just try it out Thanks for joining us for this video today and remember to come gear yourself up with hats shirts and other cool merch at the king Of random comm see you there So now we have just So much stainless steel does not like to stain


  1. I have an experiment for you king of random.
    I really like your videos and I have seen you help ppl with curiosity
    I wanted you to do this small experiment.
    Take three jars
    Label them 1,2,3
    One should be able to handle high pressure and other low pressure and the other one a normal one.
    Put water in those containers and then pressurize, vaccumize(if that's a word) and then put all the three containers in the freezer.
    Then which one freezes faster and which one slower.
    Explain in details
    Thank you.
    Like if you want him to do the experiment
    Edit: you can replace water with other liquids to insight us more or for fun!

  2. You can nickel plate steel easily, but you most likely need to nickel plate steel before you copper plate it

  3. You can't use a "Nickel" 5 cent coin to electroplate nickel onto other metals, because those coins are made of 75% copper.

  4. I have a cast iron teapot it had rust all over soaked it in muriatic acid came out free of rust washed it off now I want to electroplate it is that possible

  5. Does anyone know a type of resist that will block out the reaction? I’m in a metals class and wanna experiment making designs with this method. Please help!

  6. I got done and dumped both solutions on my grass… It killed the grass and left a big bare spot what caused it

  7. The guys that figured this out in their journals. Every now and then it all pops up. Sometimes by accident I believe

  8. I would like to see a definitive demonstration of how to do ELECTROLYSIS for removing junk and gunk from metal. What solutions work best and the lower limit of current. Thanks

  9. Finally a use for Ernie Ball slinkys stings they have not been relevant sense the company was run by sr. Then they piggyback backed on Leo Fender!

  10. try just using a piece of copper foil and doing a nickle-copper-nickle over and over and see if you can make a nonferrous Damascus billet.

  11. I've done this but I used actual 99.96 pure nickel plating electrode. My problem is that it seems to build up much to fast anymore. I'm not sure if it's because my solution has built up so much or because I tried to plate some speaker magnets however I dip my items to be plated in hydrochloric acid to clean them before plating as I've seen in other videos. I also used the vinegar solution to plate with copper and my items come out a solid deep but dull copper pink color. Still pretty cool.

  12. You can make a copper colored quarter by heating it up with a torch and dipping it in heat.. it is gas line antifreeze in a yellow bottle

  13. I think it would be cool to measure the continuity with an ohmmeter before and after the coatings on each item. I would love to see the differences in resistance if you ever end up doing this again.

  14. Hey.. can you make a thing of gallium, then plate it, then melt away the gallium and retain a shell??? Do a video trying that please?!?!?!

  15. I have an analog watch that has no working movement already, and it’s coated with brass can I electroplate it and would I need to cover the glass??

  16. Hi Gant great vid as usual. Was looking for 'Poor Mans Gold Plating' as I have a bunch of cuff-links that I'd like to gold plate, but didn't want to fork out £900 for one of those gold plating machines.

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