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Old 11-24-2010, 08:06 PM #1
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Default diy zinc plated copper hosts (EDIT: EXPERIMENT FINISHED!! PICS!!)

This thread is to continue our discussion about plzting zinc on copper in serac's thread about his copper host. I decided to start a new one because I felt like i would be thread jacking him if we continued to talk there.

Seracs thread: Build idea using copper pipe and Rod

Ok so right now i am doing an experiment to see what is the best way to go about plating it. you can read about it in serac's thread and i will post thre results here later today.



EDIT: Pics at the bottom. #19



Last edited by benmwv; 11-27-2010 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:17 PM #2
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Good idea... I have to get some zinc and try this out.
Considering how much copper is being used around here
im sure there are many who will enjoy trying this out
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:15 PM #3
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Yeah i though i was just gonna take a file to a penny real quick and i would have zinc but that didnt work out. I ended up putting a pretty rough grit sand papper bit in the drill press and grinding it off.

Ok so the experiment goes like this:

3 jar with 1 clean (wire brushed them) penny hooked to negative and 1 zinc penny hooked to positive in each jar. Power source is 2x AA batteries.

Jar 1: water plus a pinch of salt
Jar 2: water plus one cap full of vinegar
Jar 3: water plus one cap full of vinegar and let the zinc penny sit in there for an hour before power is applied.

Currently i am waiting for the jar 3 zinc penny too dissolve for an hour. I will start plating them at 6:30 and leave them in for 30 seconds then pull them out and check to see which one is the most plated ect, then put them in 30 seconds more and check then i will leave them untill they are done and check the quality. I will also note which one gets done first second and third.

Ill take pics at each stage also.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:25 PM #4
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

ooohh hurry! i wanna see!
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:32 PM #5
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Why don't just just get a zinc salt and dissolve that, instead of electrically breaking down zinc metal in the first place? Zinc sulfate should be well soluble in water, although i'm curious if you would be succesful in depositing it onto a copper pipe...
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:06 AM #6
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

I was far mislead by how quickly this takes place. A website said you should see results in seconds, but now at 1 hour and 30 minutes I see a slight coating on one of the pennies.

The one with vinegar that sat in the water for an hour has some coating on it.
The vinegar one semms to be getting something.
the salt one has nearly dissolved the zinc into the water and it is cloudy with it but none is going on the penny. Idk what is going on there.

ill check them at like 10:00 and see what its like

Last edited by benmwv; 11-25-2010 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:14 AM #7
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benm View Post
Why don't just just get a zinc salt and dissolve that, instead of electrically breaking down zinc metal in the first place? Zinc sulfate should be well soluble in water, although i'm curious if you would be succesful in depositing it onto a copper pipe...
It sure would be alot quicker that way but I dont have a zinc salt onhand.

I forgot that my card reader is broke so i cant upload any pictures until i get another.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:45 AM #8
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Well guys, I decided to do another check (2 hours,15 minutes in) and WOW! the jar 3 penny was almost covered, it looks awesome. Jar 2 is also ~halfway covered. Jar 1 is well... the same, but the zinc coin in jar 1 is so thin the solder is going to come loose any minute. The other zincs are i guess thinner but not noticably.
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:42 AM #9
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

I used to get zinc poisoning for handling coated beams when I was an iron worker. Can this happen with the host? Also why zinc? Its dull, and has a lousy texture. I would think brass would be much more pleasing to the eye.
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:57 AM #10
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignis Fatuus View Post
I used to get zinc poisoning for handling coated beams when I was an iron worker. Can this happen with the host? Also why zinc? Its dull, and has a lousy texture. I would think brass would be much more pleasing to the eye.
I surely hope not! I dont think there will be that much exposure to the zinc as if you worked with it every day. Also I assume you that you were working kinda hard with it, not ust casually carrying a light little piece around every once and a while. I really dont see this as a concern.

Zinc is used because it is the easiest thing to plate with and it looks nice on copper if polished nicely, see pic below.

Edit: I was also think of trying to plate a copper host with tin then heating with a propane torch so it would have a bronze finish.
Attached Thumbnails
diy zinc plated copper hosts (EDIT: EXPERIMENT FINISHED!!  PICS!!)-delta-copper-roofing_17472853_std.jpg  

Last edited by benmwv; 11-25-2010 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:04 AM #11
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Worked very hard with it, as a matter of fact. It gives you flu symptoms for the most part.

I still like brass better. If you came up with some brass hosts, you'd suck the Steampunk crowd into the hobby.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:14 AM #12
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

im not sure if i could do brass but i think brass will corrode (?)

I would like bronze but im not sure if it corrodes or not.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:20 AM #13
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

3 hours, 45 minutes in and:

Jar 1: same, but the water is very cloud and a film of something (maybe zinc hydroxide) is developing on top of the water.

Jar 2: 3/4 way covered

Jar 3: fully covered but still very thin

im going to let them go all night.
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:20 AM #14
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

I just tried it with a mix of 1/2 water 1/2 vinagar and a pinch of salt. A polished quarter on the + and a polished penny on the -. Im using a 6V wall wart for power. The penny started to bubble immediately and I could tell there was nickle transferring within a minute.

UPDATE: what transferred was a dark brown goo :/
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:02 PM #15
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

This morning at 9 i check theme and they were done.

Jar 1: Completely covered in a slightly white looking and a little dull substance. some spots were blackish. Crystals of zinc had also grown a sort of tree like thing going from the penny to the zinc, so i guess that means it plated all it was gonna plate.

Jar 2: Pretty much completely covered same as jar 1 but, some small specs had no zinc.
Also had a zinc crystal growiung but much smaller.

Jar 3: First off the jar was like completely white with pieces squish jelly like stuff all through it. I thought the zinc penny was gone cause just the wire was there (later found it as a thin flake on the bottom. Penny was very slightly coated but the finish was great and shiny, like those roof tiles but maybe 1/8 as thick. I probably should have let it go long to finish but i didnt feel like it.

I let the pennies dry and then later i came back and wiped them with alcohol and q-tips. This removed all black stuff and made them a little shinyand less white.

Next I ate thanksgiving dinner.

Just now i decided that i should use some fine sandpaper on it and see if it was white al the way through or if it was just on the surface. Just slightly brushing it with the paper revealed a very shiny finish. I wasn't able to get all the top layer off because the penny was so bumpy, especially around the words. I could have got it all of Abraham Lincoln but i love the way the shiny contrasts with the other stuf so i decided to leave it with some still on. With anything reasonably flat the whole thing could easily be polished shiny with steel wool or fine sandpaper. I really wish i could upload some pics.

All in all, vinegar is the best way. With vinegar it doesnt matter when you apply power because it isnt going to plate any until the water gets saturated with zinc. You might as well leave your zinc in there for like 3 hours before and save some batteries.

If you just want a very slight coating us the salt because it seems as though its coating doesnt need anything more than to wipe it with alcohol. I think how the salt works is that when the zinc is connected it only saturates the water with zinc until it is replaced by another electrode and then the plating starts.
I really need to do a few more tests to confirm that though

Also I wouldnt recommend to leave it overnight because the zinc almost bridged the gap between the coins and that would have shorted the batteries. Especially if you are using a wall charger or unprotected batteries.

Last edited by benmwv; 11-25-2010 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:23 PM #16
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Default Re: diy zinc plated copper hosts

Pics would be appreciated.
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