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Electroplating a print

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by mark tomlinson, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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  2. Deadwood

    Deadwood Active Member

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  3. Mike Kelly

    Mike Kelly Volunteer

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    I hear that also makes it crazy strong too
     
  4. k1e1v1i1n

    k1e1v1i1n Active Member

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    wow now that is super cool . I love the chess pieces.
     
  5. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    I am going to be trying this. I have the electroplating equip (not electrolysis though). Probably nickel or copper for start.
    I am really interested in some of the graphite spray that will allow the PLA surface to then become charged... I'll let you know.
     
  6. k1e1v1i1n

    k1e1v1i1n Active Member

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    I'll be watching.
     
  7. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    Ah, Mark, wish I had known this yesterday. I have some of the protopasta conductive PLA. Could have tossed it in with your ninja to test. I'll run something over the next day or so and ship down to you.
     
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  8. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    That would be awesome.
    Sadly, my son only pointed this out to me... today :)
     
  9. Galaxius

    Galaxius Well-Known Member

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    Wow that's awesome. Another project to add to the ever growing list lol.
     
  10. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Investigation into this tells me that this is probably the only reasonable way to do this with PLA.

    I am going to test it with ABS as in the linked article and with PLA using a THF and graphite solution... however, that is an 'explosive' combination (or can be) so I would not consider it likely to be the way to go long-term.

    It will work as a proof-of-concept so that we can see what the electroplating does for PLA and ABS, but the conductive PLA will be the way to go I suspect.

    All of the parts (chemicals) ordered* so I should have everything in a week to start actually doing some plating weekend after next. I am only targeting Copper first and once we get that figured out and working I will probably add Nickel plating next (again, more vicious chemicals involved so not going there right away).

    :D

    *some of which they will ONLY ship ground
     
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  11. Montravont

    Montravont Active Member

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    Freaking awesome!
     
  12. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    OK, all the bits are in -- photo attached. I just need to get a glass tray.
    I will:

    1) test a regular chunk of something (metal) and make sure it works.
    2) test the ABS with the graphite coating (using acetone and graphite)
    3) test the PLA with the graphite coating (using THF and graphite solution)

    copper plate only at this point. Once we have that sorted I'll probably also add nickel and silver (but those start with a copper plated object). Nickel has some rather nasty components.

    20150212_123647[1].jpg
     
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  13. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Started with copper plating a quarter for 30 minutes.

    20150212_173522[2].jpg

    Could have used a little longer...at least the process works :)

    Then took the deprime test object and printed with ABS. Coated with acetone and graphite slurry.

    Started electroplating it...

    20150212_174738[1].jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    #13 mark tomlinson, Feb 12, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  14. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Now we wait :)

    It is not as quick to plate as the quarter (likely not as conductive) and the graphite coat is probably not even enough or thick enough.
    We will see what we get.

    Only did the quarter at 100 ma for the 1/2 hour, probably could have gone to 250 or 500 easy. Would have plated faster. Running the ABS chunk initially at 150 ma
     
  15. Galaxius

    Galaxius Well-Known Member

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    This is so cool. I'm looking forward to the PLA plating experiments.
    Saw last night that 3DPrinterGear have conducive ABS available and it's not expensive.
     
    #15 Galaxius, Feb 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  16. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    After 40 minutes:

    20150212_182158[1].jpg

    We repositioned the cathode and dropped it back in.

    Here is a photo of the PLa version prepped with the THF. I gave it a lot better coats...

    Let me come right out and say, get a charcoal filter to do this with and/or a fume hood. This stuff takes VILE and NASTY to an entirely new level and makes the acetone seem almost like a pleasant deodorant. You have been warned.


    20150212_182454[1].jpg
     
  17. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    OK, stopped the ABS and started the PLA. This is ABS after an hour. Needed more coats of graphite and a longer treatment to fully coat it.
    (picture a little blurry) It is about 70% coated with copper. I think another hour would completely cover it.

    20150212_184623[1].jpg
     
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  18. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    OK, less blurry. This is PLA after 2 hours. I am still letting it go longer. Might even leave it overnight.

    20150212_201320[1].jpg

    I think we can say that as a proof of concept, this succeeds.
    PLA can be electroplated. Even the non-conductive kind, BUT : @Printed Solid needs to let me know when I can lay hands on some conductive PLA -- that eliminates the nasty coating process and chemicals.
     
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  19. Printed Solid

    Printed Solid Volunteer Admin
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    I think I only have 3mm left for samples, but I'll print up a few things for you to try. I think the filament becomes available for purchase next month.
     
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  20. milks

    milks Member

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    I was going to follow the steps in this post which achieves a similar effect using bronze powder mixed with white glue. Not sure how well it would work with other metals but could be worth investigating.

    I want to do some prints in bronze, now I have to choose bronzefill, powder + glue or electroplating. Ah well, good to have options :)
     

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